Tension Grows Between MySQL AB and the Open Source Community

It seems the tension has been growing between MySQL AB and the Open Source community which has grown around the product.

Kaj posted an official announcement the other day which changes their Open Source binary distribution model.

Back in October 2006, we introduced MySQL Community Server. Since then, we’ve learnt a thing or two, spent many man hours discussing how to improve our processes, and are now refining the concept. We feel that we’ve come up with some good middle-ground that fulfils not only our company interests but fosters community use and growth as well.

First I should say that I want NOTHING other than MySQL to make a LOT of money.

We love MySQL and Spinn3r, our web crawler, uses MySQL extensively. Also, Marten, Jay, and Brian are great guys and we want them to make a ton of cash.

I should also disclose that MySQL AB has licensed JDBC load balancing technology (lbpool) from Tailrank (my company) in the past.

With this out of the way, I think this policy change does the opposite of what they’re trying to accomplish.

It’s just going to make it harder for the Open Source community to work with MySQL and end up pushing them into the hands of PostgreSQL.

MySQL seems to be getting a lot closer to the Oracle/RedHat model rather than the Linux model.

If they want to sell proprietary software then just build an admin suite on TOP of MySQL so that the GPL doesn’t apply and license that separately. Bundle it with support and you’ll have a winner.

If you build a product better than munin and ganglia which does historical performance monitoring then we’ll be the first customer in line.

This is essentially what you’re doing with Enterprise already. Just change it slightly and you’ll be able to both support the community AND have and Enterprise product without any of the tension.

Jeremy seems to disagree with me on this point:

The fundamental idea behind the Community and Enterprise split is a reasonable one. It’s a model that has worked very well for RedHat with their Fedora / RHEL split (in fact I often recommend RHEL to our customers, because it has worked so well1 for most of them), and I think given the right implementation this model could work nicely for MySQL as well.

Only 10 months ago in October 2006, MySQL rocked the world a bit with Kaj’s announcement of the split between Community and Enterprise. For MySQL Community, Kaj promised:

* early access to MySQL features under development — this hasn’t happened, and I don’t see how it could have, as Community was intended to be released infrequently
* that MySQL AB will listen to their input — nothing has changed in this regard
* timely corrections to bug fixes they report — nothing has changed in this regard
* help with enhancing MySQL for their particular needs — nothing has changed in this regard

Honestly, this whole thing makes my head hurt. There are a bunch of great patches that really need to make it into MySQL that aren’t making any forward progress.

I’m starting to wonder if the community shouldn’t just maintain it’s own branch with it’s own patch set collection.

MySQL AB could merge this branch at regular intervals and then release another version of MySQL when they feel the patches are solid.

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