Debate IT: Are open source acquisitions by big vendors good for consumers?

Do proprietary vendors have the right nous and company culture to nurture open source acquisitions?

Michael "Monty" Widenius, the original developer of the open-source MySQL database, has left Sun Microsystems and is starting his own company, Monty Program Ab, he said in a blog post on Thursday.

According to Monty, the main reason for leaving was that he was not satisfied with the way the MySQL server has been developed. “In particular I would have like (sic) to see the server development to be moved to a true open development environment that would encourage outside participation and without any need of differentiation on the source code. Sun has been considering opening up the server development, but the pace has been too slow.”

Monty also took issue with Sun releasing MySQL 5.1 as "generally available" last December, despite it being riddled with serious bugs.

So, this brings forward an interesting conundrum. Do proprietary vendors have the right nous and company culture to nurture open source acquisitions? Do they help foster or hinder such development, once such a company – like MySQL -- has been acquired? Do consumers benefit or suffer when serious money, and control, is thrown into the equation?

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