Oracle's acquisition of InnoBase, the guys who developed the InnoDB storage engine, is interesting because it shows how significant open source database technology has become in the industry. Oracle, along with IBM, helped legitimize Linux in the enterprise, and are now endorsing open source database technology. Previously Oracle has said "Open source is great... for your operating system, but not your database." Last year I predicted that sooner or later all of the database companies would go open source. Since then we saw IBM open source Cloudscape as Apache Derby. Then CA open sourced Ingres. Now finally Oracle is getting into open source databases through the back door. At any rate, I think open source and closed source technology are going to co-exist for many years to come and this announcement will facilitate the adoption of open source in the enterprise.
While the announcement could create a bit of confusion in the short term, it also clearly demonstrates the strength of the GPL license. MySQL and the open source community and its users are free to continue to use, deploy, modify and enhance InnoDB regardless of who owns it. That's the beauty of GPL. It gives users the freedom from lock-in. And of course, InnoDB is just one of many pluggable storage engines for MySQL. Many of our users have written their own storage engines, and we've added two new ones into MySQL 5.0. I expect that more people will begin exploring the InnoDB code and writing their own custom storage engines. After all, InnoBase is just 3 guys, and its not too hard to write a storage engine. That's a beautiful thing!
BTW, the photo above, is me with Oracle VP Ken Jacobs from the MySQL User's Conference back in April. So we'll no doubt continue to work with InnoBase guys (and also with Oracle) as we have with many other software companies in the valley and around the world.