Study: Most MySQL users not too worried about Oracle

Forty-three percent expect the open-source database to improve under its ownership

The MySQL community is mostly neutral or positive about the open-source database's prospects under Oracle's stewardship, according to a newly released study.

Open-source BI (business intelligence) vendor Jaspersoft surveyed its community of about 130,000 users and came away with a sample of 518 respondents.

Forty-seven percent had no plans to switch to another database from MySQL, which Oracle gained through its acquisition of Sun Microsystems. Just 5 percent planned to do so, with PostgreSQL being the most frequently cited alternative.

But another 28 percent said they do not currently use MySQL at all, and 19 percent believed it is too early to know whether a switch would make sense.

Some 43 percent of respondents said they believed MySQL development would improve under Oracle. Another 35 percent expect it to remain the same, while 22 percent are anticipating the database will suffer under the giant vendor's wing.

Twenty-two percent indicated they would use MySQL more now that Oracle owns it, while another 56 percent said their usage would be "about the same."

The sample's constituency heavily favors smaller companies, with 75 percent of respondents coming from organizations with 1,000 or fewer workers.

Concerns over MySQL's future prompted a lengthy review of the Sun acquisition by European antitrust authorities. To assuage those fears, Oracle made a series of public pledges about the database.

Meanwhile, the options are growing for MySQL users who want to shed or reduce dependencies on Oracle.

Prominent figures in the MySQL community, such as its creator, Michael "Monty" Widenius, are backing offshoots of MySQL and have formed companies to support both those "forks" and the original version.

Overall, there's no way to cast serious judgment on Oracle's treatment of MySQL at this juncture, according to one observer.

"From an individual user organization's standpoint, Oracle is innocent with respect to MySQL until proven guilty," said analyst Curt Monash of Monash Research. "Having MySQL be owned by a real [database] vendor is grounds for optimism about MySQL product evolution."

"Nobody seems to be yowling about Oracle's stewardship of previous open source acquisitions, except on a 'reasonable people can disagree' basis," he added. Moreover, "there was a lot of MySQL dissatisfaction before the acquisition as well," Monash said.

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris's e-mail address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com

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