Thursday, April 23, 2009

More on Oracle-Sun

The Oracle-Sun bandwagon rolls on and there are still more questions than answers. The Guardian asks some of them: Will Oracle kill MySQL? Will it continue Sun's drive towards open source? Can Oracle cope with being a hardware company? Why is Larry still so driven?

Elsewhere Business Week asks a similar set of questions plus some sharper ones for the individuals involved: How many Sun workers will lose their jobs? Is a culture clash coming? Or, as the Guardian's Jack Schofield observes, Sun's customers may feel they have "gone from My Little Pony to Ming the Merciless".

Schofield describes the Oracle-Sun deal as "IBM's goof". Maybe Big Blue secretly agrees, because it has chosen this week to announce an intensification of its support for PostgreSQL, through its relationship with Enterprise DB. According to Matt Assay, IBM's plan to embed Postgres Plus Advanced Server technology into DB2 9.7 "basically allows applications written for the Oracle database to run on ... IBM's DB2".

In another part of the open source forest, MySQL customers try to figure out whether the deal is good or bad news. Although former MySQL CEO Marten Mickos reckons most of them hadn't noticed that Sun bought MySQL and probably won't care that Oracle now owns Sun. Anyway, IT World has rounded up the debate (including a quote from Pythian's Paul Vallee).

According to Reuters, Steve Ballmer cannot understand the thinking behind the deal: "I have no idea why a software company would buy a hardware company." Well, ignoring the obvious software assets which come with the deal, there are some major benefits to acquiring Sun's expertise in information management systems, as Andrew Orlowski points out. Unsually for commentators in general and The Register in particular, he has some nice things to say about McNealy and Schwartz's stewardship of Sunover the last few years.
"Yet by betting on some clever systems thinking during the down years, and backing their R&D departments to come up with the goods, McSchwartz ensured such disasters were survivable. The result is a lot of in house expertise in virtualisation and threading, that can make a difference with real workloads.

If Oracle isn't completely dumb, it will appreciate quite what an incredible asset it has acquired - because this know-how can help every part of its business. Peoplesoft cost Larry $10.3bn. Sun looks like a bargain."

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