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MySQL Hits $50 Million Revenue, Plans IPO

samzenpus posted more than 6 years ago | from the they-grow-up-so-fast dept.

Businesses 124

An anonymous coward writes "MySQL, purveyor of the open-source database of the same name, is on the road to becoming a publicly traded company, bolstered by $50 million in revenue in 2006. "It's still in the pipeline," Chief Executive Marten Mickos said of the plan to hold an initial public offering of his company's stock. He declined to discuss when the company planned to go public, but said, "We're making good progress, doing all the things we need to get done.""

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124 comments

Capitalists = Evil (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18880193)

Does that mean we have to hate them since they're making money off an open source project, or is that good, so we only hate capitalists who make real products vice software and services.

Re:Capitalists = Evil (5, Insightful)

neoform (551705) | more than 6 years ago | (#18880235)

They're the happy medium. They give away their product for free, but if you want the extras (support) you gotta pay. I'm happy with that, as I'm sure most people are.

Programmers gotta pay the rent you know..

Re:Capitalists = Evil (5, Insightful)

badboy_tw2002 (524611) | more than 6 years ago | (#18880285)

Hell, even if they sell the software I'm happy if they give me the source. Open source != free.

Re:Capitalists = Evil (0)

drsmithy (35869) | more than 6 years ago | (#18881535)

Hell, even if they sell the software I'm happy if they give me the source. Open source != free.

Indeed. The relationship is more like: Open source -> free.

Re:Capitalists = Evil (3, Insightful)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 6 years ago | (#18880333)

Concur wholeheartedly. We're not in a utopia; OSS has to pay the bandwidth bills somehow. If all there was was OSS, then we couldn't get by on the good graces of companies since people wouldn't be paying for code, thus coders wouldn't be able to pay to host the servers or the bandwidth for that code.

Plus, if they're making money through support, that means there are people, and more importantly companies, willing to put their faith in OSS. That's major, really.

Re:Capitalists = Evil (5, Insightful)

shaitand (626655) | more than 6 years ago | (#18880767)

'If all there was was OSS,'

No. If nobody was being paid to code or profiting from open source software that would be true. Selling closed source software is not the only way to profit from software. IBM hosts OSS, codes OSS, and makes a boatload of cash on OSS. The same is true of many companies. Most programmers work on in-house applications, the idea that companies like Microsoft are where programmers get their bread is a myth.

More open source software means more companies have a greater potential to make money since they have the source code to make applications run in a way that is tailored to them. That opportunity existing means that more companies would take advantage of it and that my friend means more jobs for programmers.

Re:Capitalists = Evil (2, Interesting)

Luscious868 (679143) | more than 6 years ago | (#18883377)

More open source software means more companies have a greater potential to make money since they have the source code to make applications run in a way that is tailored to them. That opportunity existing means that more companies would take advantage of it and that my friend means more jobs for programmers.

Exactly! I'm living a real world example. The company I work for re-sells an accounting package tailored to the construction industry. We sell, train and do support for the product and we also work as an integrator developing client specific add-ons software that works with the product. The product itself was fairly good when it was introduced in the late 90's and there was a real boom during the run up to 2000 when companies dumped their legacy systems to move to Y2K compliant, Windows based software. As a result the vendor who created it kept being bought out by other larger and larger companies and resources kept being redirected from development until all that was left of the development staff was a couple of programmers kept on for maintenance purposes and it became clear the focus was riding the maintenance base for as long as possible on not on continued product development.

Basically no serious new development was happening or had happened for several years and the resellers were finding it harder and harder to make new sales. My company had a bit of sway since we were and still are consistently the best reseller in the country. We shifted from a sales and training operation to a support and consulting operation. Because the database back end was MS SQL Server we were and still are able to develop our own applications that could integrate with the base accounting package and we could work with third party companies to integrate their software with the base accounting package and as a result we were still able to sell the accounting software by showcasing all of the additional functionality brought about by the additional packages we had created and/or integrated. We were able to offer features above and beyond what most other software packages offered, even if the base accounting package was a bit cumbersome and out dated.

Almost two years ago a private equity firm bought out what had become the publicly traded company that owned the software in question and after deciding that there was more revenue to be made from the accounting package they put some competent managers in place. During our first meeting with them we showed them all of the software that we had developed in house and demonstrated all of the third party packages that we had integrated and told them that they were crazy not to open source the product to resellers so that we could extend the functionality of the package. We told them that as part of the license they could insist that we make any changes available to them so that they could include anything that was good in their original source code base to improve the program and increase sales revenue.

They were legitimately concerned about having to provide support for code they didn't write if a reseller who made changes went out of business but we explained to them that we would only make changes at a clients request and that we would be very upfront with the client and let them know that any changes we made wouldn't be supported by the original vendor, only by the us, and that we would work hand in hand with the development staff to make sure that any changes we made were understood by the development staff and that we'd work with them to integrate the changes into their code base to make it a part of the original package. After going over everything with their legal department the vendor in question finally agreed to try a pilot program with us and it's been a huge success! Within a year they opened to source code to all resellers with a development staff who had been resellers for three or more years.

Even though the software that we sell isn't the best package out their in terms of user interface, it's come a long way since the vendor opened the source code to it's resellers. There are only a few of us in the country with a development staff and the experience with the database to be able to make modifications, and the result as been that the vendor has only had to add a few developers and the product is still growing at a rapid pace and since the new features that are being added are done so at the client's request instead of being the brain children of developers who are twice removed from the people who actually use the product, we've got a ton of features in there now that other products on the market either don't have, or don't have implemented in fashion that makes them as useful to the end users as we have.

Opening the source code to resellers has allowed the vendor to increase it's sales revenue and enhance the product without having to commit much in terms of additional resources. They've only added a few new full time programmers to help and work changes in the source code back into the original code base and to help overhaul the user interface. All in all it's been a win, win for everybody involved.

