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back to article Is Oracle squeezing the MySQL lemon too hard?

Despite what many feared, Oracle has not abandoned development of MySQL. Indeed, as announced at Oracle OpenWorld this week, Oracle just released MySQL Release Candidate 5.6 with a host of new features. Unfortunately, only paying customers are ever going to see the best of those features. Well before Oracle acquired Sun (which …

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All this has happened before, and all this will happen again

It's the same story over and over with Oracle, they buy up a company which runs a project relying on a community of developers. Then, Oracle does something to piss off the community which then goes off and does its own thing. See Jenkins/Hudson and OpenOffice/Libre Office.

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Re: All this has happened before, and all this will happen again.. jump!

" The excited state decays by vibrational relaxation into the first excited singlet state. Yes, yes and merrily we go. Reduce atmospheric nitrogen by 0.03%. It is not much consolation that society will pick up the bits, leaving us at eight modern where punishment, rather than interdiction, is paramount. Please, cut the fuse. They will not harm their own. End of line. Limiting diffusions to two dimensions increases the number of evolutionary jumps within the species. Rise and measure the temple of the five. Transformation is the goal. They will not harm their own. Data-font synchronization complete.

Seized by God, they cry for succour in the dark of the light. Mists of dreams dribble on the nascent echo and love no more. Jump. Counting down. All functions nominal. All functions optimal. Counting down. The center holds. The falcon hears the falconer. Infrastructure, check. Wetware, check. Everyone hang on to the life bar, please.

Apotheosis was the beginning before the beginning. Devices on alert. Observe the procedures of a general alert. The base and the pinnacle. The flower inside the fruit that is both its parent and its child. Decadent as ancestors. The portal and that which passes."

JUMP!!!!

Sorry... Could ... Not... Resist

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Anonymous Coward

Already happened

Many Linux distros bundle MariaDB now. The boat has already sailed.

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Anonymous Coward

OpenOffice fiasco all over again!

They have a lot to learn about the FOSS community that they claim to care so much about, while taking all the goodies to keep their RedHat derivative and Exadata boxes churning over!

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Meh

Meh.

<Yawn> Predicted in 2010 when Oracle started carving bits off the Sun carcass.

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@AC 15:42

are there significant functional differences between MySQL - say, the 5.1 series - and MariaDB?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @AC 15:42

Yes!

https://kb.askmonty.org/en/mariadb-versus-mysql-features/

https://kb.askmonty.org/en/mariadb-versus-mysql-compatibility/

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LDS
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Re: @AC 15:42

THe funny thing is because MySQL is GPL, MariaDB has to make available everything it adds, and Oracle can incorporate if if it likes. And because Oracle is the MySQL owner, it can use its dual license and release outside GPL (and only the owner can do this...) whatever it adds. That's why Widenius attempted to get back MySQL rights...

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Re: @LDS

THe funny thing is because MySQL is GPL, MariaDB has to make available everything it adds, and Oracle can incorporate if if it likes. And because Oracle is the MySQL owner, it can use its dual license and release outside GPL (and only the owner can do this...)

Not quite. Oracle is NOT the owner of any GPL code that is submitted into MariaDB. So it can use/release the MariaDB code in the GPL version of MySQL but not in the proprietary version. So Oracle cannot get it all its own way.

I suspect that, long term, Oracle wants to get rid of the ''free'' competition that MySQL presented and so doing what it is doing makes sense -- except that people will slowly jump ship. I teach Perl & PHP courses (amongst other things) and am now adding in PostgreSQL into equal coverage/prominence to MySQL (MSSQL & Oracle already there in a small way).

I hazard a guess that people are converting. If you google 'convert mysql to postgresql database' it finds 24,100,000 results. If you look for 'convert postgresql to mysql database' it finds 6,870,000.

Hmmmm

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Re: @AC 15:42

It doesn't quite work that way.

If someone contributes code directly to MariaDB, they -- not the MariaDB project, and not Oracle -- own the copyright in their contribution (and MariaDB, in their turn, will only accept it on the condition that the contributor places it under the GPL).

Any bits of MariaDB in which Oracle don't own the copyright, can't be used in a non-GPL offering without permission from the copyright holders -- which, one might infer from the fact that they contributed their code to MariaDB and not MySQL, they're unlikely to give.

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Anonymous Coward

Oracle is just extracting money out of those MySQL users for whom moving away would be difficult (or considered potentially difficult by some arse-covering non-technical technical directors) and perhaps enough to ultimately make a profit on their purchase. Besides they've crippled and fragmented a significant competitor. And that's probably all they ever needed to do.

