Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Oracle Buys Open Source Software Company Sleepycat

Oracle Buys Open Source Software Company Sleepycat: "Oracle today announced that it has added Berkeley DB to its embedded database product line which includes Oracle Lite for mobile devices and Oracle TimesTen for high performance in-memory database applications.
Sleepycat Software's Berkeley DB is the most widely used open source database in the world with deployments estimated at more than 200 million."

Strange days indeed -- Oracle is now the leading supplier of open source database systems (!= open source database management systems/DBMSs), and it also controls the InnoDB technology used in many MySQL deployments (through its October, 2005 acquisition of Innobase).

Sleepycat and MySQL AB are two leading examples of "second-generation commercial open source" vendors, i.e., independent software vendors that embrace open source modus operandi but also charge for commercial deployments of their products (albeit considerably less than more conventional independent software vendor alternatives, in most cases). As such, Sleepycat isn't such a radical departure from Oracle's traditional business model, although it certainly takes Oracle much further into the world of open source (where it's not exactly a neophyte, having made significant contributions to Linux and other open source initiatives in the past).

Oracle's rumored/potential acquisition of JBoss would be a very different deal, since JBoss products are both open source and zero-cost, in terms of software license fees -- JBoss Inc. makes money on services and support but doesn't have a dual-licensing strategy for "community" and commercial deployments.

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