Oracle Picks Up Open Source Company Innobase

    October 10, 2005

Big-time tech company Oracle announced on Friday the acquisition of the Finnish Innobase. The Innobase is an open source software company, known for its product, InnoDB.

InnoDB is used in conjunction with the with the MySQL database as an add-on storage engine. It’s distributed in the GNU GPL open-source license. The product is bundled with MySQL and the contract is up for renewal next year. Oracle said they have no reason to think the contract won’t be extended.

“Oracle has long been a supporter of open source software such as Linux and Apache,” said Charles Rozwat, Oracle’s Executive Vice President in charge of Database and Middleware Technology.

“Innobase is an innovative small company that develops open source database technology. Oracle intends to continue developing the InnoDB technology and expand our commitment to open source software. Oracle has already developed and contributed an open source clustered file system to Linux. We expect to make additional contributions in the future.”

There is some concern in the MySQL field however and there’s much speculation on just what this means. One doesn’t think Oracle will mess with things too much as MySQL serves as a foil for Microsoft. But, what they will change is anybody’s bet.

The Microsoft Longhorn/Vista blog had this to say:

The surprise is; by acquiring Innobase, Oracle claims that it is just a move to support open source. But Innobase Oy is the company owned by Heikki Tuuri, who created high-performance InnoDB table type for MySQL database. InnoDB table type is the most popular storage engine in MySQL supporting transactional, row-level locking and hot backup features. And none of the MySQL native table types like MyISAM, Merge, Heap, ISAM and BDB supports these except BDB which supports page-level locking along with transactions. But MySQL does not actively support the BDB table type as this is originally from Berkeley DB Sleepy Cat.

As InnoDB table type is the one which is driving MySQL with most of its customer base using InnoDB, this acquisition seemed to be just to pull the legs of MySQL from the database business by Oracle. But, MySQL should have brought the Innobase long back when it knows this could happen at one time. Anyway, we all will wait and see what move will be taken by MySQL in the coming days.

John Stith is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.