Following allegations last week that Oracle is changing the cost structure of MySQL and pushing subscriptions for customers sky-high, former MySQL executive and community guy Kaj ArnÃ¶ has dramatically changed plans and is now joining startup SkySQL to capitalise on customer dissatisfaction with the MySQL price hike.
In a blog post last week ArnÃ¶, one of the last of the MySQL leadership team still at Oracle, disclosed he had actually quit three months ago and completed his notice period last Friday. He said he was planning to spend his time relaxing and travelling. But I can exclusively reveal that, in a surprise decision today, ArnÃ¶ announced he was joining SkySQL as "EVP Products", a senior leadership role spanning marketing and products.
SkySQL, formed in July, offers product subscriptions, training and consulting around both Oracle's MySQL product and the community-maintained fork MariaDB. It is pretty much the former technology management of MySQL AB in exile. According to ArnÃ¶:
"Behind SkySQL Ab is a set of top people: founders, executives, and experts who all were colleagues during MySQL AB times."
Indeed, the line-up he goes on to list is impressive - even including MySQL founders Monty Widenius and David Axmark as investors.
You can only buy the copyright to an open source project, not the lives of its experts or the wallets of its customers. While Oracle has proudly boasted that if any open source project gets popular they "will simply take it", the reality is that the changes they are making to MySQL are potentially leaving many smaller customers without an affordable option. If ArnÃ¶ delivers on the opportunity he's staking out, there could be yet another rich business opportunity in MySQL.