In writing earlier on IBM's acquisition of Solid Information Technology, I failed to remember a key piece of trivia. Solid used to employ Marten (1995-97). Marten's experience at Solid is hilarious in retrospect:
When [Monty Widenius] started MySQL, I worked for this other small database company, Solid Information Technology. I told Monty that his project was just going to fail, and that it was a stupid thing to do, and that he didn't have a chance because we had a chance.
GM: What was your view of the Free Software world when you were at Solid--were you even aware of it?
MM: I was getting more aware of it, and I was getting excited about it. At Solid, I drove an initiative of not open-sourcing the product, but making it very popular on the Linux platform--and that was why I was an advertiser in Linux Journal, because we were the leading Linux database in the world in 1996. We gave it away free of charge, so we had taken a step in that direction.
Then Solid decided to cancel the project and just focus on high-end customers, and that's when I left the company. So in that sense, when I got to MySQL, I had some unfinished business. By that time, I had completely bought into the notion of code being open.
I'm betting Solid has regretted Marten's departure ever since. As for Marten...? It was a great move on his part.
Marten isn't sweating about IBM's acquisition. Someone within the company sent me the text of an email he sent around to MySQL employees yesterday. Here's a pertinent excerpt that is classic Marten:
We can't of course know what plans IBM has for Solid, but our view is that they are very warmly welcome to continue to operate in the MySQL ecosystem and in the FOSS world.
Indeed. If MySQL can't beat IBM on its own turf, it doesn't deserve to be in business. But it is in business, and everything I've heard points to an outstanding quarter. MySQL is rising and I doubt potshots from Oracle or IBM will be able to halt its rise at this point. As if you could kill a dolphin by swallowing an ocean, as Marten might say....