We've effectively doubled the sales, support and programming staff in house in the last year and none of it would have been possible if the vendor in question wouldn't have open up the source code to us. Sales for the vendor in question have improved dramatically as well. Everything that those of us with the source have done is available to the company and to other resellers in other territories. I don't understand why more vendors who are in the "ride the maintenance base" mode don't do the same thing. The worst that can happen is that there are no more sales and the maintenance base eventually dries up, but that's already the path these vendors are on to begin with. Open source seems like a no brainier for vendors in these situations.

give me reasons to mysql over postgres (1)

cytg.net (912690) | more than 6 years ago | (#18883023)

give me reasons to do mysql over postgres! i've fiddled with both and found postgres to 1. have more features 2. better error reporting 3. better usability but thats just me.. what's your experience? what incentive would be the driving force behind choosing mysql over postgres ?

Re:Capitalists = Evil (1)

symbolic (11752) | more than 6 years ago | (#18883647)

That "most people" may not include stockholders. I think it will be quite interesting to see how investors and any board members take to the fact that not *everything* associated with the company's business plan is slated to produce revenue.

Mickos? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18880435)

Sounds like a Jew name to me. Fuck the hook-nosed bastard and the bagel he rode in on. If I wanted lox and gefilte in my software I'd subscribe to the Bilderbergs' RSS feed. Thieving kikes...

Re:Mickos? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18880577)

Nice try! Mr. Mickos is Finnish.

Re:Capitalists = Evil (2, Interesting)

Joohn (310344) | more than 6 years ago | (#18882289)

Making money is fine, but they are taking advantage of the fact that people think it's more "free" than it really is. A typical example would be someone starting a new company, deciding to use MySQL "beacuse it's free, everybody knows that!". When they've finished implementing their software and feel ready to start sell they realize that they need to purchase a licence to distribute MySQL along with their own software, and face the choice of rewriting their software, throwing tons of work out the window, or simpy pay for the licence. The way I see it, this is by far the most important difference between MySQL and PostgreSQL.

Re:Capitalists = Evil (1)

Skater (41976) | more than 6 years ago | (#18883075)

So this mythical company wouldn't read the software license before investing thousands of dollars? And I'm supposed to feel bad for them? Frankly if they can't even read the license, I'm not sure I'd want their software - they're obviously not thinking through everything, and I'd wonder if their software is the same way.

By the same token, they could just as easily use PostgreSQL then realize that they might have to distribute source code of their product, which they hadn't originally intended to do.

Re:Capitalists = Evil (1)

Joohn (310344) | more than 6 years ago | (#18883305)

I'm talking about small one-man companies where the programmer starts writing the software before the company is actually founded, not interested in reading licenses and maybe not even with a clear goal to start a company. I was in this position myself, I had heard all good about MySQL and that it's was a safe bet if you wanted something free to use. I found out about the licenses at an early stage though, and I never started the company (big surprise). I've also talked to several people with intentions of starting businesses, using MySQL. And everytime I ask if they've heard about the licences, they say "What, I thought it was completely free?".

I'm not saying it is wise to start a company without doing research about licenses, but this is how people work, they trust the rumours. And MySQL is taking advantage of this, getting good reputation and extra license fees.

Re:Capitalists = Evil (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 6 years ago | (#18883595)

not interested in reading licenses and maybe not even with a clear goal to start a company. I was in this position myself

      Funny, I use MySQL in my company (population 1) in some software I wrote to keep track of customers, and I HAVE read the license(s).

Re:Capitalists = Evil (1)

Skater (41976) | more than 6 years ago | (#18883621)

First, why wouldn't you write the software so that it can use any database, instead of forcing MySQL? That always bugs me about ...well, a lot of apps. It's a little more work up front but would insulate you from plenty of problems (like this one) quite effectively.

MySQL has never hidden their license fees, either. Sorry they can't provide you with totally free software, but they have to eat, too.

Re:Capitalists = Evil (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18882405)

Whenever you see an "Open Source" project getting millions of dollars, you should be very suspicious.

There are some folks with billions of dollars who really don't mind giving away a few hundred in order to flag our other products. For example, in the case of MySQL, Oracle takes the Enterprise division and MySQL the hobbist division. Postgress, which is the product that could threaten Oracle dies from starvation.

Why doesn't gcc take such funding? Isn't it a useful project? What about kde, qemu, mplayer, valgrind and konqueror?

Also, if a project gets so much money (we are not talking about "pay the rent here", you can pay the rent with $50K), you can bet your ass that it has a draconian board of directors that are very sensitive about the interests of their funder. For example, Google-Mozilla-Doubleclick-Ads. Just think about it man.

Re:Capitalists = Evil (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 6 years ago | (#18883017)

No you have it wrong.

The problem is when a company becomes publically traded they begine to ignore everything the founders and management set up to create that success. They start to become ran by the accountants and only serve the shareholders.

Piss off our entire customer base but increase profits this quarter by 34%? Let's do it! Lay off the entire engineering force to make the books look good for the last quarter of the year? Let's do it!

publically traded companies spiral into a crappy company fast. it's all about the shareholders and nothing about making a good product and sticking to what the company believes in.

Re:Capitalists = Evil (1)

PinkPanther (42194) | more than 6 years ago | (#18884415)

publically traded companies spiral into a crappy company fast. it's all about the shareholders and nothing about making a good product and sticking to what the company believes in.

The situation you describe is about short sightedness, such as your gut reaction to the concept of a company going public.

Badly run companies behave as you describe above. But the majority of companies that are listed on Wall/Bay Streets (eh?) for more than a few years are typically well run organizations. The fact that you are constantly bombarded by CNN with "failures" does not mean that the majority of public companies are failing. The economies in the north-western hemisphere are, believe it or not, strong and still growing.

Being one, I can say that shareholders of companies are not looking for the "quick buck". We want sustained long-term growth. The vast majority of investors do. Moving money around is expensive; jumping ships is risky. Intelligent investors want to find a strong pony and ride is it strong all the way around the track, not just get to the turn first.

Yes, there are examples of failed companies due to short sightedness. Yes you see a mob of screaming traders on the floor each day on CNN. But the vast majority of investment dollars is slow moving and methodically invested. Don't let the odd story that headlines for months on end blind you to the fact that there has only been ONE Enron; yes, there are a couple of other examples you likely can rhyme off, but the headlines don't showcase the bulk of the bell curves in the business world (or, for that matter, in any news category...)

