Thoughts on Oracle-Sun (and PostgreSQL)


ned's picture

Everyone else seems to have an opinion on this one, so I guess I'll weigh in.

We've had a handful of interesting intersections with Sun in recent years, including getting the xTuple client working on OpenSolaris, and some very interesting conversations about adding UBL support to OpenOffice so you could save/load business documents (invoices, POs, ASNs, etc.) in either xTuple ERP or OpenOffice. Think of it as next-generation, simplified EDI. But probably the most immediate questions have to do with open source databases. Before Sun purchased MySQL AB, it had been pretty involved with the PostgreSQL community - and continued to be even after assimilating MySQL. There's been a lot written about the splintering of MySQL since it became part of Sun - and there's a lot more being written about the future of MySQL inside of Oracle. Will they kill it? Ignore it? Spin it off? Beef it up? Here's xTuple's position. We chose PostgreSQL initially because we believed - and still do - that it's the most robust, mature open source database on the market. It's got the most active, diverse, and scary-smart community of developers in the world - and those things have been getting better every year (the upcoming 8.4 release, now in beta, looks like another major step forward). When we first started working on what was then called OpenMFG, MySQL didn't even have a procedural language. It's still today much more of a quick-and-dirty website database than a real big boy OLTP powerhouse. Simon Riggs, a major developer on the PostgreSQL project, made what I thought was a pretty good guess:

I would think that Oracle will invest money in keeping MySQL "dumb", e.g. Drizzle. Roll back the features that don't work and smooth the upgrade path to Oracle for those that need it.

I don't imagine there will much of an impact on PostgreSQL (and hence xTuple) at all. On the one hand, it's sad to see Sun, one of the great IT companies, disappear as an independent entity. On the other hand, Oracle over the past several years has done the M&A consodlidation game better than anyone else - wringing new dollars out of both ERP-ish application companies and pure technology plays. Larry Ellison says that Java is the single most important software they've ever acquired. Three closing thoughts:

  1. I believe him.
  2. I think Oracle will make more money out of Java than Sun ever did.
  3. I'm glad xTuple doesn't depend on anything owned by Oracle :)