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April 27, 2008

SUN & MySQL morning briefing

Filed under: Java — negev @ 12:42 pm
Tags: ,

Last Friday 25th April I was at SUN & MySQL morning briefing. Out of 6 talks only 2 were by marketing guys, and even those were highly focused on technology and systems than selling. Saying all that, it was a more business-value and CIO-focused than SUN Tech Days, but still interesting to technology people.

Here is what caught my attention, mixed with my comments. It’s likely I attribute some quotations to a different speaker, as I originally grouped my notes by topic.

Simon Phipps, SUN’s open-source promoter
Simon can nicely describe history of open source, how their communities operate and how open source became adopted by commercial sector and enterprises. But this time, most likely because of high ratio of CIOs in the audience, he went straight to the business language. The old-style SW era was procurement-driven. Vendors proposed a system. They made it for you. You payed, trained for it and migrated to it. Just then you found the limitations, but it was too late. As the cycle took two years or more, the system was already archaic when you eventually used it.

Open source is adoption-led. You find a product and you test it. Only if it suits your needs, you pay for the value: support, extra modules, connectors, training, recently indemnification. It is now a mature main-stream market.

David Axmark, Co-Founder, MySQL
David gave a nice insight into how MySQL started and grew up. I was surprised that MySQL is used at such remote places as Greenland and Pacific islands. His suggestions for success of an open source project:

  • solution to a common problem
  • works in 15 minutes
  • binaries for many systems
  • fast, stable
  • contained – focus on core features
  • public bug database
  • wide audience
  • plugins and their API, plugin-independent data export/import format
  • documentation


  • maximalist thinking
  • lack of adoption focus
  • fear of technical maturity
  • fear of free
  • perception of IP threat
  • procurement control

From comments of David Mitchell, senior analyst at Ovum, on merge of SUN & MySQL and current IT market in general:

  • both SUN and MySQL gain new markets
  • databases and business products are doing about same well and have larger market share than operating systems
  • open source supports financial predictibility
  • software as a service is not a panacea, because it gives up architecture control to the provider. It’s a lock-in no matter what the provider says

The only marketing I caught:

  • £25.000 unlimited MySQL enterprise license, same cost as Oracle on 1 CPU
  • you can evaluate MySQL monitor (or whatever it’s called) for free

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