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Will MySQL kill Oracle? [message #175088] Wed, 31 May 2006 12:54 Go to next message
Messages: 1803
Registered: March 2005
Location: Jacksonville, Florida
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I've been doing a lot of driving for work lately, and so I downloaded a bunch of audio recordings from IT Conversations to listen to on the ride. Several of those are about open source and LAMP and changing paradigms etc. So it is on my mind.

It is difficult to have these sorts of discussions without them turning into flame wars, but this might be the right forum for it to happen. One problem with such conversations is definitions. Is open source the same thing as free? Correct or not, that is a common perception, and probably was mine.

I just did a quick scan of the MySQL homepage, and while there is a link that I can click to buy, all it looks like I'm buying is support. It looks like I can download and have the product, either Network or Community Edition, at any time for free. I may be wrong, but this was what I got from just 5 minutes on the site. But this is off topic of my post.

MySQL seems to be getting better and better. Sure, it has a long ways to go. But it is already used widely (including here), and does a lot of the basic features well. Won't it be even further along 5 years from now?

Or will it reach a point (possibly we already have) where there are 2 classes of database users (by users I don't mean end-users). Those who just need a database, and MySQL will be good enough (due to the lack of cost) and a second group who want/need the "best" database, and are willing to pay for it.

Where does does all of this leave Oracle now? Where will it leave Oracle 5 years from now?

Will MySQL have the sustaining power that a corporate entity such as Oracle has? Once it becomes "good enough", will the community open source development contributions cease, causing the product and possibly support to stagnate while others such as Oracle and their countless developers forge ahead?

Oracle has recently made efforts to combat the price argument for using MySQL, with the introduction of standard edition one and oracle xe. Is that enough? Is it too late to overcome the disdain that many IT guys have for Oracle, which in some cases seems to compete with their hatred of microsoft?

I don't have any answers, just trying to start the discussion. And I haven't even touched on operating systems and hardware yet, which might be best for another topic. Ideally these are things to be talked about in person over a beer, and I might just do that with some local guys when we can all find the time, but for now I thought I'd start here.
Re: Will MySQL kill Oracle? [message #175092 is a reply to message #175088] Wed, 31 May 2006 13:53 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Messages: 7901
Registered: March 2000
Senior Member
Indeed, a tricky issue and indeed vulnerable to flame wars, but I'll donate my two cents:
I agree with your idea of the two different kinds of users.
Furthermore, my guess is that once MySQL and any other OSS product becomes 'big', mature and stable enough to (really) compete with 'the big boys', it will run the risk that it has become a bureaucratic moloch and has become more like the Goliath it wanted to fight when it started.
IMO company-Linuxes running on mission-critical servers are almost never self-downloaded and -compiled versions, but commercial distros.
My guess is that there will always be a (very large) market for the big boys Oracle and MS-SQLServer (think that will be a bigger potential problem, but let's stay away from that flame-attractor Smile)
Re: Will MySQL kill Oracle? [message #175260 is a reply to message #175092] Thu, 01 June 2006 07:52 Go to previous messageGo to next message
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Registered: October 2005
Location: Melbourne, Australia
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Now that we can get water from taps, I wonder if people will continue to buy bottled water?
Re: Will MySQL kill Oracle? [message #175320 is a reply to message #175088] Thu, 01 June 2006 13:12 Go to previous message
Messages: 1803
Registered: March 2005
Location: Jacksonville, Florida
Senior Member
Good points to both of you. I also wonder about linux and mysql dying under their own weight, becomming as big and hard to manage and slow as the things they initially came out against. Also that, as the products get better, and eventually good enough, the drive or energy to continue to have endless volunteers want to work on them will die, because the need will have been satisfied and those folks will move onto other things.

As far as water goes, consumers cite "taste" and "portable convenience" as reasons for making it such a huge business. Distinguishing factors, which in theory a commodity market doesn't have. But is it a fair comparison, because water is a consumer good, and databases / operating systems and hardware are business to business goods?

I guess I'm struggling to come to terms with all of the hype surrounding commoditization. I understand the ecconomic principle (or at least I think I do). But how can software (be it database or operating system or other) and hardware ever be truly a commodity? Isn't there always room for improvement, for innovation, for invention of new techniques and technologies and revolutionary advances?

How can so many articles say that software and hardware are commoditized and don't / won't matter anymore? What happens when some company develops a new hard drive that can go 10 times as fast and hold 10 times as much? Wouldn't that be in demand? Or in the case of Sun with their new cool threads chip that runs fast, yet cool, and is fairly inexpensive?

But yet Sun is dying, or so it would seem from the reports, being killed by intel and linux, "commodity" hardware and software. Linux and dell seem to be crushing unix and windows in the new database server market. Are HP, IBM, and SUN just doing a poor job of cost management and pricing and supply chain and marketting? That plus the "good enough" factor?

Is it now just a popularity contest, and linux and dell and mysql are the buzzwords and the popular choices? And if so, isn't that part of what defines a commodity market, where the distinguishing factors are so small that people choose based on random popularities and cost?

And even cost isn't what it is made out to be. It is the perception of free, or at lest cheaper, that drives a lot of this, yet Oracle isn't really that expensive when purchased and used correctly, especially with their new pricing models and SE ONE and all. Neither is SUN anymore with cool threads servers. But perception is that those are both expensive.
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