Oracle buys open-source database firm

Database giant wades deeper into open source with purchase of Finnish company Innobase.

Martin LaMonica Former Staff writer, CNET News
Martin LaMonica is a senior writer covering green tech and cutting-edge technologies. He joined CNET in 2002 to cover enterprise IT and Web development and was previously executive editor of IT publication InfoWorld.
Martin LaMonica
2 min read
Database heavyweight Oracle has acquired Innobase Oy, a privately held Finnish company with close ties to open-source database company MySQL.

Terms of the deal, which was announced Friday, were not disclosed.

Innobase, a profitable company that was founded 10 years ago, makes a database "engine" called InnoDB for storing data to the MySQL database. Its engine is available under the open-source general public license (GPL) and distributed with the MySQL database, a low-end alternative to Oracle's namesake database.

Oracle said the acquisition indicates that it is increasingly working with open-source products.

"Oracle intends to continue developing the InnoDB technology and expand our commitment to open-source software," Charles Rozwat, Oracle's executive vice president in charge of database and middleware technology, said in a statement. "Oracle has already developed and contributed an open-source clustered file system to Linux. We expect to make additional contributions in the future."

Oracle said it expects to renew the current contractual relationship between Innobase and MySQL when it comes up for renewal next year.

MySQL said in a statement on Saturday that Oracle's move is an endorsement of the "open-source movement."

"The beauty of open-source software and the GPL license is freedom. As with all MySQL code, InnoDB is provided under the GPL license, meaning that users have complete freedom to use, develop and modify the code base," said MySQL CEO Marten Mickos. "This also means that database developers now have even greater flexibility to use MySQL and Oracle in the same environment."

Mickos noted that customers can choose different database storage engines to run with MySQL other than InnoDB.

MySQL is one of a handful of smaller companies that is using open-source licenses and business models to take on entrenched database suppliers.

Facing competition from open-source alternatives, Oracle, IBM and Microsoft have each lowered their database prices and created low-end bundles aimed at smaller organizations and partners.