MySQL AB’s CEO has defended the database company’s joint development agreement with controversial Unix operating system vendor SCO Group.
The Uppsala, Sweden-based open source database vendor was bombarded with numerous critical emails following the September announcement of the deal with SCO, according to CEO Marten Mickos.
SCO’s claims that Linux infringes its copyright and the General Public License is unconstitutional have led to the company being reviled by the open source community, but Mr Mickos defended the agreement to work together on bringing MySQL 5.0 to SCO’s OpenServer 6.
We thought about the deal for a long time and we thought it was the right thing to do, he said. We want to serve customers irrespective of their platform. Business reasons were a driver for the deal, but Mr Mickos also appears to be following the advice of The Art of War author, Sun Tzu: keep your friends close and your enemies closer.
In a partnership you exchange thoughts, he said. If you exchange thoughts hopefully the other side will listen to you. We understand people get upset, but it doesn’t help to just close them out and despise them, it doesn’t help at all. We don’t want to be the judge. We want to be the doctor. If we can provide the cure, great.
In a 2003 filing in its long-running contract and copyright dispute with IBM, Lindon, Utah-based SCO claimed that: The GPL violates the US Constitution, together with copyright, antitrust and export control laws.
That did not stop the company including a number of open source technologies – including Samba, Apache, PostgreSQL, and the MySQL database – with its OpenServer 6 operating system, however. They used to say the GPL was unconstitutional, maybe with working with us they have proved that it is not unconstitutional, said Mr Mickos.
While the company may have taken some flack from the community for partnering with SCO, Mr Mickos maintained that MySQL’s track record in promoting open source and opposing the European technology patent directive should retain the community’s trust. That’s a hundred times more influential than any deal with SCO could have been, he said.