Can business take open source seriously?

I was speaking to Marten Mickos, chief executive officer of MySQL last week about open source and the enterprise.

Can businesses take open source seriously? A database like MySQL is often a major component of a software infrastructure.

What’s interesting from speaking to Mickos is that MySQL is being used in large-scale enterprise system. It’s behind the advertising engine on Google and MySQL powers FaceBook.

There are some 50,000 downloads of MySQL per day, and for Mickos, success of the product has grown from a grassroots movement: developers like using it.

But things are changing and MySQL is now in companies that traditionally run software from the big three: IBM, Microsoft and Oracle. It’s not replacing the commercial software, but is being used for web applications, where, according to Mickos, MySQL is able to cope quite easily with the high transaction rates that can occur on busy e-commerce sites like craigslist.

For Mickos, open source is not a religion. It is, he believes, a superior approach to creating software.