January 5, 2010 | Developer


I blogged before about the different versions of the MySQL database, which is the most commonly deployed database on the Internet, the one favored by most free and open source software, and the one that WordPress uses.

Monty Widenius, the erstwhile head developer for MySQL, sold his company to venture capitalists, and later the company was sold for a cool one billion dollars (yes, billion with a B) to Sun Microsystems. Now, basically, he’s asking for it back.

He’s campaiging to have to have the European Union deny permission for Oracle’s buyout of Sun. It may partly be his fault that the EU has dragged the review process for the Sun acquisition out for close to year now.

The depths to which he’s sunk really show either desperation or obsession. He’s spamming every one who ever filed a bug report for MySQL with his plea. What I don’t understand is how he has these e-mail addresses. Isn’t Sun supposed to have custody of the MySQL bug database, and it’s e-mail addresses?

What he wants

He has a another post on his blog asking people to “Help Keep the Internet Free.” Meaning that without MySQL, the Internet won’t be free.

First of all, his premise is ridiculous. There are plenty of other free databases, including Firebird and PostgreSQL. PostgreSQL is widely seen as a much better database than MySQL. If MySQL disappeared tomorrow, the Internet’s databases would still be free.

But there’s a catch here: MySQL is already free and open source software under the GPL. Neither Oracle nor Sun can un-GPL MySQL. That means Monty (or whoever) can already take the MySQL code and create their own forked versions of it, improve it, and redistribute it. So what’s the problem?

The problem is that Monty wants to have his cake and eat it too. He wants not only to have the free GPL MySQL code, but he also wants to be able to sell commercial versions of it. To that end, he wants the EU to invalidate the GPL copyright on the MySQL code.

The gall of his request is stunning. He already accepted money in return for giving up control of the code. He has no moral basis to ask for it again.

He claims to be saving MySQL from the evil clutches of Oracle, but he fails to see it’s he himself who is destroying it. By giving the EU a reason to drag out the acquisition process, he’s damaging Sun, which naturally then has less money to spend on MySQL development. My damaging MySQL, he’s also damaging the interests of everyone who uses MySQL, which includes myself since this blog runs on WordPress which runs on MySQL.

Stop it, please.


Widenius on “selfless” quest to destroy GPL MySQL “in order to save it”

Hypocrisy of Monty – Groklaw

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Why Oracle Won’t Kill MySQL

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