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Fuck community, what about the bottom line?

This article is so sanctimonious it's ridiculous. Oracle won't give much of a shit about losing market share if the people it loses were never paying anyway. MySQL always had a "freemium" model but as it was always a shitty DB most people with businesses to bet left it well alone. If Oracle is now providing additional but useful and reliable features at a price then there are likely to be businesses willing to pay for it. Those paying customers now, in theory at least, get more attention from the vendor who can look at ways of cross-selling and upselling to them; possibly even a win-win situation if you consider that Oracle got as big and profitable as it is by selling what people think they want.

Anyway, MySQL is a bit of a sideshow. Where Oracle really did drop the ball and may well live to regret it is the way it handled OpenSolaris.

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Re: Fuck community, what about the bottom line?

if mysql is a side show to opensolaris then opensolaris is a side show compared to java :)

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Re: Fuck community, what about the bottom line?

Nothing has changed for Java which is as open source as never. Oracle has recognised the fact that Dalvik has cannibalised the consumer market and tried but failed to stop it. Corporate customers are stuck with Oracle's roadmap just as they were with Sun's.

Companies are making money of the back of Illumos and getting it to do really useful things for large data centres. There is no upsell there for Oracle.

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FAIL

"Never paying anyway"

Market share in the "free" software sector does matter. A prime way to make money from open source is to use it as a gateway drug.

Startup uses open source, gets paid version as the business grows up. When what started as a two-man shop employs an IT department and a CTO, they will want to cover their asses with support contracts. Now those fledgling companies are going to avoid MySQL because it doesn't measure up to competition like Postgres, and the future support contracts go to companies like http://www.enterprisedb.com/.

Same applies to small projects inside big companies. A department sets up an internal service for a handful of developers running off Debian on a decommisoned server. When the service is a success, the company will want to productize and deploy it company wide, perhaps start selling it to partners. It's all part of going "enterprisey" - whether it's worth it or not is another matter.

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FUD

Nothing to date has changed on the community (free) version from when sun owned it.

The second it does you will immediately get the openoffice -> libreoffice effect where all the developers take the current branch and fork it. That's the power of open source and oracle know it.

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Re: FUD

I think things have changed. Since moving to Oracle I have noticed a couple of times during an apt-get upgrade that I have to manually accept a closed source binary blob for MySQL for 'security patches'.

Having any sort of interaction during an update is annoying enough but this sort of behaviour has led me to refuse to work with MySQL in production environments.

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Flame

As An Admitted One-Time MySQL User

..I say that real developers nowadays avoid it like the plague. MBA types and the PHP set work with MySQL because they don't really know what "transactions" and "referential integrity" are. There is no el-stupido material with four-quadrant diagrams explaining it to them.

I was burnt by MySQL, because the lack of proper technology means it will lose data; sooner or later. But then the MBA elite wants Windows in the datacenter instead of Linux/Unix/VMS/zOS, so MySQL is a nice fit, I assume.

Picture of a nice fire of MySQL brochures.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: As An Admitted One-Time MySQL User

Valid points, but MySQL does support transactions. MyISAM which was probably the default storage engine when you were using it does not (changed a year or two ago).

As an unhappy aside, perl DBI detects transaction compatibility with the db driver, but not the engine. learned that the hard way..

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"community" "open source".. just smoke screens...

That is what it's all about.

No one works for free. Software doesn't get coded by little kids "hackers computer wizards" and other silly nonsense the press and Hollywood created as a childish myth for the ignorant population that doesn't have a clue about the real difficulty of software engineering, design and coding.

All those MySQL alternatives now all of a sudden popping up and gaining industry interest.. there are Oracle competitors behind those. That would be pretty obvious for anyone living in the real world and not in the fake world bankers and managers want most to live in to steal better.

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Big Brother

Re: "community" "open source".. just smoke screens...

While I admire your cynical stance, some people actually do work for free, because they like it, get recognition, scratch an itch etc.

Up to you if you want to see these people as useful idiots with shadowy puppet masters behind them... why not. I have these moments, too.

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Re: "community" "open source".. just smoke screens...

Businesses often find it easier to pay a developer on an open source project than pay for a support contract and several of the databases (postgresql for instance)get their development payed for that way. The advantage to that is that since the developers will be the first to suffer if there are any bugs, the releases tend to care more about performance and stability and prefer feature additions that are useful rather than flashy.

