Wow, the rumors were true. Oracle is snapping up Open Source Database companies now. First it was Innobase (see Oracle buys Innobase. MySQL between rock and hard place?) and now it's Sleepycat Software.

The purchase of Sleepycat, which has been rumored for weeks, gives Oracle another open-source product to complement its proprietary database offerings. At an investor conference last week, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison reiterated the company's strategy to generate revenue from a combination of open-source and proprietary software.

They produce and support the famed Berkeley DB embedded database engine and have radically improved it's features since the version 1.x days. Nowadays you get a small, fast, transactional database engine with industrial grade reliability and replication.

It's interesting to note that MySQL's first transactional storage engine (BDB) was created on top of Berkeley DB. Their more popular transactional storage engine (InnoDB) is built on top of technology produced by Innobase, which Oracle bought last year.

This leads to the obvious question: What is Oracle up to? Are they trying to do to Open Source Databases what Yahoo appears to be doing to Web 2.0 companies?

There's been speculation of a master plan at Oracle that involves buying up various bits of the Open Source infrastructure used in building applications. Is JBoss next, as some have suggested?

We'll see.

Posted by jzawodn at February 14, 2006 07:50 AM

Reader Comments
# Chris said:

Oh crap. I really don't want to move to Postgres. I guess there will always be forks os InnoDB/BDB to get the job done. I wonder if they'll pull 'a Computer Associates' and just buy them and run them into the ground.

on February 14, 2006 08:25 AM
# Herr Direktor said:

I think Oracle is playing with MySQL like a farm cat tortures a mouse. Or would a better analogy be plucking off the legs of a daddy long-leg spider?

I bet that this latest round of $18.5 mil VC money (for MySQL) was invested with the intent that it would be a quick return upon Oracle's purchase of MySQL.

I wonder if Monty will be able to hold out now that the frying pan is red hot? :)

on February 14, 2006 09:37 AM
# said:

that article also says ""Oracle is also reported to be in talks to buy ... Zend Technologies."

whither PHP...?

on February 14, 2006 09:52 AM
# Rasmus said:

Zend != PHP

They can buy Zend all they want and they will get an IDE and some other stuff, but they don't get any direct control over PHP. I suppose they could change the license on future versions of the Zend engine, but then we just fork from the existing codebase. Unlike MySQL, Innobase and Sleepycat, Zend's contributions to PHP are under a BSD-style license, no one company owns PHP in any way.

on February 14, 2006 09:57 AM
# Annonamous said:

HAHAHAHAHA, nice last name DEWD!

on February 14, 2006 11:34 AM
# James Day said:

Monty will be fine. I expect to be playing poker with him in a few weeks and will be surprised if he isn't his usual self.

on February 14, 2006 11:36 AM
# Otis Gospodnetic said:

Nothing wrong with PostgreSQL, but Oracle buying Sleepycat scares me.

on February 14, 2006 01:05 PM
# Kevin Burton said:

This scares me a little bit.

Either Oracle is up to something REALLY evil or something REALLY good. My bet is really evil but I'm not sure the gant at INNODB/bdb would sell if it was really evil...

god... this needs to play out fast as it's stressing me out.

on February 14, 2006 01:25 PM
# grumpY! said:

don't feel sorry for mysql, they will be fine, feel sorry for oracle. they are trying to acquire their way back to growth, but oracle's growth days are over. these little firms will take the money and then rapidly disappear in the cloud of mediocrity and bureaucracy of the large org...although there is always some naive soul who thinks they are being brought in to revitalize and re-energize the company, although their repeated attempts to talk over their "big ideas" with larry go certainly go unanswered.

on February 14, 2006 01:54 PM
# James Day said:

I suppose MySQL's funding round announced on 13 Feb might be of interest. Corporate investors included Intel Capital, Red Hat, SAP and Presidio STX.

Oracle is simply doing what Oracle does - acquiring businesses which look interesting to it. It needs what it will probably call "low end" products to compete, so it's buying some. Meanwhile, I'll happily use MySQL for a billion queries a day and not worry how competing companies misdescribe it... :)

I do think that Oracle is tring to buy the infrastructure relied on by open source applications as a way of acquiring power and some measure of control in that area. Personally, I'd prefer to see any buying being done by MySQL (unlikely) Yahoo Google, IBM and others who seem more comitted to open source.

on February 14, 2006 03:27 PM
# Aristotle Pagaltzis said:

They’re also looking to buy JBoss and Zend:

Quoth Businessweek online:

Oracle’s Ellison girded investors for an open-source push at a Feb. 8 conference in Santa Monica, Calif., saying, “We are moving aggressively into open source. We are embracing it. We are not going to fight this trend. We think if we’re clever, we can make it work to our advantage.”

Ellison wants to become businesses’ most important software provider and turn customers into one-stop-shop subscribers. Subscriptions are a huge shift from a model where the name of the game is getting huge upfront payments from corporate customers. In the case of open-source and on-demand software, companies pay little to nothing upfront, instead paying a monthly fee for hosting, support, or maintenance.

on February 14, 2006 11:20 PM
# Jiacheng said:

I'm using oracle berkeley DB these days. It's nice. I can not imagine oracle will buy zend or jboss.

on May 25, 2007 12:52 PM
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are mine and mine alone. My current, past, or previous employers are not responsible for what I write here, the comments left by others, or the photos I may share. If you have questions, please contact me. Also, I am not a journalist or reporter. Don't "pitch" me.


Privacy: I do not share or publish the email addresses or IP addresses of anyone posting a comment here without consent. However, I do reserve the right to remove comments that are spammy, off-topic, or otherwise unsuitable based on my comment policy. In a few cases, I may leave spammy comments but remove any URLs they contain.