Critics warn that Oracle can’t be trusted to secure MySQL future

Roger Burkhardt, CEO of Ingres, an open source database company and Oracle competitor, warned that Oracle can’t be trusted with MySQL. In an apparently widely circulated e-mail, Burkhardt wrote:

“Oracle has already cut back the MySQL road map to avoid competing with its own database management system and will try and attract MySQL developers onto a path to costly proprietary software and vendor lock-ins. MySQL lacks the enterprise grade strength and features required to actually run Oracle’s own applications in production and they won’t add these capabilities. They will use MySQL and Glassfish as open source ‘window dressing’ to try and divert the threat from capable open source technologies such as Ingres and JBOSS, to their overpriced database and application server software.”

Another critic of Oracle’s stewardship of MySQL, Michael “Monty” Widenius, main author of the original MySQL and one of the creators of the MariaDB fork of the database, was on hand at the conference to provide his first keynote in five years.

“MySQL is an ecosystem, not just a company,” Widenius said. He said that all the different branches of MySQL and the different companies have to work together to contribute code to a common ‘trunk.'”

“You need to have lots of people outside inside to get something that is both developer and company driven,” he said. “The best possible database you can get is when you have people who are using the code also developing it. The only way to do that is to have developers everywhere.”

Oracle commits the future of MySQL

Oracle Corporation will increase its investment in the open-source MySQL database it acquired with its purchase of Sun Microsystems, and it has already begun to make improvements to the software. So said Oracle’s chief software architect, Edward Screven, during his “State the Dolphin” keynote address at the annual MySQL Conference and Expo in Santa Clara, Calif., this week.

“We are going to continue to develop, promote and support MySQL,” he said, adding, “It’s worth it to Oracle to invest in MySQL, and we’re making it better. Not at some abstract point in the future, but today.

Screven pointed to the beta of MySQL 5.5, which he claimed improves performance by more than 200 percent and improves recovery times by more than a factor of 10. He added that semi-synch replication and more partitioning will be integrated in MySQL 5.5, and he assured the crowd that Oracle will maintain MySQL Server’s pluggable storage engine architecture — the enterprise and community editions will ship with the same code.

Oracle also announced the release of MySQL Cluster 7.1 at the show, and Screven cited Oracle’s investment in that release, as well as MySQL Workbench 5.2 and MySQL Enterprise Monitor 2.2, as further proof of the company’s commitment.

Oracle profit slips, but software revenue rises

Oracle Corp.’s profit fell 10.5 percent in the latest quarter as the business software maker absorbed Sun Microsystems and its expenses for building and supporting computer servers.

Still, Oracle’s profit edged past Wall Street’s estimates and its revenue from new software licenses ratcheted higher for the second quarter in a row. That is an encouraging sign that big companies are steadily increasing their spending on new technology projects.

New licenses are key for Oracle, the world’s No. 1 maker of database software, because customers often lock into technical-support contracts that fuel Oracle’s growth for years down the road. Oracle gets more than half its total revenue from those contracts.

Oracle said after the market closed Thursday that its net income was $1.2 billion, or 23 cents per share, in the three months ended Feb. 28. That compares with $1.3 billion, or 26 cents per share, in the year-ago period.

Revenue jumped 17 percent to $6.4 billion.

Excluding one-time items, the company earned 38 cents per share. On that basis, analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had expected Oracle to earn 37 cents per share, on $6.3 billion in revenue.

The latest numbers include about a month of contributions from Sun Microsystems, the struggling server and software maker that Oracle bought for $7.4 billion as part of Oracle CEO Larry Ellison’s push to more deeply challenge rival IBM Corp. The deal was completed in January after months of wrangling in Europe over whether the deal would violate antitrust laws.

Oracle said that without Sun its revenue would have risen 7 percent. Oracle also said it expects Sun to make a “significant contribution” to its profit in the current quarter.

Oracle’s revenue from new software licenses rose 10 percent, excluding Sun. The company had predicted it would rise as much as 9 percent. The September-November quarter, which Oracle reported in December, marked the first time in a year that figure had risen.

For the current quarter, the company predicts:

• Revenue from new software licenses will be up 3 percent to 13 percent over last year.

• It will post profit of 52 cents per share to 56 cents per share, excluding items, in line with analysts’ estimates for 53 cents per share

• Revenue will be up 35 percent to 40 percent over last year, including contributions from Sun, which translates to $9.3 billion to $9.6 billion and is in line with analysts’ forecasts for $9.6 billion

Before the earnings report, Oracle shares rose 28 cents, 1.1 percent, to close the regular trading session at $26.04. The stock was down 34 cents, or 1.3 percent, to $25.70 in after-hours trading.

Oracle Pushes Java Modularization

Two executives from Oracle — one veteran, one newly acquired — kicked off the annual EclipseCon conference, underway this week in Santa Clara, Calif., with a keynote Tuesday focusing on the future of Java under the stewardship of Oracle.

“Java is certainly the crown jewel of this acquisition,” said Steve Harris, senior vice president of Oracle’s application server group. “It brings together a tremendous base of developers and a tremendous community, and it’s incredibly important to our business.” Harris joined Oracle in 1997 to manage development of the Java virtual machine for the Oracle8i release.

“Developers are the life blood of Java,” said Jeet Kaul, who joined Oracle with the Sun acquisition to serve as vice president of the company’s client software development group. “Nine million developers are using Java, and we want to grow that community. And how do you grow that community? We have to make sure that Java is available in as many places as possible… and we want it to be a competitive platform.” While at Sun, Kaul led the team that created Java FX, Java ME, Java SE and Java Card, among others.

The two execs were short on specifics, but touched on several areas, including an overarching plan to push Java modularity based on the Open Services Gateway Initiative (OSGi) specification.

The module-based design principles defined by the OSGi have emerged as the defacto means of componentizing enterprise Java, RedMonk analyst Michael Coté told this in an earlier interview. OSGi provides a common model for writing and deploying applications to local or remote computers in modularized form. The spec frees developers from the need to create monolithic applications and facilitates collaboration among many small components.

Both Eclipse and the Glassfish application server are built on the OSGi spec.

Oracle wants the Java Platform to support OSGi modules alongside the base Java platform modules, Harris said, and the company is working with the group to make that happen. According to Harris, Oracle’s plan involves a module system framework that gives developers a consistent API for accessing and manipulating modular systems, and implements underneath the covers the Java Platform module system. This arrangement would eliminate the need to choose between these systems, he said.

“OSGi is an incredible part of the ecosystem and the platform overall,” Harris said. “So the commitment here with building this Java Platform modular implementation is that it will support OSGi modules alongside the base platform modules. The way we’ll do this is with a module system framework that gives you a consistent API for accessing and manipulating modular systems, and implements underneath the covers the Java Platform module system, which can be alongside OSGi.”

Kaul told attendees that Oracle is currently working on a roadmap for the Glassfish app server. The timing of the 3.1 release and the roadmap details would be available in the next few days, he said.

Kaul, who confessed to being a “bona fide Java bigot,” promised to push for improvements in things like generics, additional support for dynamic languages and enhancements of JavaFX RIA platform, which he described as a reaction to developers’ need for a new graphics pipeline in Java.

Oracle’s acquisition of Sun Microsystems was completed in January in a deal valued at more than $7 billion. The Redwood Shores, Calif.-based company is nearing the end of its “Hundred Day Plan” to integrate the assets of its neighbor from Santa Clara, Kaul said.