Subject: Re: Great Bridge closes.
From: Keith Bostic <bostic@sleepycat.com>
Date: Fri, 7 Sep 2001 14:22:43 -0400 (EDT)

> Inasmuch as there is a free software angle, I think it is that because
> Postgres is free software, it was very easy for Red Hat to step into
> the business and become a direct competitor.  According to the CNET
> article, Red Hat started by trying to buy Great Bridge, but the offer
> was considered by the Great Bridge folks to be too low.  Events may
> have just shown that Red Hat's offer was a reasonable estimate of the
> Great Bridge's real worth in the market.

I agree this is the interesting angle; for example, RedHat could have
done exactly what it did to drive the cost of buying Great Bridge down.
(The Great Bridge press announcement discussed placing the Great Bridge
engineers with RedHat -- the end result in this case was the same as if
RedHat had bought Great Bridge, other than that Great Bridge didn't get
any money.)

The same moves could have been used to kill Great Bridge and possibly
Postgres.  Imagine Oracle making the exact same announcements as RedHat:
"We're going to invest in Open Source; Postgres is a good, low-end
complement to our commercial offerings -- we're hiring lots of the core
developers, etc.".  The result would have been the same: Great Bridge
dies.  And Oracle could have easily delayed product releases, created
release incompatibility, and seriously confused the community only to
retire the product in 18 months.

Frankly, Postgres isn't a big enough threat to make the effort worth
Oracle's time -- but based on Oracle's dumpster-diving tactics, I
believe they'd eagerly do so if it would damage Microsoft.

We emphasize advantages Open Source companies have over proprietary
companies -- we neglect to mention the vulnerabilities Open Source
companies have not shared by our proprietary brethren.

Whenever negative actions (forking the source code base, etc.) are
discussed, the convention FSB wisdom is that "it's not a problem, it's
never happened".  I submit it's never happened because there's never
yet been enough money in Open Source to make it worth someone's time.

--keith

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Keith Bostic
Sleepycat Software Inc.		bostic@sleepycat.com
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