RealTime IT News

MySQL to Fight Oracle With Fire(bird)?

MySQL will announce next week that is has acquired Web application technology firm Netfrastructure.

Financial terms of the deal have not yet been disclosed.

Netfrastructure's founder Jim Starkey will serve as MySQL's senior software architect, though exact details of what his position entails have not yet been disclosed.

Starkey is considered a relational database pioneer. He has played a pivotal role in the Firebird-embedded database project and may serve to hedge MySQL against incursion from proprietary database goliath Oracle.

In addition to Starkey, MySQL will be hiring his wife Ann Harrison on a part-time basis.

In an unrelated move, MySQL also will announce that it is appointing Finnish native Taneli Otala as CTO.

Oracle, which is one of the world's largest database companies, dwarfs MySQL in terms of size, revenues and installed base.

Yet, it has made some recent buys that position it in the open source marketplace where MySQL remains very popular as part of the LAMP (Linux Apache MySQL PHP) application stack.

Earlier this month, Oracle acquired Sleepycat, and in October, it bought Finnish database vendor Innobase and its InnoDB database technology.

Innobase and Sleepycat developed technology that was important at one time or another to MySQL. MySQL currently uses InnoDB as its embedded storage engine and previously had a storage engine that had utilized Sleepycat's Berkeley DB.

Enter Jim Starkey and Netfrastructure.

Starkey is known in the database world as the creator of InterBase, which is considered the first database to support triggers, event alerts, arrays and multi-versioning. He founded InterBase's original corporate parent, InterBase Software, and has worked for its successive owners Ashton-Tate and Borland.

Of more importance, though, are Starkey's contributions to the open source Firebird database project, which he's been involved with since 2000. Firebird is an open source fork of the InterBase 6 code base. Borland Interbase is currently at version 7.5.

According to 2005 numbers from Evans data, Firebird is second only to MySQL in terms of open source database usage.

"I'm very happy that Jim, Ann and Taneli have joined MySQL AB," said Michael "Monty" Widenius, the company's co-founder, in a statement.

"There is plenty of work to go around, and with their combined experience, they can help us deliver on all the plans that we haven't had time to pursue yet -- and also supply us with lots of fresh new ideas."