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Sun Microsystems to Acquire MySQL Database Server

This is yet another successful story for open source software. Sun has no database software to sell in a $15 billion market that Oracle leads, according to IDC study. Congratulations, Monty, David and the crew.

Now, Sun Microsystems, Inc. today announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire MySQL AB, an open source icon and developer of one of the world's fastest growing open source databases for approximately $1 billion in total consideration. The acquisition accelerates Sun's position in enterprise IT to now include the $15 billion database market. Today's announcement reaffirms Sun's position as the leading provider of platforms for the Web economy and its role as the largest commercial open source contributor. From the official MySQL blog:

After all the industry speculation about MySQL being a "hot 2008 IPO", this probably takes most of us by surprise -- users, community members, customers, partners, and employees. And for all of these stakeholders, it may take some time to digest what this means. Depending on one's relationship to MySQL, the immediate reaction upon hearing the news may be a mixture of various feelings, including excitement, pride, disbelief and satisfaction, but also anxiety.

Being part of the group planning this announcement for the last few weeks, I have had the fortune to contemplate the consequences during several partially sleepless nights (I usually sleep like a log). And over the coming days and weeks, I'll provide a series of blogs with various viewpoints of the deal.

Check out what Jonathan Schwartz has to say about this purchase at official blog:

That in addition to acquiring MySQL, Sun will be unveiling new global support offerings into the MySQL marketplace. We'll be investing in both the community, and the marketplace - to accelerate the industry's phase change away from proprietary technology to the new world of open web platforms.

=> Press Release : Sun Microsystems Announces Agreement to Acquire MySQL, Developer of the World's Most Popular Open Source Database

Video: History of GNU, Linux and Free Software Movements

This is an interesting documentary video which traces the history of GNU, Linux, and the open source and free software movements. It features several interviews with prominent hackers and entrepreneurs (and hackers-cum-entrepreneurs), including Richard Stallman, Michael Tiemann, Linus Torvalds, Larry Augustin, Eric S. Raymond, Bruce Perens, Frank Hecker and Brian Behlendorf.

The film begins in medias res with an IPO, and then sets the historical stage by showing the beginnings of software development back in the day when software was shared on paper tape for the price of the paper itself. It then segues to Bill Gates's Open Letter to Hobbyists in which he asks Computer Hobbyists to not share, but to buy software. (This letter was written by Gates when Microsoft was still based in Arizona and spelled "Micro-Soft".) Richard Stallman then explains how and why he left the MIT Lab for Artificial Intelligence in order to devote his life to the development of free software, as well as how he started with the GNU project.

(Note: There is a video embedded within this post, please visit the site to view the video - Time: 1 hr 25 min 9 sec)

Linus Torvalds is interviewed on his development of the Linux kernel as well as on the GNU/Linux naming controversy and Linux's further evolution, including its commercialization.

Richard Stallman remarks on some of the ideological aspects of open source vis-á-vis Communism and capitalism and well as on several aspects of the development of GNU/Linux.

Michael Tiemann (interviewed in a desert) tells how he met Stallman and got an early version of Stallman's GCC and founded Cygnus Solutions.

Larry Augustin tells how he combined the resulting GNU software and a normal PC to create a UNIX-like Workstation which cost one third the price of a workstation by Sun Microsystems even though it was three times as powerful. His narrative includes his early dealings with venture capitalists, the eventual capitalization and commodification of Linux for his own company, VA Linux, and ends with its IPO.

Frank Hecker of Netscape tells how Netscape executives released the source code for Netscape's browser, one of the signal events which made Open Source a force to be reckoned with by business executives, the mainstream media, and the public at large.

PS: You can download video from Google Video for Apple iPOD here.