So much for them. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18880203)

We all know what happens when something goes public. Straight down the the tubes. I guess it's time to find a replacement...

Re:So much for them. (1)

cbreaker (561297) | more than 6 years ago | (#18880301)

That's a load of shit. Turning into a publicly traded corporation can help infuse the company with they money needed to improve their product, and can bring accountability to management for making terrible decisions.

There's no evidence to say that turning public is bad for a company.

Re:So much for them. (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18880481)

I call B-S. Shifting to a public company means they have to meet the quarter by quarter growth demanded by Wall Street. I've watched small companies with similar revenues get destroyed by this. It also means if they float too much stock, they're fair game for acquisition. Call this a liquidity event to repay early investors, nothing more.

Re:So much for them. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18880503)

Nigger.

Re:So much for them. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18880597)

wow. that really... yeah.

Re:So much for them. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18883923)

Too much time on your hands now Imus?

Re:So much for them. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18880713)

ever worked for a publicly traded company? i do. everything is about the shareholders and paying them dividens, and proping up the share price so upper managment can retire early.

if anyone is forced to bend over and take it, it's the workers, and the workers are who make your products. If managment work it well, the extra cash can build the business and employ smarter peopel and produce happier workers, which means a better product. if they don't, it goes down hill VERY fast.

Re:So much for them. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18881047)

When a company goes public, they effectively sell it to a bunch of gamblers who have no interest in it at all exceot to maximise their profit. The shareholders will decide that there is more money to be made by squeezing the MySQL users in some way. If there is a legal way, and the company doesn't do it, the shareholders can sue.

So I agree, it will be the end of MySQL as an interesting product.

Re:So much for them. (2, Insightful)

dosboot (973832) | more than 6 years ago | (#18881103)

Going public does mean that a company's boss is no longer a person, it is a board of directors. An original founder running the show can give a company it's soul and he can force the company to put the customer's best interests ahead of profits. A board of directors is almost invariably more cold and calculating. They'll just as easily fire the founder if it will avoid some public embarrassment over a minor setback or scandal.

Re:So much for them. (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 6 years ago | (#18883535)

Going public does mean that a company's boss is no longer a person, it is a board of directors.

      I don't see your point: This is true of any CORPORATION, both public and private, except those one-person one shareholder corporations that primarily exist for liability limitation/income tax reduction.

Re:So much for them. (1)

Bastard of Subhumani (827601) | more than 6 years ago | (#18882103)

Turning into a publicly traded corporation can help infuse the company with they money needed to improve their product
Is in 1999 again?

Check into this stock. This is not a pump-and-dump (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18880249)

The NYSE symbol is MyDIK. You can pump and dump this stock all you want. It has more uptime than MySQL.

That's Funny+Redhat had only 24 million in revenue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18881689)

That's Funny + Redhat had only 24 million in revenue but then since RH is already public, they can't just pull a number out of the air like these guys have.

interesting timing for an IPO (5, Insightful)

ushering05401 (1086795) | more than 6 years ago | (#18880269)

I wonder if Google is planning to leverage MySQL in a proxy warfare type scenario vs. M$.

The contention between the two giants has been heating up, and MySQL is steadily gaining ground on SQL Server for marketshare.

Couple that with Google's recent contributions to the MySQL project and statements by one of thier engineer's (Callahan?) that they would continue to enhance the DB & pump the code back into the community... focusing on stability, recovery, and fine tuning code.

Looks like Google could be contending with M$ on at least three fronts soon counting search, office, & now DB's through MySQL.

I want to see them rumble. The timing of this IPO is very interesting.

Regards.

Re:interesting timing for an IPO (5, Informative)

martenmickos (467191) | more than 6 years ago | (#18880575)


Thanks everyone for the comments! Let me first note that there was no specific news item in the article referred to at the top. We have had plans for IPO for several years. We don't see an IPO as an end-goal, but as a natural step in the evolution and growth of MySQL.
 
As many of you will know, when a company brings in venture capital (VC) as we did 6 years ago, you essentially set a plan to either be acquired or go public (IPO) after some time. We think that MySQL is a great business and one that can and should be independent and do an IPO at some point.
 
We share a passion for open source business - i.e. a passion to demonstrate what great businesses you can build on open source. And we want to provide the best database developers with great rewards: the good feeling of producing a product that changes the world, and the financial reward that comes with business success.
 
We have numerous users and customers ask us about buying MySQL stock. Today we are privately held and there are no shares for sale, but once we go public anyone can buy shares in our company. And being a public company we will have more strength to grow, to hire more great developers, and to serve new customers.
 
Does this make sense to you? It does to us.
 
Marten Mickos, CEO, MySQL AB

Re:interesting timing for an IPO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18880815)

Good luck to you. Seriously.

And thanks for a great piece of software. Looking forward for even better :)

Anonymous User

Re:interesting timing for an IPO (2, Interesting)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 6 years ago | (#18880831)

How will you deal with the the business aspects that come into play when a company goes public that we geeks fear; things like being bought out by "more evil" companies?

Re:interesting timing for an IPO (5, Informative)

martenmickos (467191) | more than 6 years ago | (#18880927)


Here is my quick view of risks with going public, and how we are dealing with them:

Risk of being bought out. - The best protection against this is fast growth. If a company doesn't grow, then it is at risk of being bought no matter whether it is private or public, large or small. (So if you want to contribute to us - then refer us to as many paying customers as you can!)

Risk of company culture becoming too corporate-like. - We try to avoid this by being very focused on cultivating our unique values. We add more structure and more procedures all the time, but we also try to stay free from bureaucracy and we always encourage our employees to make bold decisions.

Risk of openness being at risk as a public company. - We make sure that all our investors (current and future) understand that the freedom of our software is vital to the success of MySQL. We also try to be open about everything else: bugs, plans, events, etc. But here we also know there will be something of a difference when going public: we will have to abide strictly by SEC rules and not disclose financial or other vital business information in any other way than publicly to everyone at given points in time.

Feel free to list more risks and I will be happy to address them.

