Why is Sun buying MySQL?

It looks like Sun’s Jonathan Schwartz is planning to build a fully-fledged software business around open source software.

With Java, Solaris and its middleware products and development tools Sun has been slowly courting the open source community. MySQL has a significant user base and its customer-list includes among the biggest names on the Internet.

With this $1 billion acquisition Sun is starting to establish itself as a major open source company, joining the ranks of HP and, of course, IBM.

It’s hard to predict if this is good news for MySQL users. Judging from the 100m downloads, they seem pretty happy with the open source approach. Let’s hope Sun doesn’t change that.

Sun’s existing customers could be better of, but only if Schwartz can succeed in changing the culture of the company from a hardware innovator to an enterprise software company.