Oracle will boost MySQL, release Cloud Office suite

After taking over Sun, Oracle also says it will invest in OpenOffice

Oracle Corp. today promised to aggressively push its newly acquired MySQL open-source database, rather than kill it.

Oracle also plans to continued to invest in and maintain the independence of OpenOffice.org, the longtime Microsoft Office challenger from Sun Microsystems Inc., but it will also launch a separate cloud productivity suite that's similar to Google Docs, according to Chief Corporate Architect Edward Screven.

Many users feared that Oracle would bury MySQL, a lightweight database that's gaining acceptance in corporate enterprises after starting out as a favorite of Web start-ups, to avoid cannibalizing its flagship Oracle Database.

But Screven said Oracle plans to keep MySQL's sales team independent while improving MySQL's code, support and compatibility with other Oracle apps.

Screven will oversee MySQL, OpenOffice.org and other open-source apps in Oracle's Open-Source Software division.

During a webcast briefing today, Screven and other Oracle executives said the company's acquisition of Sun's many top-notch technologies will allow the combined company to offer "complete, open, integrated systems." That vow appears to be a challenge to IBM, which prior to the Oracle-Sun combination, was considered the largest proponent of enterprise use of open-source technologies.

Here's a look at some of the highlights of today's presentation:

Java: Oracle plans to "extend and enhance the reach of Java," according to Thomas Kurian, an executive vice president. This will be achieved by integrating and simplifying the Java platform runtime -- specifically, delivering Version 7 of the Java Standard Edition client for desktop PCs with a variety of improvements, while making the mobile version, Java ME, compatible with the desktop version to lessen work for programmers.

Kurian also vowed to make it easier for Web developers using JavaScript to work with Java. These moves, he said, will all help revitalize the Java developer community, which Kurian said numbers 10 million.

Finally, The JavaOne show will remain independent, but it will now take place during the Oracle OpenWorld conference, which is scheduled to be held in San Francisco in September.

OpenOffice.org: OpenOffice.org will be managed as an independent business unit, Screven said, with Sun's development and support teams retained. Oracle will continue to support the free community edition of OpenOffice.org. However, Oracle also plans to deliver a cloud offering called Oracle Cloud Office, which Screven said had been under development for a while. Screven did not comment on the fate of StarOffice, the paid, supported version of OpenOffice.org that competes with IBM's own OpenOffice.org-based Lotus Symphony.

Solaris: Sun open-sourced its longtime server operating system in 2005. John Fowler, a former Sun executive who now serves as executive vice president of hardware engineering at Oracle, said the company plans to increase investment in Solaris so that it, among other things, will be able to scale to run thousands of CPU threads simultaneously and handle multiple terabytes of memory.

Linux: Oracle has thousands of customers for Unbreakable Linux, its supported version of Red Hat Linux, Screven said. Oracle will now invest in both Linux and Solaris.

Eclipse: Regarding the open-source software development environment, Kurian said: "Oracle will continue to invest ... we are a leading contributor."

Eric Lai covers Windows and Linux, desktop applications, databases and business intelligence for Computerworld. Follow Eric on Twitter at @ericylai, send e-mail to elai@computerworld.com or subscribe to Eric's RSS feed .

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