Marten

Re:interesting timing for an IPO (2, Interesting)

yintercept (517362) | more than 6 years ago | (#18881501)

On the comments about timing ... ah, it seems that companies want to go public when the market is going up... Rarely does a company want to go public right after a crash. Financial events often coincide because people make decisions based on financial stimulus.

I like the idea of an open sourced company being publicly owned. I have to admit, my fears are that the bureaucratic mindset that dominates the insurance companies and mutual funds that own this world will force another great company into mediocrity of the financial borg.

Risk of being bought out. - The best protection against this is fast growth.

I've seen a lot of fast growing companies get gobbled up. Often companies want to merge because they think their existing structure can't keep up with the pace of the growth. I guess it is also common for companies to seek a merger when the market expectation of their growth outpaces reality (I won't go into that).

I am just sad that going public seems to be prelude of a tragedy of another great company being sucked into the merger game.

This world really needs ways for companies to be publicly owned yet remain independent. The two ideas are

Re:interesting timing for an IPO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18881739)

Sorry. It really hurts me to see a good guy from a good company doing a PR job that basically makes him look naive.

We've seen it over and over and over and over again. The pattern never changes.

In a few years MySQL will be YourSQL, it will be a money circus beset with litigation, patent assertions, tiered products that make
second class users out of the poorest and greedy, grubbing shareholders who have no interest in, or knowledge of, quality software
running the show.

And the real tragedy is that I bet the majority of those in the project are against this.

Goodbye MySQL, it was fun while it lasted.

Re:interesting timing for an IPO (1)

alienmole (15522) | more than 6 years ago | (#18883915)

It seems to me that on the buyout risk issue, MySQL would be a pretty strategic acquisition for a number of companies that could afford to buy it without really blinking, so do you really think that fast growth will protect you from that? Besides, fast growth brings its own set of problems.

I wish you luck with this, but I have to say my experience with RedHat soured me on this sort of thing. They basically did everything they legally could to make their source effectively inaccessible to users that hadn't paid quite a substantial amount for a license, offering up Fedora as a sop to the open source/free software community, Whether deliberately or not, Fedora sucked in various ways. I don't know if it still does, because I and my clients switched to Debian.

So I have to say that there's part of me that thinks I may as well start preparing to switch to PostgreSQL now. I'll be rooting for you to prove that part of me wrong!

Re:interesting timing for an IPO (2, Insightful)

ushering05401 (1086795) | more than 6 years ago | (#18880833)

It seems like a good amount of concern about gong public revolves around shifting control.

Are there any business practices that you guys avoid that might be more difficult to avoid after going public?

Egregious VaporWare (or at least totally premature) announcements occur to me as a stockholder appeasing move that a lot of public companies make. Any opinion on this?

Regards and good luck.

Re:interesting timing for an IPO (2, Interesting)

shaitand (626655) | more than 6 years ago | (#18880873)

As a public company you will have to answer to the typical pump and dump investor that typically buys publicly traded stock. These people favor moves that yield increased stock price over long term strategies that result in both a stronger company and a stronger product. How do you intend to avoid this change?

As a publicly traded company, how would you avoid a hostile takeover by a company like Oracle who has the means to buy a controlling share of the stock?

'As many of you will know, when a company brings in venture capital (VC) as we did 6 years ago, you essentially set a plan to either be acquired or go public (IPO) after some time.'

Being acquired and going public are both things that bring a nice return for investors. There is nothing wrong with that in itself. But is that quick return coming at the expense of the entity that is MySQL or worse, the application itself?

Re:interesting timing for an IPO (5, Informative)

martenmickos (467191) | more than 6 years ago | (#18881001)


For part of your questions, see my response to another question on this thread:
http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=232285&thresho ld=0&commentsort=0&mode=thread&pid=18880831#188809 27 [slashdot.org]

And here comes more risk analysis:

Risk of "pump and dump" investors driving MySQL strategy in the wrong direction. - Naturally a company will have to follow the instructions from its shareholders, but we believe that we have and will have strong and long-term investors who understand the value of strategic resilience. These investors will encourage us to invest in what gives the best value over time.

Risk of quick return to investors negatively affecting the MySQL entity or application. - I actually believe the opposite - that a successful IPO for MySQL will give us a boost in innovation and development. I believe that as a public company MySQL would attract even more innovative partners and brilliant employees.

Marten

P.S. I can of course be wrong in my risk assessments here and in other responses on this thread. That's why I post them for all of you to read - in the hope that you will provide your feedback and suggestions.

Re:interesting timing for an IPO (4, Interesting)

shaitand (626655) | more than 6 years ago | (#18881351)

Thank you for responding. The fact that you are engaging in an open communication with the community like this is probably a greater comfort than the actual answers you give. That said, I have always been good at poking holes in debates.

'Risk of being bought out. - The best protection against this is fast growth. If a company doesn't grow, then it is at risk of being bought no matter whether it is private or public, large or small. (So if you want to contribute to us - then refer us to as many paying customers as you can!)'

That certainly makes sense. Is there any assurance that such growth will occur? Is there more to this move than a spin of the roulette wheel coupled with a great deal of optimism about the outcome?

Oracle already knows they want to purchase MySQL. Is there any way to protect the company if they move to make that purchase right away without giving the company a chance to grow?

'Risk of company culture becoming too corporate-like. - We try to avoid this by being very focused on cultivating our unique values. We add more structure and more procedures all the time, but we also try to stay free from bureaucracy and we always encourage our employees to make bold decisions.'

I can't really poke a hole in that. But would like to remind you; Google had a 'do no evil' policy as well. That policy and greed battled within the company and in the end, greed won.

'Risk of openness being at risk as a public company. - We make sure that all our investors (current and future) understand that the freedom of our software is vital to the success of MySQL. We also try to be open about everything else: bugs, plans, events, etc. But here we also know there will be something of a difference when going public: we will have to abide strictly by SEC rules and not disclose financial or other vital business information in any other way than publicly to everyone at given points in time.'

Do you mean to suggest that bug reports and other things that concern the community will only be released in SEC filings? Surely not, companies release information that concerns their business through the press and other outlets all the time.

'Risk of "pump and dump" investors driving MySQL strategy in the wrong direction. - Naturally a company will have to follow the instructions from its shareholders, but we believe that we have and will have strong and long-term investors who understand the value of strategic resilience. These investors will encourage us to invest in what gives the best value over time.'

