EU Okays Proprietary Oracle’s Acquisition Of Open Source MySQL 21/01/2010 by Kaitlin Mara for Intellectual Property Watch 1 Comment Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)US-based software company Oracle can have its Sun and MySQL too, the European Commission ruled today. The subject of an examination since September 2009, the Oracle-Sun merger deal came under scrutiny over anti-competition concerns. The fear was that the world’s leading open source database management system, MySQL (controlled by Sun) – and the market for database management systems in general – might be threatened if MySQL was acquired by Oracle, which is a leading seller of proprietary database management systems. The market for databases, explained an EU press release, is highly concentrated and Oracle along with other leading vendors IBM and Microsoft control 85 percent of the market. Today EU Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes said she was satisfied that “competition and innovation will be preserved,” as the investigation found MySQL and Oracle are not competitors in all aspects of the database market and that there is both another open source database that could take MySQL’s place and that so-called ‘forks’ of MySQL (that use the same base code but differ in end product) will still be legally possible even after the acquisition. This last point was called naïve in a letter to Kroes dated 19 October 2009, signed by non-governmental group Knowledge Ecology International, programmer Richard Stallman, and the advocacy organisation Open Rights Group. MySQL, says the letter, uses a process of parallel licensing which helps support the continued development of the software as an open source project. This means that revenues of the commercial sales of MySQL – which can only legally be sold by its rights holder – financially support the free project. But “Oracle is under no obligation to use the revenues… to advance MySQL.” Oracle publicly announced on 14 December, said the EU release, that it would continue to release MySQL under the free software General Public License, and has backed this up with binding offers to other companies. The EU also found that Oracle would not have the ability to prevent access to key intellectual property rights concerning software development platform Java, given the participative nature of revisions to Java, and also would not have the incentive to do so, given that this would “jeopardise the gains derived from broad adoption of the Java platform.” Also commenting on this case were the Free Software Foundation Europe, who argued MySQL should be put under the control of an independent, non-profit guardian, an idea expanded on in the blog of FSFE President Karsten Gerloff, and former MySQL CEO Mårten Mickos, who argued in an open letter that the Oracle-Sun deal should be approved by the Commission. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Related Kaitlin Mara may be reached at email@example.com."EU Okays Proprietary Oracle’s Acquisition Of Open Source MySQL" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.