Survey: Oracle not so bad for Java and MySQL

The results of a survey, published this week by open-source business intelligence (B.I.) vendor Jaspersoft, seem to indicate that early concerns about the fate of Java and MySQL in the hands of Oracle have abated, at least for the present.

The San Francisco-based company reached out to more than 130,000 of its own users and customers, 518 of whom responded, and found that most were "giving Oracle the benefit of the doubt, for now." In fact, Oracle was viewed by the majority of respondents as a better steward of Java and MySQL than Sun. Respondents from large organizations reported plans to use more Java than before, which could spark a "possible resurgence of Java," the report declared. And most respondents expected to see MySQL innovate and improve faster under Oracle than under Sun.

"Almost every respondent said they'd continue to use Java or increase the use of Java in their organization under Oracle," the report found. "These results say Java is still a vibrant and popular programming language." Also: "Nearly 80 percent of respondents felt that the Java Community Process would remain the same or improve under Oracle."

Jaspersoft is a provider of a widely used set of open source B.I. software products. The company claims to make the world's most widely used BI software, with nearly 11 million product downloads worldwide and 13,000 commercial customers in 100 countries.

Why did the company undertake this survey?

According to Jaspersoft CEO Brian Gentile, it's because the company's products are built with Java and many of its customers use those products to access data stored in MySQL. "[W]e are interested in how our customers and community view the future of Java and MySQL under Oracle," Gentile said in a statement. "It's clear that our enterprise customers and community are prepared to give Oracle the benefit of the doubt. And it's likely that the software industry may see a resurgence in the use of Java, good news for the massive investments made by many organizations and professionals in this programming language."

The report, available here in PDF format, was completed in April. Most respondents held development and engineering roles within their organizations, said Jaspersoft. And nearly 15 percent worked for organizations with more than 5,000 employees.

The report concluded that Oracle's greater resources are largely viewed as a positive for Java: "In 2009, Oracle had 10 times the net income of Sun and can afford to invest more heavily in Java innovation if it perceives Java's success as strategic to the company's commercial interests. Our survey results show that customers and community members are placing larger bets on Java as a platform now that Oracle is in charge."

The survey also paints a picture of a stabile MySQL community. Only five percent of respondents said they would be switching from MySQL to another database; the most popular alternative is PostgreSQL.

In April, Oracle sought to reassure developers about the future of MySQL at the annual MySQL Conference and Expo in Santa Clara, Calif. Speaking to conference attendees, Oracle's Chief Software Architect Edward Screven said, "We are going to continue to develop, promote and support MySQL...It's worth it to Oracle to invest in MySQL, and we're making it better, not at some abstract point in the future, but today."

Even so, 59 percent of the respondents in the Jaspersoft survey said that they were not aware that Oracle had reorganized and established a separate MySQL business unit, which includes separate and dedicated engineering, professional services, sales and marketing.

About the Author

John K. Waters is a freelance writer based in Silicon Valley.

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