Isn't this nothing but pure optimism? Anyone can purchase the stock. Are MySQL public stockholders likely to share the same characteristics as the stockholders of most companies?

'Risk of quick return to investors negatively affecting the MySQL entity or application. - I actually believe the opposite - that a successful IPO for MySQL will give us a boost in innovation and development. I believe that as a public company MySQL would attract even more innovative partners and brilliant employees.'

Don't many of those investors play key roles in MySQL today? Isn't there a good chance that many of those individuals will use this as an opportunity to cash in? Also, increased financial resources does not equate to superior results. Microsoft is probably the most typical example of this.

'P.S. I can of course be wrong in my risk assessments here and in other responses on this thread. That's why I post them for all of you to read - in the hope that you will provide your feedback and suggestions.'

Good luck Mark. I'm sure having you at the helm of the company gives everyone comfort, I know it gives me comfort. I wish you and MySQL the best and hope going public works out for you.

Re:interesting timing for an IPO (1)

Ngarrang (1023425) | more than 6 years ago | (#18883205)

Risk of "pump and dump" investors driving MySQL strategy in the wrong direction. - Naturally a company will have to follow the instructions from its shareholders, but we believe that we have and will have strong and long-term investors who understand the value of strategic resilience. These investors will encourage us to invest in what gives the best value over time.

Shareholders not employed the company rarely have anything but dollar signs in their eyes and only care about their own short-term gains. I have watched a lot of tech companies go public since 1990 and many of them are gone now. Bought out, sold out, sued out of business, or mis-managed by chief's who's only concern is their own wallets. And when that happened each time, only the chief's escaped with any money, leaving the employees with nothing but a resume entry.

Without using management-speak, please explain to me how MySQL hopes to escape my sense of stock market nihilism? When the stock holders began to demand short-term gain that will strangle long-term development, what will be ther answer?

For the record, I see the stock market as an evil place, that has destroyed far more companies and lives than it has helped. I have seen little evidence in the last 16 years to dissuade me from this view.

Re:interesting timing for an IPO (1)

Comatose51 (687974) | more than 6 years ago | (#18880951)

How do you view the risk of Oracle buying you out? It seems that they bought InnoDB to fight the growth of MySQL since it takes MySQL one step closer to enterprise level DB. With the IPO, they could just buy you guys outright and put an end to a large part of the open source DB threat. I guess in that case we can always fork...

Best of luck! You guys are amazing.

Re:interesting timing for an IPO (4, Funny)

ronanbear (924575) | more than 6 years ago | (#18882389)

1. Get taken over by Oracle
2. Profit
3. Fork MySQL
4. ???
5. Profit (again)

Sounds good to me

Re:interesting timing for an IPO (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 6 years ago | (#18881197)

Why would anybody want to IPO?

In practice it does two things:

1. Temporarily boost financial resources.
2. Lose all control over your own company.

The financial boost is nice, but rarely necessary and I assume most people care about the company they built and wish to have it's values and culture remain intact.

Re:interesting timing for an IPO (5, Interesting)

martenmickos (467191) | more than 6 years ago | (#18881251)


I must say I disagree with your analysis of IPO. But let's first back up. It was in 2001 that the founders of MySQL decided to get venture capital on board and to go for business growth and an IPO or an acquisition in the future. I don't know if you were around back then, but that would have been the right time to ask why the founders wanted an IPO.

Then to your analysis. I believe that an IPO has the opportunity to boost your financial resources for a very long time. I also believe that you don't have to lose control over your company. Control is lost (in my mind) if and when a company stops to grow - no matter whether the company is public or private. Even if you own all of a private company - if it does not grow then you don't have too many options as to how to run it. So although you may not have lost control to another shareholder, you have essentially lost control to the circumstances.

And then there are other benefits of IPO. It gives you a currency for making acqusitions. It gives you exposure and typically add to your credibility among conservative customers. And it can be highly inspirational for the employees.

Make sense?

Marten

Re:interesting timing for an IPO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18882181)

acquisitions? *scratches chin* who might you plan on acquiring?

Re:interesting timing for an IPO (1)

chthon (580889) | more than 6 years ago | (#18882327)

Isn't the problem with growth, that eventually you will reach a ceiling, unless you are able to drive out competitors, in which case you become a monopoly ?

Re:interesting timing for an IPO (2)

martenmickos (467191) | more than 6 years ago | (#18883627)


Thank you for assuming that we will reach that level!
 
Seriously, sure that can be an issue, but getting there takes 20-30 years in the software industry. In the meantime the world will evolve and there will be some new entrepreneur with a revolutionary way to manage data, and that will be the growth story, and whoever is the huge leader at the time will have to deal with this.
 
Marten

Re:interesting timing for an IPO (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 6 years ago | (#18882707)

Control is lost (in my mind) if and when a company stops to grow - no matter whether the company is public or private.
Then you're either using a different definition of 'control' to everyone else, or you're waffling.

Even if you own all of a private company - if it does not grow then you don't have too many options as to how to run it.
If you own 51% of the company, you have the same amount of control whether its [revenues|market share|any other measure] doubled, stayed the same or fell by 25%.

Re:interesting timing for an IPO (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 6 years ago | (#18883477)

If you own 51% of the company, you have the same amount of control

It's 50% plus 1 share, not 51%. In a publicly traded company with potentially billions of shares, it makes a HUGE difference.

Re:interesting timing for an IPO (1)

Bloke down the pub (861787) | more than 6 years ago | (#18883757)

It's 50% plus 1 share, not 51%.
Unless the company has less than a hundred shares, won't 51% be more than 50% plus one?

36% growth in Mac sales? The Mac is SO over. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18880777)

You will have to forgive me. My definition of PC user has expanded in the past couple of years from big-haired douchebags from Wintel who trolled Tekserve at night trying to get through Crystal Quest or Inside Macintosh. (Ahh, the '80s.) I now use "PC user" as a general term to describe the wannabes who exhibit an attitude of "Yeah, we cool. We're Mac users," when they are clearly from some other part of the universe.

