Give It Up, Monty

By Chris Josephes
December 16, 2009 | Comments: 1

Another day, another blog post from Monty Widenius about how a big, giant, evil corporation is going to kill MySQL. And the only thing that can save it is thousands of users cutting and pasting a block of text and emailing it the European Commission.

I'd almost admire the effort, except I never believed Monty's motives were 100% sincere. On one hand, he's fully capable of creating his own fork thanks to an open source license; but he's unwilling to go through the hard work to build a business that is sustained through the contributions of the open source community. Instead of proving that an open source business can disrupt the corporate closed source business model, he asks for government intervention to change the playing field.

You see, if Monty's work is derived from a fork of MySQL, then he is unable to dual license that work. That's because the only licensing option available to MariaDB is the viral GPL. Dual licensing would allow other companies to create proprietary, closed source storage engines that are tied to MariaDB, instead of Oracle's MySQL. The dual license model employed by MySQL means it will always have a commercial advantage over MariaDB, but it's important to remember that MySQL had this advantage way back when Monty was the CTO of MySQL AB. This is the way Monty originally wanted it, and now that decision no longer works in his favor.

If you read what Monty has asked thousands of sheeple to send to the EC, he provides two solutions to the future of MySQL. Either MySQL be divested to a new company or foundation, or Oracle be forced to fully open source MySQL with no closed source components. To put it in more blunt terms, either Monty wants to regain ownership of MySQL, or he wants to make sure that Oracle can no longer use the business model that he once benefited from.

Although he doesn't explicitly say it, I'm pretty sure that he believes that the most suitable company to receive the MySQL code would be Monty Program AB, or maybe his newly formed Open Database Alliance. If Monty really believes that MySQL is too valuable to be trusted to Oracle, maybe he should make an offer to buy it back.


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1 Comment

Great article. You nailed it. I don't quite understand why people are not able to see through these selfish intentions of Monty.

In the process of trying to achieve his own personal goals, Monty has impacted 100s of jobs at Sun; causing reductions in forces due to the delay. You have made a very good point - Why not buy back mySQL from Sun for the same whopping $1 billion. I sincerely hope someone/some-group sues Monty for all these disruptive activities and make him pay for all this!

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