Some recent posts regarding Oracle (See Smart moves by MySQL AB and Larry Ellison still doesn’t understand open source) leads me to put in my 2 cents worth.
My background I’m sure like a lot of experienced MySQL people is in Oracle, and indeed in Ingres before that (starting in 1988). I have also worked for a number of years at Oracle Corporation. Ironically I started as their resident Ingres Specialist, in an international research project of DMS (Design & Migration Services) of re-engineering Ingres applications into an Oracle Designer Repository some 10 years ago in 1996. I of course moved into a number of other Oracle roles for clients following that. I still retain some contacts around the place.
It’s obvious Larry’s goal is to become more “Open Source”. This is of course a complex topic, and you can’t just say it like this. I’ll leave that for another day, but I’ve got some opinion on current trends.
It’s clear from recent purchases of JBoss, and SleepCat (Berkley DB) that Oracle has an intention of providing a suitable technology stack in a number of vertical marketspaces that Oracle presently cannot. For example, in the embedded space. Purchasing provides a much quicker solution, and also provides a different way to solve the problem instead of the legacy Oracle Product line. I haven’t seen any recent press, but I know that Xen was also in Oracle’s wallet space.
I would suspect that Oracle will move to providing a Stack solution (akin to SpikeSource for example) in a number of vertical spaces. These stacks will include non-traditional but now owner Oracle products, including Berkeley DB in lower end solutions. This along with the recent Oracle Express Edition (XE) free offering will enable Oracle to target market’s that were previously unavailable.
This is clearly not for a financial intention. There is no way to obtain a return on investment, however it’s all about upselling. By providing these offerings, Oracle now has a large marketplace to promote commercial product offerings.
Assuming, Oracle goes down this path, I’d assume they will also provide clear migration paths between stack offerings, as part of upselling. This will be more complex to achieve. I also suspect that Oracle will move towards a better Web 2.0 model, by providing products are no cost, but provide a service to support and maintain in these new marketspaces.
In closing, why did Oracle purchase InnoBase, the creators of the MySQL InnoDB Storage Engine? This question seems still unanswered. It doesn’t fit easily into the above ideas of differing technology stacks. Ultimately, money buys power, and I suspect it was just that, with no real future intentions or clear plan.
Thanks for the comment about JBoss, yes, it’s not official, nor is Xen, but it took Oracle I think 15 months to get Peoplesoft.
I came across the Oracle Corporation Wikipedia entry in other work, the end of the history page reads a who’s who of acquisitions.