However, to prevent further confusion from the teeming masses, I will use the term poseur. Or in this case, switcheurs. These are the dunderheads who proclaim their trendiness because they use a Mac even though they were probably maximizing their windows until last week.

They try to act counterculture by making comments about good taste and how everything is beige, and think of themselves as nonconformists, which is laughable since all they are doing is conforming to another lifestyle.

What is really pathetic is when these expatriates proclaim their love for their adopted platform. When I hear it I cringe and automatically think of that Daphna Kalfon song "I Love My Mac [ilovemymacthesong.com]." Not that there is anything wrong with Daphna.

That phrase, coming from a switcheur, reeks of such vomit-inducing pretension. You think you are cooler than the rest of the world because you've been to the Apple store? Because of your zero-button mouse? Because of the fact that you have to manually sort the Desktop upon failing (inevitably) to understand the Mac's right-handed icon arrangement? Where I come from, this is called "trying too hard."

The Mac platform today is ground zero for the switcheur epidemic, which means more tourists and more expatriates moving in. It has become way too mainstream and too damn self-congratulatory to live here. And with more corporate giants moving in, the Mac is so ovah.

Re:interesting timing for an IPO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18880935)

You're seriously deluded if you believe MySQL comes even close to competing against Microsoft's latest version of SQL Server.

Re:interesting timing for an IPO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18881397)

"The contention between the two giants has been heating up, and MySQL is steadily gaining ground on SQL Server for marketshare."

What a load of crap. Why not mention all of the other database players in this space? Oh that's right I forgot you were a Microsoft hater. You might wanna put a bandaide on those Open Sores before they get infected.

Re:interesting timing for an IPO (1)

Bastard of Subhumani (827601) | more than 6 years ago | (#18882115)

I wonder if Google is planning to leverage MySQL in a proxy warfare type scenario vs. M$.
No way. Google are smart. Very smart. Some of their people have degrees I can't even spell. If that were their strategy, they'd have gone with Postgresql.

Oh no... (4, Interesting)

C_Kode (102755) | more than 6 years ago | (#18880311)

Mickos said. "And by going public you get the currency to do acquisitions."

I don't like that. I like MySQL for what it is. Not what is can do with cash or depending on stockholders approval...

Re:Oh no... (5, Insightful)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 6 years ago | (#18880393)

Maybe if they were a public company with some cash they would have been be the ones to buy InnoDB, instead of Oracle.

Re:Oh no... (1, Insightful)

Omnifarious (11933) | more than 6 years ago | (#18880511)

This makes me all jittery too. I have very little trust of public companies. I think the laws surrounding them are in need of even more serious reform than they've gotten so far (SOX and HIPPA being examples of laws that bring back some accountability).

But, the other person to reply made a really good point about InnoDB. This may not be all bad. And realistically, if it turns bad MySQL can be forked.

Re:Oh no... (1, Insightful)

Valar (167606) | more than 6 years ago | (#18880733)

Hate to break it to you, but MySQL is already run by stockholders... just because it isn't _publically_ traded doesn't mean their aren't owners who control have an equity stake. Those owners had the same interest in enhancing the company's revenues as purchasers of stock would. And since realistically the public stock holders don't control day to day operations (i.e. engineering), I doubt you'll see a drop in product quality just because all of the sudden you can buy stock in the company.

Re:Oh no... (3, Insightful)

Omnifarious (11933) | more than 6 years ago | (#18881125)

There's something about the diffusion of responsbility involved in a company being public that tends to cause such companies to become inordinately rapacious and evil. All the decision makers can point to the fact that they're 'morally' obligated to do whatever it takes for the company to make as much as it can for stockholders. And the stockholders have a really hard time getting together to tell the company that some actions are just too far.

But when the number of stockholders is smaller and known, their sense of personal responsibility and morality can be appealed to, and they're more likely to pay attention to it regardless.

Re:Oh no... (2, Informative)

Bastard of Subhumani (827601) | more than 6 years ago | (#18882655)

There's a world of difference. In a private company, the stock isn't publicly tradeable. This single fact is enough to strongly deter pump-and-dump and other forms of short-term thinking.

worrying (4, Interesting)

f1055man (951955) | more than 6 years ago | (#18880373)

This worries me. I don't think the street's interests match up with open source communities or the private companies that make a living off of them. The street likes bold moves for short term gains. OSS demands slow(usually) organic growth and consensus building. A MySQL controlled by arms-length investors might throw an error, how will Mickos catch?

This http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/archives/000842.h tml [codinghorror.com] comes to mind.

If they offer a second class of shares(dividends but no voice) then maybe it will work, but I'm not sure there's a point in it.

Re:worrying (4, Insightful)

femto (459605) | more than 6 years ago | (#18880429)

That's the beauty of free software. If MySQL goes bad the codebase will be forked and another project will rise to take its place. It will be interesting to see what the MySQL prospectus will have to say to investors about this risk.

Good luck to MySQL. I hope they make a go of it, get rich, and don't shoot themselves in the foot by causing a code fork.

Re:worrying (3, Insightful)

venicebeach (702856) | more than 6 years ago | (#18880621)

Red Hat stock [yahoo.com] seems to be doing ok...

Re:worrying (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18883299)

Actually, since I bought Red Hat stock nearly a year ago, I've incurred a 17% loss in their stock. I know it isn't a terribly long time to be making claims that they aren't doing good, but it give a little bit of perspective.

Where is the profit going? (0, Troll)

bunbuntheminilop (935594) | more than 6 years ago | (#18880385)

Anything going back to the FSF?

Re:Where is the profit going? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18880467)

What part of MySQL did the FSF write? What about MySQL's open source principle and it's open source licensing? Why favor just one of the writers of the open source licenses it uses?

Re:Where is the profit going? (1)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 6 years ago | (#18880469)

why would it? Mysql was written by mysql, with no input by fsf. It would be nice if they helped, but I don't think they have much of an obligation to. It would be more fitting if they maid payments to the other organizations in the LAMP stack ie whatever company that pays linux, Apache, and the PHP nfp if there is one.

