Legal and Acquisition Impacts
On 15 June 2001, NuSphere sued MySQL AB, TcX DataKonsult AB and its original authors Michael ("Monty") Widenius and David Axmark in U.S District Court in Boston for "breach of contract, tortious interference with third party contracts and relationships and unfair competition".
In 2002, MySQL AB sued Progress NuSphere for copyright and trademark infringement in United States district court. NuSphere had allegedly violated MySQL's copyright by linking MySQL's GPL'ed code with NuSphere Gemini table without being in compliance with the license. After a preliminary hearing before Judge Patti Saris on 27 February 2002, the parties entered settlement talks and eventually settled. After the hearing, FSF commented that "Judge Saris made clear that she sees the GNU GPL to be an enforceable and binding license."
In October 2005, Oracle Corporation acquired Innobase OY, the Finnish company that developed the third-party InnoDB storage engine that allows MySQL to provide such functionality as transactions and foreign keys. After the acquisition, an Oracle press release mentioned that the contracts that make the company's software available to MySQL AB would be due for renewal (and presumably renegotiation) some time in 2006. During the MySQL Users Conference in April 2006, MySQL issued a press release that confirmed that MySQL and Innobase OY agreed to a "multi-year" extension of their licensing agreement.
In February 2006, Oracle Corporation acquired Sleepycat Software, makers of the Berkeley DB, a database engine providing the basis for another MySQL storage engine. This had little effect, as Berkeley DB was not widely used, and was dropped (due to lack of use) in MySQL 5.1.12, a pre-GA release of MySQL 5.1 released in October 2006.
In January 2008, Sun Microsystems bought MySQL for $1 billion.
In April 2009, Oracle Corporation entered into an agreement to purchase Sun Microsystems, then owners of MySQL copyright and trademark. Sun's board of directors unanimously approved the deal, it was also approved by Sun's shareholders, and by the U.S. government on 20 August 2009. On 14 December 2009, Oracle pledged to continue to enhance MySQL as it had done for the previous four years.
A movement against Oracle's acquisition of MySQL, to "Save MySQL" from Oracle was started by one of the MySQL founders, Monty Widenius. The petition of 50,000+ developers and users called upon the European Commission to block approval of the acquisition. At the same time, several Free Software opinion leaders (including Eben Moglen, Pamela Jones of Groklaw, Jan Wildeboer and Carlo Piana, who also acted as co-counsel in the merger regulation procedure) advocated for the unconditional approval of the merger. As part of the negotiations with the European Commission, Oracle committed that MySQL server will continue until at least 2015 to use the dual-licensing strategy long used by MySQL AB, with commercial and GPL versions available. The antitrust of the EU had been "pressuring it to divest MySQL as a condition for approval of the merger". But, as revealed by Wikileaks, the US Department of Justice and Antitrust, at the request of Oracle, pressured the EU to unconditionally approve the merger. The European Commission eventually unconditionally approved Oracle's acquisition of MySQL on 21 January 2010.
In January 2009, prior to Oracle's acquisition of MySQL, Monty Widenius started a GPL-only fork, MariaDB. MariaDB is based on the same code base as MySQL server 5.1 and strives to maintain compatibility with Oracle-provided versions.
In August 2012, TechCrunch's Alex Williams reported that Oracle was holding back MySQL Server test cases, a move that he concluded indicated that Oracle is attempting to kill the product. Percona also reported that Oracle is no longer synchronizing their changes with the public source repositories. Widenius called this a breach of the agreement that Oracle entered into with the EU as a condition of their acquisition of Sun.
Since the final quarter of 2012, several Linux distributions and some important users (like Wikipedia) started to replace MySQL with MariaDB.
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