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Oracle's plan to protect MySQL comes in for criticism

Former database worker says five years isn't long enough

Oracle's plan to safeguard competition following the company's merger with Sun Microsystems has been slammed Florian Muller, who once worked on the MySQL database, owned by Sun.

Oracle has agreed to make a series of undertakings to customers, developers and users of MySQL, in a bid to get the EU to give the deal the go-ahead. The Commission described the plans as "an important new element to be taken into account" during its antitrust investigation of the merger.

The Commission has held up Oracle's $7.4bn acquisiton of Sun because it believed that the deal would harm competition in the database software market, currently dominated by Oracle.

The plans include "binding contractual undertakings to storage engine vendors regarding copyright nonassertion and the extension over a period of up to five years of the terms and conditions of existing commercial licenses," the Commission said, describing the new undertakings as "significant new facts".

Among those dismissive of the database giant's promises was Mueller, who once worked for MySQL and is close to Michael 'Monty' Widenius, a founder of the open source database company who objects to it being owned by Oracle.

Mueller described Oracle's proposals in an email as "purely cosmetic and totally ineffectual, not preventing the near-instantaneous cessation of innovation in and around MySQL because neither enterprise users nor storage engine vendors nor forkers - developers of products derived from the MySQL code base - would have a secure future and real incentive to invest".

The five-year extension of terms and conditions of existing MySQL licensees is insufficient, he added.

"Five years isn't long enough because people wouldn't have a basis to make long-term investment decisions," he said.

"The duration [of the extension of terms and conditions] is a big problem."

See also: EU in favour of Oracle-Sun deal

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