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12/17/2009
10:01 PM
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Oracle Makes 10 Commitments To Seal EU Deal

Oracle has just released 10 commitments to customers and developers about MySQL's future accessibility and openness in the hope of gaining EU approval to acquire Sun.

Oracle has just released 10 commitments to customers and developers about MySQL's future accessibility and openness in the hope of gaining EU approval to acquire Sun. Combined with the powerful customer endorsements given to the EU late last week, these promises would appear to put Oracle on the verge of gaining approval to acquire Sun and all of its assets.

The list includes a strong commitment to enhance the open version of MySQL under the GPL in parallel with any enhancements to Oracle's own Enterprise Edition.

Another highlight concerns Oracle's promise about freedom of choice for support: "Customers will not be required to purchase support services from Oracle as a condition to obtaining a commercial license to MySQL."

While the deal's intractable ideological opponents will no doubt concoct all manner of strained arguments about why these 10 commitments don't go far enough, I'm betting that the combination of these 10 promises from Oracle, plus the overwhelmingly strong customer comments presented late last week to the EU bureaucrats, will seal the deal in Oracle's favor. (You can read all about those customer comments in an adjacent Global CIO column under the headline, "Oracle Customer Comments Will Force EU To Yield" which will be be posted at 8:00 a.m. EDT.)

Here's the full list of Oracle's 10 commitments as spelled out in a company press release:

"In order further to reassure the Commission, Oracle hereby publicly commits to the following:

"1. Continued Availability of Storage Engine APIs. Oracle shall maintain and periodically enhance MySQL's Pluggable Storage Engine Architecture to allow users the flexibility to choose from a portfolio of native and third party supplied storage engines. "MySQL's Pluggable Storage Engine Architecture shall mean MySQL's current practice of using, publicly-available, documented application programming interfaces to allow storage engine vendors to "plug" into the MySQL database server. Documentation shall be consistent with the documentation currently provided by Sun.

"2. Non-assertion. As copyright holder, Oracle will change Sun's current policy and shall not assert or threaten to assert against anyone that a third party vendor's implementations of storage engines must be released under the GPL because they have implemented the application programming interfaces available as part of MySQL's Pluggable Storage Engine Architecture.

"A commercial license will not be required by Oracle from third party storage engine vendors in order to implement the application programming interfaces available as part of MySQL's Pluggable Storage Engine Architecture.

"Oracle shall reproduce this commitment in contractual commitments to storage vendors who at present have a commercial license with Sun.

"3. License commitment. Upon termination of their current MySQL OEM Agreement, Oracle shall offer storage vendors who at present have a commercial license with Sun an extension of their Agreement on the same terms and conditions for a term not exceeding December 10, 2014.

"Oracle shall reproduce this commitment in contractual commitments to storage vendors who at present have a commercial license with Sun.

"4. Commitment to enhance MySQL in the future under the GPL. Oracle shall continue to enhance MySQL and make subsequent versions of MySQL, including Version 6, available under the GPL. Oracle will not release any new, enhanced version of MySQL Enterprise Edition without contemporaneously releasing a new, also enhanced version of MySQL Community Edition licensed under the GPL. Oracle shall continue to make the source code of all versions of MySQL Community Edition publicly available at no charge.

"5. Support not mandatory. Customers will not be required to purchase support services from Oracle as a condition to obtaining a commercial license to MySQL.

"6. Increase spending on MySQL research and development. Oracle commits to make available appropriate funding for the MySQL continued development (GPL version and commercial version). During each of the next three years, Oracle will spend more on research and development (R&D) for the MySQL Global Business Unit than Sun spent in its most recent fiscal year (USD 24 million) preceding the closing of the transaction.

"7. MySQL Customer Advisory Board. No later than six months after the anniversary of the closing, Oracle will create and fund a customer advisory board, including in particular end users and embedded customers, to provide guidance and feedback on MySQL development priorities and other issues of importance to MySQL customers.

"8. MySQL Storage Engine Vendor Advisory Board. No later than six months after the anniversary of the closing, Oracle will create and fund a storage engine vendor advisory board, to provide guidance and feedback on MySQL development priorities and other issues of importance to MySQL storage engine vendors.

"9. MySQL Reference Manual. Oracle will continue to maintain, update and make available for download at no charge a MySQL Reference Manual similar in quality to that currently made available by Sun.

"10. Preserve Customer Choice for Support. Oracle will ensure that end-user and embedded customers paying for MySQL support subscriptions will be able to renew their subscriptions on an annual or multi-year basis, according to the customer's preference.

"The geographic scope of these commitments shall be worldwide and these commitments shall continue until the fifth anniversary of the closing of the transaction."

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