April 26, 2006 11:31 AM PDT

MySQL CEO offers mixed view of Oracle

SANTA CLARA, Calif.--In an illustration of just how rapidly change is sweeping the database market, MySQL Chief Executive Martin Mickos named Oracle as a partner of the year just minutes after effectively calling one of its products "crippleware."

Mickos, speaking at the MySQL Users Conference here on Wednesday, praised Oracle and took it to task for different elements of its software. The contrast stems from the fact that, on the one hand, MySQL relies on software called InnoDB that Oracle acquired in 2005, and on the other, database leaders Oracle and IBM are responding to MySQL's sudden emergence as a competitor by releasing free entry-level versions.

Marten Mickos Marten Mickos

The InnoDB "storage engine," which remains open-source software, is firmly in Mickos' plus column. "We renewed our contract with Oracle for several years," he said.

In the minus column are the no-cost database products such as Oracle's Express Edition or IBM's DB2 Community Edition, which Mickos labeled as "crippleware," designed to hook customers on full-featured but expensive versions.

"There is no freedom in Express Editions and so forth (in) which the word 'free' is used," Mickos said. "If a company gives out a version that's free of charge but closed-source, they stand to gain nothing until you upgrade to their very expensive versions."

In contrast, open-source database companies such as his own do benefit from free versions even without upselling customers, gaining bug fixes, community support and other community activities, he argued. "Some of the best Web sites are the MySQL gotchas. We go there every month and say, 'What do we need to do next?'"

Open-source upstarts that challenge proprietary software rivals are nothing new, but Mickos has some clout. MySQL garnered $40 million in revenue in 2005 and its software figures prominently at online companies such as Google, Yahoo and PokerRoom.com. And Oracle tried to buy MySQL.

This week, the company announced a new three-year partnership with Hewlett-Packard. Under the deal, HP will resell the software, provide support, and participate in joint marketing and training activities, said Christine Martino, who became vice president of HP's Open Source and Linux Organization in November. Martino spoke after Mickos at the conference.

Mickos was bullish on Oracle's InnoDB, the most widely used engine within MySQL. He gave one of three partner-of-the-year awards to Ken Jacobs, Oracle's "employee No. 18" and vice president of product strategy for server technologies.

Despite that, MySQL is making sure it doesn't rely solely on InnoDB. It's moved to a plug-in architecture that lets different engines be plugged into MySQL. And at the show, it announced it will certify those engines.

MySQL is working on its own engine, called Falcon, and has a partnership with Solid Information Technology for another called SolidDB. SolidDB and Oracle's InnoDB both will participate in the certification program.

See more CNET content tagged:
Innobase InnoDB, MySQL, Oracle Corp., open source, vice president

4 comments

Join the conversation!
Add your comment
disagree
i'll have to disagree w/ mr mr executive on this one. free products can do alot for these companies, microsoft and oracle both. by giving sql server express 2k5 and oracle 10g express away for free, developers (and consequently their clients) are steered toward development products and platforms and possible an OS as well, not necessarily the database. a small to medium sized business can run quite a bit of software on these two database platforms NEVER needing to upgrade to the full blown version.

by offering a free database (particularly in microsoft's case) they stand to keep customers and developers on their platform, vs switching to something like linux and mysql.

no two ways about it, visual studio and the .NET CLR integrates MUCH nicer with sql server and oracle than with mysql.

i'll concede though, on a case by case basis, one should evaluate the limitations of these free products and determine if they don't have the headroom for planned expansion in the future at the cost associated w/ the non-for-free versions.

crippleware though...hardly...
Posted by chyl (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
disagree
i'll have to disagree w/ mr mr executive on this one. free products can do alot for these companies, microsoft and oracle both. by giving sql server express 2k5 and oracle 10g express away for free, developers (and consequently their clients) are steered toward development products and platforms and possible an OS as well, not necessarily the database. a small to medium sized business can run quite a bit of software on these two database platforms NEVER needing to upgrade to the full blown version.

by offering a free database (particularly in microsoft's case) they stand to keep customers and developers on their platform, vs switching to something like linux and mysql.

no two ways about it, visual studio and the .NET CLR integrates MUCH nicer with sql server and oracle than with mysql.

i'll concede though, on a case by case basis, one should evaluate the limitations of these free products and determine if they don't have the headroom for planned expansion in the future at the cost associated w/ the non-for-free versions.

crippleware though...hardly...
Posted by chyl (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Minus one monopoly
Good news - minus one monopoly.
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.milliondollarhosting.net" target="_newWindow">http://www.milliondollarhosting.net</a>
Posted by medvegonok (10 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Minus one monopoly
Good news - minus one monopoly.
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.milliondollarhosting.net" target="_newWindow">http://www.milliondollarhosting.net</a>
Posted by medvegonok (10 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

Join the conversation

Add your comment

The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Click here to review our Terms of Use.

What's Hot

Discussions

Shared

RSS Feeds

Add headlines from CNET News to your homepage or feedreader.