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1. MySQL does not compete with Oracle
It’s a myth that MySQL somehow poses a threat to Oracle. Oracle’s customers tend to be large enterprises running apps like e-business suite. These are certified to run on Oracle, and further they sit close to finance.
MySQL tends to be a choice of scrappy but nimble startups for their web-facing applications. They want to deploy in the cloud, and don’t want to deal with licenses. Plus they have the techops chops to handle the bushwacking of open source.
2. Oracle bought Sun for the hardware business
Remember when Oracle acquired Sun? A lot of folks assumed Larry was after MySQL. Grab it & slowly smother it. But actually it was more frosting on the cake. Larry had for years expressed interest in cubes and clusters, and building an Oracle appliance. Whether this ever came to profitable fruition in the form of Exadata remains to be seen. But buying Sun for a song helped him do this.
3. Larry blows with the wind on open source
He’s money minded, so you’ll see in his decisions that comes first.
In the late 90’s when a customer might spend $100k on Sun and $100k on Oracle licenses, Larry realized porting to Linux and pushing commodity hardware would be a win. So he pushed Linux, and customers could now spend $20k on commodity hardware and $180k on Oracle licenses for them. Imagine the 10million dollar budget if you’re having trouble with the math here.
He also eventually moved the middle tier to Apache for similar reasons. I would argue Oracle corp overall pays lip service to contributing to open source, but they do that to some degree.
4. MySQL support business is real
What’s more, just as adopting Linux, and then offering their “unbreakable Linux” distro, and pricey support along with it, they’re doing similar things with MySQL. For enterprise customers, and those already comfortable with making the call to Redwood Shores, sales folks will happily direct them support contracts and enterprise add-ons. Naturally.
5. There are real viable alternatives to keep balance
And let’s not forget folks, there are already a bunch of forks. There’s the popular and every growing Mariadb which Google has put their muscle behind.
And for those looking to experiment, there’s Drizzle a work in progress, complete rewrite, and one that’s unfortunately not a drop-in replacement.