A deal with the European Union (EU) that will allow Oracle to acquire Sun Microsystems seems to now be in place.  Formal approval could come any time now.  Oracle put on a full court press by having a large number of its largest European customers tell the EU that the deal was good for them.  More importantly the EU forced Oracle to commit to a David Letterman style list of the top ten things it will do to insure that the mySQL open source DBMS will survive and prosper under Oracle control.  Those of you that care can see the full list of Oracle promises at the bottom of this posting. 

The implications of the completion of the Sun deal for the JDE community are indirect but still profound.  The first thing it does is to start to free up Oracle’s top management team to think about other matters. The upcoming announcement of Business Intelligence 11g will be one of them along with the long awaited arrival of the first wave of Fusion Applications. 

The Sun acquisition will take more energy and effort to absorb than any previous one.  The near term focus after the deal closes will be to get the necessary staff reductions in Sun over with and then to stabilize sales.  The period of uncertainty that is now ending led to a major loss in market share as IBM, HP and other Unix vendors took full advantage of the reluctance of Sun customers to buy while things were up in the air. 

It is hard to imagine that the once very friendly relationship with IBM will ever recover, especially since Ellison is almost certain to launch a major counter-attack as soon as possible after the deal formally closes.  Oracle’s even closer HP relationship will clearly take a hit as well but should remain cordial.  It is almost certain that IBM will continue to be portrayed as the villain in whatever marketing campaign gets launched. 

It seems safe to predict that an Oracle sales rep (likely one now working for Sun) will eventually come calling to try to talk you into considering Sun hardware.  Before that can happen the sales forces will need to be integrated and new product offerings will need to be created.  It is hard to see all that being accomplished before the next OpenWorld in September.  Oracle will likely limit the amount of information it provides about how the combined company is going to work until then, partly because it will take that long to figure out exactly what the plan going forward is going to be. 

As promised, here are the ten specific promises Oracle made regarding mySQL: 

1. Continued Availability of Storage Engine APIs. Oracle shall maintain and periodically enhance MySQL’s Pluggable Storage Engine Architecture to allow users the flexibility to choose from a portfolio of native and third party supplied storage engines. 

MySQL’s Pluggable Storage Engine Architecture shall mean MySQL’s current practice of using, publicly-available, documented application programming interfaces to allow storage engine vendors to “plug” into the MySQL database server. Documentation shall be consistent with the documentation currently provided by Sun. 

2. Non-assertion. As copyright holder, Oracle will change Sun’s current policy and shall not assert or threaten to assert against anyone that a third party vendor’s implementations of storage engines must be released under the GPL because they have implemented the application programming interfaces available as part of MySQL’s Pluggable Storage Engine Architecture. 

A commercial license will not be required by Oracle from third party storage engine vendors in order to implement the application programming interfaces available as part of MySQL’s Pluggable Storage Engine Architecture. 

Oracle shall reproduce this commitment in contractual commitments to storage vendors who at present have a commercial license with Sun. 

3. License commitment. Upon termination of their current MySQL OEM Agreement, Oracle shall offer storage vendors who at present have a commercial license with Sun an extension of their Agreement on the same terms and conditions for a term not exceeding December 10, 2014. 

Oracle shall reproduce this commitment in contractual commitments to storage vendors who at present have a commercial license with Sun. 

4. Commitment to enhance MySQL in the future under the GPL. Oracle shall continue to enhance MySQL and make subsequent versions of MySQL, including Version 6, available under the GPL. Oracle will not release any new, enhanced version of MySQL Enterprise Edition without contemporaneously releasing a new, also enhanced version of MySQL Community Edition licensed under the GPL. Oracle shall continue to make the source code of all versions of MySQL Community Edition publicly available at no charge. 

5. Support not mandatory. Customers will not be required to purchase support services from Oracle as a condition to obtaining a commercial license to MySQL. 

6. Increase spending on MySQL research and development. Oracle commits to make available appropriate funding for the MySQL continued development (GPL version and commercial version). During each of the next three years, Oracle will spend more on research and development (R&D) for the MySQL Global Business Unit than Sun spent in its most recent fiscal year (USD 24 million) preceding the closing of the transaction. 

7. MySQL Customer Advisory Board. No later than six months after the anniversary of the closing, Oracle will create and fund a customer advisory board, including in particular end users and embedded customers, to provide guidance and feedback on MySQL development priorities and other issues of importance to MySQL customers. 

8. MySQL Storage Engine Vendor Advisory Board. No later than six months after the anniversary of the closing, Oracle will create and fund a storage engine vendor advisory board, to provide guidance and feedback on MySQL development priorities and other issues of importance to MySQL storage engine vendors. 

9. MySQL Reference Manual. Oracle will continue to maintain, update and make available for download at no charge a MySQL Reference Manual similar in quality to that currently made available by Sun. 

10. Preserve Customer Choice for Support. Oracle will ensure that end-user and embedded customers paying for MySQL support subscriptions will be able to renew their subscriptions on an annual or multi-year basis, according to the customer’s preference.

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