MySQL users are set to receive fresh information about Oracle's road map for the open-source database during a keynote address by Chief Corporate Architect Edward Screven at Tuesday's O'Reilly MySQL Conference & Expo in Santa Clara, California.

"We're looking forward to outlining our plans for MySQL and providing the development community with deeper insight into the enhancements they can expect right now and moving forward," Screven said in a statement released Thursday.

MySQL "is strategic to Oracle," he added.

Oracle also announced a pair of MySQL user forums will occur May 6 in Amsterdam and June 3 in Redwood Shores, California.

Since Oracle first announced plans to buy Sun Microsystems, former owner of MySQL, advocates expressed fear the vendor would somehow stifle the database's development in an effort to protect its own propriety database platform.

The merger was even held up for months as European antitrust authorities weighed the implications of Oracle owning MySQL.

Oracle released a list of pledges regarding MySQL in December, including promises to continue making the database available through the General Public License; to not require customers to buy support from Oracle in order to get a commercial MySQL license; and to boost spending on research and development.

Still, speculation remains about how Oracle will handle MySQL in the long term, and observers will no doubt be looking for more specifics from Screven's talk.

One observer doesn't anticipate major fireworks.

"I expect Oracle to essentially reiterate what they've been saying even prior to acquisition, that they're committed to MySQL and its development," said Redmonk analyst Stephen O'Grady.

Oracle's plans for MySQL likely include targeting Microsoft SQL Server, which is widely used thanks partly to the "frictionless access" users gain under Microsoft enterprise agreements, as well as its close integration with Microsoft's development tools, O'Grady said.

"Oracle will take MySQL and position strongly against SQL Server, saying 'this is even easier to get, the ecosystem is enormous, it's the de facto database of the Web,'" he added.

The vendor's pledge to continue investing in MySQL will likely come true, according to analyst Curt Monash of Monash Research. "I expect Oracle to honorably and straightforwardly mature the product," Monash said. "Various kinds of problems may occur down the road, but there's every reason to think that at first MySQL will benefit from adult DBMS vendor supervision."

But there are open questions too, such as whether Oracle will develop new storage engines for MySQL to go along with the popular InnoDB, which it already owns, Monash said.