The old phrase “killing two birds with one stone” – yeah it sounds impossible when you think about it realistically – ka-bing, ka-bing, there they go. But Oracle may succeed in killing off both Java and MySQL after its acquisition of Sun Microsystems. Or at least sidelining both into stagnation in favor of big-ticket licensed Oracle products.
In 1999 to 2001 I was responsible for purchasing Oracle licenses for a large organization with large plans. We paid hundreds of thousands of dollars (US) for initial and continuing licenses on Oracle database software. The stuff was industrial-strength. But since then I’ve used (the free) MySQL dozens of times for small-to-medium size sites. And several systems I’ve used or designed have been Java-based as well. The availability of these free tools is critical to the existence of millions of web sites around the world.
My guess is that we will see the current versions of both Java and MySQL continue to be available free-of-charge, but that at some point future versions of each may be offered only under paid licenses, though I predict that these licenses will not be rapaciously priced. And I think this is more likely for MySQL than for Java. Some others agree with me that Oracle will treat MySQL as an entry-level system and use various methods to get developers to migrate to Oracle systems over time.
In terms of Java, well Java’s direction is governed by a user-centered community – the Java Community Process. Java is open source. We don’t know whether Oracle will (continue to) support this open source process. Oracle already has invested a lot in development using Java and strongly supported it while it was championed by Sun. So the consensus is that they won’t kill Java. And it seems to me that people are cautiously optimistic about the potential for Oracle’s continued support of Java.
Let’s see how this plays out.