Interview with Mike Olson: From Sleepycat to Oracle (and closing panel)

Interview with Mike Olson: From Sleepycat to Oracle
Michael Olson Interviewed by Nathan Torkington.

NT: “Are you pulling the devil to open source or open source to the devil?”

MO: “Oracle have done a lot of open source work but have been very bad at talking about it”

Nat: “Are open source companies like MySQL and Postgres taking customer away from Oracle?”

MO: “You have to look at this differently, they offer different solutions to different people, your average customer of MySQL isn’t going to be an Oracle customer unless he gets big…”

It’s a bit of a dry topic after the more lively and interesting presentations we’ve just seen, but then we’re talking about RDBMS ! but the point seems to be different products for different scale.
(As if to highlight this the screens display a message “call us crazy, call us fun, look under your seat to see if you’ve won” which takes the crowd further away from the interview on stage as most people start reaching under chairs to check)

I thought Nat was quiet, which is very unlike him and as if to prove the point a technician comes on stage and swaps his mike, funnily enough it doesn’t appear to make much difference.

MO: The Computer landscape is no longer one size fits all which means there is space for all the different requirements (higlighting the point above)
After this short ‘interview’ we switch to a panel session with the keynoters and a call to subscribe to Make magazine as it’s very cool.

Nat:MySpace just got bought for a ‘metric shit load of money’, do they use any SixApart tools?

Answer is no as they were on MIX06 showing off ASP .net so they use Microsoft.
Crowd:open source license obsolete? Does that mean humans will be obsolete? What did you mean?

Tim explains that the conditions have changed because people don’t have to download and install software because things have changed in the product, new updates are instantly there on the web. The questioner brings up a point about US passports giving rights that you give up at home which gets an ironic clap (from a few) , Tim points out that there is nothing wrong with the old/current licenses but that we need new ones for the new paradigm.

The sound for the presenters on stage is pretty poor so it makes it hard to capture all that is said
Nat asks the panel what is the most convincing argument is to take to your boss in the enterprise to make them switch.

Greenplum answers that for them they make a product that covers a problem that traditional companies can’t do so they don’t use ‘open source’ as an argument, theirs is “Greenplum provides performance”

Oracle makes the point that it’s easier for them to get into sales conversations because of their size rather than three guys and a sand filled camel, he also points out that in the Asymmetric wars don’t forget the money aspect, they have a lot of it and can afford to screw up and recover – Nat points out the take away is its always good to have money….

Suddenly the Oracle guy is animated and is making a lot of sense

Tim is ‘being provocative’ and outlines business models have been around for a while, as in ISP’s selling access to Apache

Open source is not a tactic, it is software points out Nat, the tactic is the business side and not part of the movement

Final question from Nat “a lot of us have won the battle to get open source into the enterprise but what happens next”

Tim “Old Age ……” or “what is the next hack, how do you stay young, how do you use your cleverness” “open source may get boring but the hacker impulse will always be there”

Anil “the battle has been about bad websites”

Grrenplum “its getting beyond the fact that open source is cheaper, the next thing is that it shouldn’t be because its cheaper, but because its better”

Oracle “go forth and work on interoperability as mashup etc still hard to do, if you’re at school go ….. mic cut out”


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