Oracle, Sun and WordPress

by Steve, April 21st, 2009

Word that Oracle will purchase Sun Microsystems may not seem to be of general interest, but it’s big news in the tech sphere. In my office, where we support Sun’s Solaris operating system, along with HP Unix, IBM’s AIX Unix, Linux and Darwin (Apple’s port of BSD Unix), the news was pleasing to the extent that Sun will be able to survive (their OS and developer toolset, especially their dbx C/C++ debugger, are tops in the ‘nix world).

While the implications for my vocational world were clear, it took me a little longer to grasp how it may affect my avocation in Web publishing. In January 2008, Sun bought the company that produces MySQL, a free, open source relational database, for a billion dollars. It’s still free, though Sun has enterprise versions of MySQL for sale.

Now comes Oracle, the 800 pound gorilla in the room for relational databases, to buy Sun. So, I asked a co-worker, when I finally started to grasp what’s afoot for those of us dependent on the stability, performance and availability of MySQL (the database of choice for WordPress and many other Web applications running on LAMP: Linux, Apache, MySql and PHP), what do you think this means for MySQL? Many users worried that Sun had bought it to kill it, but that’s not nearly as scary as Oracle.

I found the answer when I got back to my desk in the form of an e-mail from Oracle:

“Live Customer Event 4/28 – Comparing Oracle to MySQL” read the subject. And in the body:

As the global economy slows down, companies continue to look at alternative technologies that they feel are more cost effective and will save money on their bottom line. Learn why choosing an Oracle technology platform lowers the total cost of ownership for your company during this live, interactive one hour program. Tony Tarone, the Director of Operations at Cedar Document Technologies, will discuss how he gained a reliable, scalable, secure, and cost effective platform by moving from MySQL to Oracle.

Now, I have no idea whether this was planned before the acquisition of Sun was announced, but it sure doesn’t make me feel good about Oracle’s intentions. Of course, MySQL is open source, licensed under the GNU GPL, so there’s no taking it back now. But there’s probably not much reason for Oracle to continue support of the development community as Sun has. That’s a shame.

Wounded mayor defeated by nerds

by Steve, April 21st, 2009

A wounded Sam Adams, aided only by an army of man-child soccer fans and erstwhile enemy Randy Leonard, has failed to “get things done” vis-a-vis demolishing the Memorial Coliseum to make way for patrician Merrit Paulson’s stunted sports dreams.

At one point, Adams said he would resign if he could no longer be effective. We’ll never know if this failure had anything to do with his peccadillo, or everything to do with the fact that the whole plan is insanely rushed and involves the almost humorously cocky scion of George W. Bush’s Treasury Secretary issuing ultimatums about our civic property.

But this is only the latest failure for the guy who boasted to his friends “I get things done.” Remember, Adams ran on an education platform. He also wanted an “iconic” bridge to Vancouver, Wash.

Perhaps his quixotic attempt to shovel city-backed loans to one of the richest guys on the planet will be his undoing. Having been defeated by a handful of modernist architecture lovers (with support from pissed off veterans and a few nostalgic hockey fans), he’s gone back to the drawing board to find another piece of city-owned land to hand over to Paulson.

Let’s see if he can get things done after all.

Shut the Eff up, Merrit Paulson

by Steve, April 15th, 2009

Merit Paulson, millionaire son of Bush Treasury Secretary and former head of Goldman Sachs Hank Paulson, wants to tell us to do with our Memorial Coliseum.

Isn’t that cute.

Besides being insanely rushed, there are many reasons to oppose this absurd deal.

The Coliseum is a modernist masterpiece, with its square glass curtain walls enclosing a simple, graceful sweep of the arena bowl. It also happens to be a very functional (if run-down) mid-sized spectator venue in the center of our city, providing year-round family entertainment, with fantastic sight lines for the game of hockey.

Paulson cites a figure of losing $500,000 a year, the amount dedicated from the city’s spectator fund (money from parking revenue and ticket surcharges) to do maintenance at the Coliseum. But he coliseum actually provides income to its contracted management firm (Paul Allen), and could make money for the city if they transferred management to the Winter Hawks, who might also be amenable to a public-private partnership to renovate the old glass palace in return for good terms on a long-term lease.

You guys on city council want to make a deal with a millionaire? How about ringing up Alberta oilman Bill Gallacher, owner of the Winter Hawks.

Such a renovation could include facilities for public recreational skating opportunities (the Winter Hawks have expressed an interest in starting a youth hockey program), revenue-producing suites, an improved ice plant and surface, and updated mechanical systems. A restaurant/bar could be added, which, combined with recreational skating, could draw significant use and income for the city-owned facility.

Merrit Paulson’s plan for our city property would be extremely costly and would see use fewer than six months out of the year. It would offer no public recreational use.

Portland policy makers for years have failed to address the future of the Coliseum, and have let it fall into a sorry state of disrepair. But even a total renovation would be less expensive than tearing it down and building a new facility. Portland has a demonstrated, ongoing need for a spectator venue of this size, it can be easily configured to offer public recreation, and it is an architectural treasure.

So, Randy Leonard: as a fellow hockey fan, I’m disappointed in you. Sam Adams, I’m not at all surprised. But you should be ashamed of yourself.

And Merrit Paulson, just because daddy’s rich, doesn’t mean you can ride into town and tell us what to do with our treasured civic property. Why don’t you take your sports dreams somewhere else and leave our Coliseum alone.

QOTD: Swami Tejomayananda

by Steve, April 1st, 2009

Action without spiritual vision gives rise to division.
Vision without action remains mere imagination.
Vision, however, with action becomes a means of peoples’ welfare,
As it brings about an inner transformation in them…

–Swami Tejomayananda