The news are in. Sun is buying the popular open source database company MySQL for $1 Billion.
I hope Sun keeps MySQL license terms as it is (free of charge and free to use, except for the enterprise version), provide good documentation, support and user conferences and keep on expanding the user base as MySQL has really been good in the previous few years. Sun has to realize that it isn’t buying only a database — it has bought a community of people, employees, developers, and clients.
I have to say that it was a really smart move by Sun. And now MySQL is under Sun, I bet it will get more publicity and suddenly, developers who are good and have certifications in MySQL will suddenly be like hot commodities. Companies and developers who are accustom to commercial database systems such as Oracle and SQL Server will definately take a different look into using MySQL in their projects and deployment. I’m really sick of hearing people saying that Oracle and SQL Server are the best database servers that you can get these days. Maybe those people are simply ignorant and haven’t been reading the news or following the trend of MySQL.
There is other evidence of Sun understanding the value of keeping software open source and free: projects like OpenOffice.org and NetBeans have healthy communities and promising road maps. In fact, if you examine Sun’s current offerings to the corporate world, the only key component missing from the portfolio (and one that competitors such as Oracle, IBM, and Microsoft already offer) is a database. MySQL, with over 10 million installations worldwide (including high-traffic sites such as Google and Facebook) is a natural fit.
Related to this is the question of whether development of the cross-platform releases of MySQL will stagnate, with Sun’s energy being focused on compatibility with the Solaris platform. Here’s what MySQL’s VP of Community Relations, Kaj Arnö, had to say on the matter:
“I don’t expect (the development of MySQL on Solaris) in any way to be at the cost of other popular operating systems (Linux, Windows, Mac OS/X, other Unixes etc.) or development environments (PHP, Ruby on Rails, Perl, Python, ODBC, C++, C#, VB etc.). MySQL grew with LAMP, and MySQL without LAMP at its core is simply unimaginable. It was MySQL’s part of LAMP that interested Sun in the first place. Hence I don’t see Sun having a platform migration strategy, but to continue to be an integral part of the dot in .com.”
Back in 2007, there were rumors flying all around saying that MySQL will be floated in the share market in early 2008. I’ve been setting google alerts about MySQL IPO since last year and I will certainly be one of those who will buy into the IPO if they really did make it. Looks like that isn’t possible now.
Judging by MySQL community and user base, I for mysef think that $1 Billion is really not enough to justify the company’s worth. But looking back at some of the price tags that several other open source companies were being acquired for:
* US$210 million for SUSE Linux (Novell)
* US$400 million for JBoss (Red Hat)
* US$500 million for XenSource (Citrix)
* US$350 million for Zimbra (Yahoo!)
$1 billion for MySQL sounds pretty rewarding in comparison.
So what’s next, Sun? Buy PHP?