Thursday, January 21, 2010

European Commission Approves Oracle Acquisition of Sun

The European Commission issued a press release today (21 January 2010) stating:

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of US hardware and software vendor Sun Microsystems Inc. by Oracle Corporation, a US enterprise software company. After an in-depth examination, launched in September 2009 (see IP/09/1271), the Commission concluded that the transaction would not significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area (EEA) or any substantial part of it.


One of the sentences I found most interesting in this press release was actually not directly related to Java:

The Commission's investigation showed that another open source database, PostgreSQL, is considered by many database users to be a credible alternative to MySQL and could be expected to replace to some extent the competitive force currently exerted by MySQL on the database market.

As a developer who generally prefers PostgreSQL over MySQL, this is not news to me, but it is interesting (and appropriate) that the European Commission considered it.

The drama in the Oracle acquisition of Sun has hinged primarily on MySQL. I have blogged before on how hypocritical it has seemed for those who once sold off interest in MySQL (for a handsome profit) to try and use government to force the purchaser of that product to do with it as the original seller wants. Marc Fleury has gone even further, pointing out that these actions had potential to only hurt Sun and its employees worse and has the potential to damage the likelihood of corporations investing in open source. His words included the entirely true: "this is making OSS acquisitions look very dangerous and dicey." Charles H. Schulze also has excellent post on this.

I do think the save MySQL crusade has been counter-productive for the open source software movement and one of the positives of this acquisition will be the end of that destructive force.

The End of an Era

I am sorry to see the end of a company that has been partially or fully responsible for many great innovations and for making my life as a developer easier in many different ways. I realized my tangible sorrow over this when I saw James Gosling's tribute to Sun. The simplicity of the post, titled "So long, old friend" with the stirring image, successfully accomplished what I believe to be its intended point. It's worth viewing for anyone with significant interest in Java. You can also see the same image in the blog post Every Good Thing Has An End.

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