Open Source Groups Upbeat, Cautious on Sun-MySQL

Will Sun’s acquisition of MySQL darken LAMP?

Despite generally positive reviews from the open source community, that remains one concern as Sun moves ahead with its its $1 billion acquisition of MySQL.

As part of the deal, Sun has made much of the fact that it is acquiring the “M” part of the critical LAMP — Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP — Web stack. Many in the community have lauded Sun’s move as validation for the stack, which powers countless Web sites and Web applications.

Zend is one of those optimistic about the move. The firm is the principal backer of PHP — the “P” portion of the stack — and leads its efforts in the commercial space.

Yet Zend also has worries about Sun’s acquisition.

“What we hope is that it doesn’t start off an effort to redefine what the Web stack is, to make it all-Java — because Java is not the premier solution in the Web space,” Zend Chief Marketing Officer Mark de Visser told

De Visser said he believes one good sign is that Sun intends to make MySQL CEO Marten Mickos one of its executives. Mickos is expected to be reporting to Rich Green, Sun’s executive vice president of software.

In De Visser’s view, Mickos’s position within Sun would send a signal that the company is serious about MySQL — and isn’t simply trying to adopt it into its own technology stack.

“We certainly hope that we can go forward on the same footing, as our relationship with MySQL is very tight,” De Visser said. “About 70 percent of our installed base runs MySQL, and vice versa. The overlapping customer set is enormous.”

That concern aside, De Visser said he is sanguine about the deal, which he described as indicating that the space is viable and has a strong ecosystem.

Many other commercial open source entities also rely on MySQL as part of their businesses, and are also pleased with the purchase. Among them is open source customer relationship software vendor SugarCRM.

“Sun’s acquisition of MySQL is another validation of the commercial open source model,” SugarCRM CEO John Roberts told “Combining MySQL with Sun’s open source portfolio and enterprise reach will further accelerate the adoption of open source software while hastening the decline of proprietary software sales.”

The Sun acquisition of MySQL is also viewed positively by members of MySQL own existing partner ecosystem, including one of its largest partners — Unisys.

“We are excited to see the increased adoption of open source, particularly with our partner MySQL,” said Anthony Gold, vice president and general manager for Unisys’s open source business, in an e-mail to “Sun’s acquisition of MySQL shows that enterprises are recognizing the potential competitive advantages of open source solutions in their mission-critical environments.”

While many cite LAMP and open source as the keys to MySQL’s success, at least one open source expert thinks there is far more to it.

“MySQL didn’t succeed just because it was an open source business,” Dominic Sartorio, president of the Open Solutions Alliance (OSA) wrote in a blog post. “They succeeded because they mastered how to deliver customer value, and brilliantly executed a strategy that is tried-and-true in the software business: brand, platform, and meeting customer needs.”

“Open source was a means to an end, not an end unto itself,” he wrote.

While Zend’s De Visser cautioned about the integrity of the LAMP stack following the Sun acquisition, Sartorio argued that the time has come for MySQL to move beyond LAMP.

“Now, after dominating the LAMP-based market, I would suggest the next stage of the MySQL business unit’s growth would require thinking about interoperability with other technology stacks,” Sartorio wrote.

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