Re:Where is the profit going? (4, Insightful)

petrus4 (213815) | more than 6 years ago | (#18882643)

Unbelievable. Absolutely unbelievable. I never hear anything but condemnation and the most vitriolic forms of abuse around here for anyone who would *dare* to even dream of the idea of trying to make money from software development, (including an earlier post on this very article) and yet one of the first questions I see here is whether with MySQL's IPO, the FSF are getting a cut of the cheese.

Let me get this straight. It is by no means, in any way, EVER acceptable in your minds if anyone makes money from developing software, but just in case anybody does, they must immediately hand it over to Stallman?!?

The rank hypocrisy exhibited by you people at times literally leaves me gasping. It is beyond description.

Pump and Dump Scheme (4, Insightful)

asphaltjesus (978804) | more than 6 years ago | (#18880389)

This is not a dig at the folks at Mysql.

It is a warning to everyone who thinks that mysql will be immediately better for going public.

In my finance class I learned that the best way to grow a company is on revenues. Second best is private equity. Near the bottom of the list is public equity.

It's probably the case that Mysql's early investors are looking for their pay day. That's fine, but I'm more concerned about the long term effect of being a public company on the quality of mysql product.

The clever slashdotter with a little cash to gamble with should buy some mysql hold it for a year and dump it. They should come out ahead and be getting out while the picture looks rosy.

Food for thought.

Re:Pump and Dump Scheme (1)

Valar (167606) | more than 6 years ago | (#18881135)

Revenues are fine, but they are sort of dictated to you-- you make as much profit as you can. Private equity is great, if you can find it. For young businesses, you just go to your cousin or friend or somebody and ask them if they want to own half the company you are starting. At MySQLs level, they would have to seek out either VC Firms (which are arguably worse than public trading, since they try to micromanage your operations) or industry firms interested in acquiring a piece (which is bad, because any such company will probably try to suck MySQL dry and then move on).

Re:Pump and Dump Scheme (1)

mpcooke3 (306161) | more than 6 years ago | (#18881811)

The clever slashdotter with a little cash to gamble with should buy some mysql hold it for a year and dump it.

Yeah hold onto it until Larry Ellison buys it which, let's face it won't be long!

So... When will Oracle or Microsoft buy them out? (4, Interesting)

WarlockD (623872) | more than 6 years ago | (#18880417)

I mean seriously, remember how much Oracle is being a dick when they bought PeopleSoft? And now MySQL with "only" $50 million in revenue is going IPO?

I mean hell, remember this [com.com]? A private firm can turn down an offer, but a full public company has to go to its shareholders.

Its not about the software, its just that MySQL is a nice company that worked hard to get where it is. I just don't want to see it get destroyed because they just needed a bit more capital.

Re:So... When will Oracle or Microsoft buy them ou (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 6 years ago | (#18880879)

A private firm can turn down an offer, but a full public company has to go to its shareholders.


An IPO doesn't need to mean the existing core loses control: Google demonstrated that quite well I think.

Re:So... When will Oracle or Microsoft buy them ou (1)

Breakfast Pants (323698) | more than 6 years ago | (#18881057)

"A private firm can turn down an offer, but a full public company has to go to its shareholders."

A private firm must go to its shareholders as well.

Re:So... When will Oracle or Microsoft buy them ou (1)

wan-fu (746576) | more than 6 years ago | (#18881085)

"only" is right. $50 million in revenue is not a lot in the software industry.

True open source (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18880501)

It would be nice if MySQL dumped the dual license and was more open source pure like Red Hat.

It's funny. With these nice open source investments, I still end up leaning toward Debian and PostgreSQL

Re:True open source (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18880947)

Why would that be "nice"? How could you possibly benefit from them *ceasing* to offer and *additional* option to users? The fact that a commercial licensee can release a closed-source MySQL variant or include one in their product does not reduce your rights to the code that MySQL is itself offering at the time. It only reduces your rights to code that some other company is offering. Essentially it just means that closed-source forks are a possibility. I have a hard time believing you are in a position to be harmed by that.

On a legal note, the only difference between Red Hat and MySQL is that Red Hat doesn't publicly advertise commercial licenses to its own code (and also, most of Red Hat's products are not its own code at all). But just because commercial license aren't on the menu doesn't mean that a) Red Hat can't offer them any time it wants, or b) Red Hat doesn't and hasn't sold such licenses behind the scenes. The only way that Red Hat could give up its right to sell commercial licenses is to give up its right to license the code at all, for example by donating the code to another entity like the FSF. But then the FSF would have that right, legally, and would be restricted only by its own bylaws (it's choice, essentially). No company can give up its right to license code to which it has copyright. It can only voluntarily bind its own hands. Red Hat hasn't done that, it just doesn't seem to use it. Mostly because Red Hat's actual software is nowhere near as valuable or as stand-alone as MySQL's.

You forgot a typo in that sentence (-1, Flamebait)

fprog (552772) | more than 6 years ago | (#18880673)

Quote: "We're making good progress, doing all the things we need to get done."

It's NOT called progress, it's called "Postgres".

Anyway that sentence doesn't make sense and should be read as:

"We're making goods with Postgres, doing all the things we need to get done."

Re:You forgot a typo in that sentence (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18880755)

fine line between flamebait and funny, but personally I found this to be on the funnier side of the line, by a hair.

Sorta (1)

SlashDev (627697) | more than 6 years ago | (#18880829)

Reminds me of the RedHat days before it went public, except that this isn't happening during the .com boom. More money, means more bureaucracy and bad decision making (example again: RedHat). From an investor's point of view, I will buy MySQL stock.

I Predict that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18881189)

Within 6 months of an IPO that either Microsoft or more likely Oracle will buy them up lock stock and angry customer base.
Why,
Oracle needs to remove another competitor to their quest for database domination. The had bought several top end application suppliers (Peoplesoft etc) over the past few years. Now it is time for them to turn their attention for the low end. Besides, they would not want Microsoft to get hold of them.

Microsoft needs to remove another competitor for their low end SQL Server sales. There might be some small bits of technolofy that need to put into SQL Server but I really doubt that.

