Support Grows For The ‘Save MySQL’ Petition

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

A last ditch campaign to convince the EC to halt Oracle’s acquisition of MySQL is gathering pace, but will Larry Ellison take any notice?

A petition by MySQL founder Monty Widenius stop Oracle from buying Sun Microsystems is gathering pace, with 16,839 people backing it as of Monday afternoon.

It was in February last year that Widenius left Sun after a very public disagreement over bugs in MySQL 5.1. With the looming acquisition of Sun by Oracle – a move that would allow Larry Ellison’s company to get its hands on its open source database rival (MySQL) – it seems that Widenius could no longer keep silent, and in December he announced his strong opposition to the deal.

He joined Richard Stallman and two software industry groups who had already announced their opposition to the deal.

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Widenius however created a “Save MySQL” website and appealed for supporters to sign his petition, in a last ditch attempt to convince European regulators to veto Oracle’s buyout of Sun.

And it seems that his call is working, after stats showed that if Oracle’s takeover of Sun gets the go ahead, 93 percent of supporters want the MySQL database to “be divested to a suitable third party that can continue to develop it under the GPL”.

The petition also seems to be gaining support as people return to work in the new year, with 3,353 signing up in the last 24 hours.

Larry Ellison dismissed a report last month that suggested he would compromise over MySQL in order to allay European competition concerns, and a decision from the EC on the matter is expected on 27 January.

Widenius’ campaign has not attracted universal support however. The chairman of Python Software Foundation, Steve Holden said in a blog posting that he was “having a hard time understanding” why Widenius was pushing so hard to ‘Save MySQL’, especially after Widenius had created such a ruckus before he left Sun last year.

Meanwhile the VP of Marketing and Product Management at Enterprise DB, Larry Alston also took issue with Widenius’ claims that Enterprise DB’s PostgreSQL product isn’t a worthy contender to the MySQL crown.

“Needless to say we at EnterpriseDB could not disagree more with this point of view,” Alston wrote.