The Oracle-Sun deal seems to be the new weapon in the hands of advocates of proprietary software. It was recently used in a presentation at a friend’s company, to prove that even the open source software was prone to lock-ins. The logic was that, just like proprietary products, MySQL‘s future was in danger because of its company. If Oracle decides to pull the plug on MySQL, the users will either have to switch away from it or keep working with a product which does not have a future. Just like proprietary products!
Well, that presenter does not seem to see the difference between open source and proprietary software – a community with freedom. In case of MySQL, if Oracle does not continue with it, Michael Widenius, the original developer of MySQL, has already offered a way to free it. If that does not work, a part of the community had the right to create a new avatar and work on it. Worst, if the community too is not interested, an individual client too can rightfully do it. The difference is quite obvious. Unlike the proprietary software, the open source philosophy gave rights to the users and community to decide future of an open source product in uncomfortable situations. This just cannot happen with proprietary products.
Whichever way corporate decisions go, the users can make their own decisions on tools they continue to use. Looks like it works in benefit of the open source philosophy. In fact, we can effectively use it to highlight free-as-in-speech benefits of open source software that usually get ranked below the free-as-in-beer ones.