MySQL under siege and the likely need to "roll your own" open source

IBM bought Solid. What does this mean for MySQL, and for the larger open-source community?

First it was Oracle buying Innobase(though Oracle has so far played fair). Now it's IBM buying Solid Information Technology. Given much of the proprietary world's public attitude toward open source ("Open source a threat? What's open source?), it's surprising that IBM would even bother to hedge its bets against MySQL.

After all, who's afraid of little MySQL? I mean, who besides everyone with a database business that depends on lock-in, overpriced licenses, and 20th Century software? Matthew Aslett doesn't think this was targeted at MySQL, and he's likely right. But it impacts MySQL all the same, as the New York Times writes:

The IBM acquisition may be seen as a setback for MySQL, since it marks the loss of independence of another company that makes a high-performance transaction engine for MySQL's database....

...[Solid...joined MySQL's storage engine certification program and released an open source version of its database engine for MySQL. IBM did not say in its statement if it would continue to develop the MySQL product.

However, MySQL is also developing its own transaction engine, so in the long term it will be less dependant on partners. Called Falcon, the engine is due to ship with MySQL 6.0, which is due for wide release late next year.

I suspect that this will be the response of most open-source companies: perhaps they'll start by leveraging other's open-source components, but over time they'll build out these components themselves to avoid proprietary vendors buying their way into the open-source companies' stacks. This actually suggests a very good argument for pushing more open-source projects into vendor-neutral organizations like the Apache Software Foundation, Mozilla, and Eclipse to avoid being "InnoDB'd."

Which projects are perhaps under threat? Spring and Hibernate are the top-two that come to my mind, but surely there are others.

This is unfortunate, but I suppose it's part of open source growing up and becoming part of a highly competitive industry. Peace, love, and brutal competition. Bring it on.

Tech Culture
About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.


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