Sun Microsystems (JAVA) is acquiring open source database vendor MySQL AB for $1 billion, the companies said this morning. MySQL databases have become ubiquitous in web hosting, serving as the database piece of the open source LAMP stack (Linux-Apache-MySQL-PHP) that runs many of the most popular web sites.
“The adoption of MySQL across the globe is nothing short of breathtaking,” Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz noted in announcing the deal. “They are the root stock from which an enormous portion of the web economy springs.”
Is this a good thing? Tim O’Reilly, who is on the board of MySQL and produces the MySQL User Conference, weighed in shortly after the announcement. “This seems to me to be a great deal both for Sun and for MySQL,” O’Reilly writes, noting that Sun “has staked its future on open source, releasing its formerly proprietary crown jewels, including Solaris, Java, and the Ultra-Sparc processor design.”
O’Reilly added that the deal followed a “lightning courtship” and that he hadn’t yet had a chance to speak with Schwartz about Sun’s intentions. Schwartz fills in some of the details in his blog post, which concludes with this summary:
Until now, no platform vendor has assembled all the core elements of a completely open source operating system for the internet. No company has been able to deliver a comprehensive alternative to the leading proprietary OS. With this acquisition, we will have done just that – positioned Sun at the center of the web, as the definitive provider of high performance platforms for the web economy. For startups and web 2.0 companies, to government agencies and traditional enterprises. This creates enormous potential for Sun, for the global free software community, and for our partners and customers across the globe. There’s opportunity everywhere.
But as O’Reilly notes, the open source community (and LAMP-based hosting companies) will be watching closely. “With one bold stroke, Sun has reshaped both the database and open source landscape,” O’Reilly writes. “We’re all going to be chewing on the implications for some time.”