Before anyone asks, what about IBM?
Well, IBM already has a FREE version of DB2 called DB2 Express C. Check it out. You will be pleasantly surprised at what it offers and also the licensing that allows you to redistribute it. Ok, it is closed source but as an entry point to its costly big brother it is a real steal for many small companies.
(No, I don't work for IBM)
They also have an open source database (Derby/Cloudscape) so why would they want to snaffle up another DB supplier?

Re:I Predict that (2, Interesting)

PHPfanboy (841183) | more than 6 years ago | (#18881371)

Yes, and that's why literate techies with some money (like most of us reading here) will want to buy as much stock as possible to have a better representation of our views on the company's strategy.

If you care, like really care, about Open Source companies perhaps it would be a good idea to set up an open source investment "club" or fund to take a more serious stake in these companies. A Slashdot fund anyone?

You have other ethical funds these days (green, Islamic etc...) which invest according to additional criteria (I'm not suggesting an open source charity, the users get enough of that already) - why shouldn't we pool our resources and influence to help steer publicly traded open source companies?

This will allow you to get in before they go to open market IPO and take a good chunk of equity. Of course, you could start up an open source VC too for earlier stage (= more risky) investments and take a bigger chunk of equity (and the associated board-level activity)

Put your collective money where your collective mouth is.

(I don't work for MySQL)

Of Geese and Golden eggs... (3, Insightful)

jkrise (535370) | more than 6 years ago | (#18881653)

MySQL is today what it is and where it is, because of the quality and utility of the code it's putting out in the database world. People who invest in MySQL, the product do so because of it's suitability and superiority; not because of the financial reputation or stability of the company itself.

By going in for an IPO, Mr.Marten Mickos may be right in that the company will be flush with funds, but then, people will be able to invest in MySQL, the company -- without caring for MySQL, the product or service or technology. Even companies like RedHat making over a billion dollars a year face enormous challenges everyday, in staying loyal to their philosophies and the customers; and avoiding takeovers by unprincipled thugs of all hues in the share markets.

If Mr. Mickos thinks the company is going to get more business because it will now be a public firm, I think that optimism is misplaced and will be short-lived. That new business is going to come from MySQL's reputation of being a public company, not based on the technological superiority or suitability about the product. Should MySQL indeed care for such customers, given that the current mindshare and marketshate has come from the Open Source loving community?

No one can prevent a firm from having an IPO, but I would be very surprised if MySQL can resist a takeover for even 12 months from the IPO. What that would do to employee morale which Mr. Mickos talks about, remains to be seen.

Re:Of Geese and Golden eggs... (1)

petrus4 (213815) | more than 6 years ago | (#18882593)

Should MySQL indeed care for such customers, given that the current mindshare and marketshate has come from the Open Source loving community?

Let me guess...You'd probably be offended if in response to this, somebody accused you of Communist inclinations, wouldn't you? ;)

Re:Of Geese and Golden eggs... (2, Funny)

Bodrius (191265) | more than 6 years ago | (#18883379)

Let me see if I understand...

That new business is going to come from MySQL's reputation of being a public company, not based on the technological superiority or suitability about the product. Should MySQL indeed care for such customers, given that the current mindshare and marketshate has come from the Open Source loving community?


You're suggesting that a for-profit business refuses to serve new paying customers... because they're 'n00bs'?

What is this, the Soup Nazi school of open source business?

Re:Of Geese and Golden eggs... (1)

MoreDruid (584251) | more than 6 years ago | (#18883437)

Yes, but since the MySQL codebase is Open Source, there is no-one holding the community back for taking that code and extending it. Yes a fork like this can be painful and senseless, but even if MySQL is bought out, it's the company that's bought out, not the code. I think this is a very important distinction and one that has been evaluated by Mr. Mickos and his team. There is no-one stopping a developer from leaving the company once it goes against his ethics and starting a fork with the existing codebase.

Finally! Hmm...more money for lawyers??? (1)

Goyat (846399) | more than 6 years ago | (#18881733)

YAY..I mean yay....hmmm...whatever. MS SQl server allows people to connect to their database for free! MySQL not so much. As a large and repeated commercial user of the database (boo hiss) I can honestly say that my experience with them has been bad enough to not recommend them to commercial clients...hence we build our own MySQL from the "good branch", and let them use that. I just make sure that when they IPO and the big boys take notice they realise the legal mine field that the GPL brings to the table. As i would hate to see this bastion of open source engineering become a company relying on litigious revenue.

Not suprising. SCO has some extra cash around (0, Flamebait)

bl8n8r (649187) | more than 6 years ago | (#18882829)

from all those cash infusions* from microsoft, Baystar, and Royal Bank of Canada.
I expect the 60 million got invested into the pump-n-dump also, so there should be
plenty to stick in MySQL's G-string.

[*]
http://uk.builder.com/0,39026540,39338281,00.htm [builder.com]
http://www.mysql.com/news-and-events/news/article_ 948.html [mysql.com]
http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=03/05/19/105522 3 [slashdot.org]
http://news.zdnet.com/2100-3513_22-5057033.html [zdnet.com]

Re:Not suprising. SCO has some extra cash around (1)

petrus4 (213815) | more than 6 years ago | (#18882837)

It's times like these when I wish I had mod points, to sink this kind of rubbish into oblivion where it belongs.

Be gone, troll.

Looks good to me (1)

Bright Apollo (988736) | more than 6 years ago | (#18882893)

MySQL is the poster child for open-source RDBMS (sorry Firebird, sorry Postgres), and if nothing else, buying MySQL stock will eventually get you some Google shares when they inevitably absorb.

-BA

Too Bad MySQL Isn't In Venezuela (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#18883503)

Then Hugo Chavez could nationalize it and we'd have FREE SOFTWARE for LIFE!

Signed,

Another /. Marxist-wannabe posuer

What about this?? (1)

cjjjer (530715) | more than 6 years ago | (#18884033)

I have a question and a comment, first how much of the code base is made up of other GPL projects?

If the answer is none then all you have to do is think about it for a second and you will realize that at any time the shareholders could take over and make it closed source, what's stopping them. Maybe this is the reason why they are going public, the lack of other GPL code means they can close it at anytime and start charging for it and maybe this is the reason other open source projects have never gone public because of the code base being made up of other GPL projects.

Things that make you go hmmmmm.....
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