I'm not suggesting that a blockbuster Canonical-Oracle relationship is set to emerge. But there are indications that Canonical continues to make some Ubuntu progress with MySQL -- the open source database now owned by Oracle. Here's some of the anecdotal information I've heard.

First, a little background: As you likely know, Canonical is polishing Ubuntu 10.04 for release in late April 2010. The upgrade, code-named Lucid Lynx, is a Long Term Support (LTS) release -- which could attract new customers and ISVs (independent sofware vendors) into the Ubuntu camp.

Canonical has definitely made some ISV progress in recent months, working more closely with companies like Groundwork Open Source. Still, Canonical insiders around September 2009 started focusing quite heavily on even better ISV support heading into the Ubuntu 10.04 launch. ISV support is particularly critical as Canonical strives to compete more effectively against Red Hat and Novell SUSE Linux on servers.

Some Oracle and MySQL Chatter

So where do Oracle and MySQL fit into this discussion. "Oracle is now a partner by virtue of the Sun acquisition," notes John Pugh, software partner manager at Canonical. "We're doing a few things around MySQL and hope to dive deeper as the year progresses."

Sources say Canonical met with multiple existing and target ISVs during the recent Open Source Business Conference, held March 17-18 (2010) in San Francisco. Not by coincidence, OSBC founder Matt Asay recently joined Canonical as Chief Operating Officer. Asay advises multiple open source companies and could potentially further help Canonical's ISV relations for Ubuntu.

Of course, I need to provide some balance to this piece. Plenty of customers and partners are worried about Oracle's commitment to MySQL -- though Oracle CEO Larry Ellison has publicly voiced support for the open source database. Also, there have been repeated rumors of Oracle launching a so-called Unbreakable MySQL effort, similar to the Unbreakable Linux promotion.

Canonical's Pugh certainly isn't guaranteeing a big-time Canonical-Oracle working relationship. But there seems to be growing chatter between the Ubuntu and MySQL teams -- which potentially bodes well for Ubuntu channel partners and customers.