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14 December 2009, 08:10

Oracle makes commitments on MySQL - Update

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Oracle has publicly committed to enhance MySQL under the GPL, not force third parties to GPL their storage engines and increase spending on MySQL development. The promises were part of ten commitments in a press statement which Oracle says is the result of "constructive discussions with the European Commission". This is a reference to the hearings which took place on Thursday and Friday at the Commission, which is deciding on whether to allow Oracle to acquire Sun Microsystems, current owner of MySQL. It is believed that the Commission may make a decision today (Monday the 14th) or within the next two weeks as a result of the hearings.

Oracle says that in the future it will develop MySQL under the GPL, simultaneously releasing enhanced versions of MySQL Enterprise Editions with enhanced versions of the GPL licensed MySQL Community Edition. It also promises that it will not make buying support services from Oracle a requirement of getting a commercial license for MySQL. Oracle says it will continue to make the MySQL Storage Engine APIs available to third parties and that it will not assert, or threaten to assert, GPL requirements on storage engine developers. Commercial OEM licensees with existing licenses will be offered extensions to their licenses on the same terms until December 2014.

The company also says it will, for each year over the next three years, spend more than Sun spent in the most recent fiscal year on development of MySQL, that it will, within six months, create two advisory boards for MySQL customers and MySQL storage engine vendors, and that it will keep the MySQL reference documentation available for no charge. Whether these promises will sway the European Commission's decision-making has yet to be seen.

Update - The European Commission issued a press release which confirmed that it had "engaged in constructive discussions with Oracle regarding the maintenance of MySQL" and called the commitments from Oracle "an important new element to be taken into account in the ongoing proceedings". Neelie Kroes, Competition Commissioner, restated her previous comment that she is "optimistic that the case will have a satisfactory outcome".


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