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WTF?

Citation please

Postgres is an anti-Oracle conspiracy! Just like Linux is actually a copy of SCO Unix. Or was it MINIX?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SCO_v._IBM

http://www.dmsss.com/tanenbaum-disputes-methods-of-controversial-report-spun1.html

Regardless, Linux is an anti-Microsoft conspiracy! There's no "community" behind Linux, just a megacorp. All those kernel mailing lists are just a fabrication!

Yes people get paid to work on open source, and it's in the employers' interests. Not necessarily with the purpose of undermining competitiors, like your paranoid delusions would have us believe. Hardware manufacturers contribute to Linux because they want market share. Many projects start as university research, eg. the BSD operating system. Very often internal projects that are not central to a business get open sourced, to get "free" help from others and to get geek cred. Others contribute to projects they have gained from, eg. Twitter and Facebook & MySQL.

You're not totally wrong - OpenOffice was allegedly open sourced "maliciously" but to dismiss all open source as a smokescreen is just idiotic.

So please pray tell which specific MySQL alternatives you refer to, and which specific competitors are behind them. And show the evidence, or shut the fuck up.

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Linux

@Joerg

How do you explain Monty Widenius' decision to distribute MySQL under the GPL in the first place, if there is no such thing as open source and community?

"The Open Source community is a very effective ecosystem and if you allow it to participate with your business you have a better chance to succeed."

http://monty-says.blogspot.fi/2009/08/thoughts-about-dual-licensing-open.html

An open source project has a community of developers. They might be paid to do the development, but it's still open source and it's still a community.

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LDS
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Open source can help to gain popularity, but often not money

Why should Oracle care much about a "community" which is not going to spend a dime on databases? Open source may be a good path to gain popularity in the beginning, but then you have to start making money, or you end up being acquired - as it happened to MySQL. Let's see what happens to NoSQL databases in the next years.

When you have an established name, what are the *real* benefits of giving away advanced features to people who won't pay for them? Sure you can do as Postgres, one of the few databases that can't still handle LOBs the proper way, while spending a lot of time implemeting fancy datatypes - and little more. Ask yourself why it never got more users than MySQL...

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Re: Open source can help to gain popularity, but often not money

What's the issue with LOBs & pgsql then? Its a genuine question, I've googled it but its not obvious.I assume its to do with the way it stores pointers to them (or not)?

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Unhappy

saw this coming

I saw the end coming when oracle took over MySQL. Before oracle took over MySQL was to release version 6 which was going to being it up to where postgres currently is. In other words a competitor to oracle DB. Since they took over MySQL has been stuck in version 5 with small changes here and there. I feel MySQL is more like a demo from oracle or a foot in the door to try and get companies to buy oracle DB server. In our organisation we are switching over to postgres now I haven't tried nosql yet need to give that a try.

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Anonymous Coward

Bit confused

So guys I dont see the big deal myself.. as a hobby web coder (done a few basic web shop fronts) I've used MySQL and its the default on every ISP hosted solution I've ever touched. I presume that maybe it doesnt scale beyond x thousand concurrent users etc but then it hasnt cost me anything. If you are building a solution that does need x thousand/million concurrent users why would you use a free solution in the first place without SLA'ed support ?

Genuine interest :)

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Anonymous Coward

We moved to Percona a year ago...

...apart from their irritating tendency to try to answer emails with a phone call, they're pretty good.

"MySQL skills versus, say, Hadoop" You're comparing a RDBMS to a "big data" processing suite. This makes little sense.

MySQL vs MS SQL vs PostgreSQL vs Oracle vs DB2 would be interesting. MySQL vs Hadoop is largely meaningless.

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Megaphone

Re: We moved to Percona a year ago...

"MySQL vs Hadoop is completely meaningless."

... fixed it for you, although

"MySQL and Hadoop are completely meaningless" works well for me :D

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Trollface

Re: We moved to Percona a year ago...

Its a lovely part of the country :-) .

MySQL is the odd man out in your list, surely. All the others are full-on Enterprise DBs - I thought MySQL was meant to be a lightweight DB for the Web & so on, & that's how they get away with AFAIK a lack of features compared to the others. Maybe substitute Sybase(say) for MySQL in your list.....

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Mushroom

I'm sick of MySQL anyway, it's crap, always has been and always will be.

PostgreSQL FTW

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Brain dead journalism

This article is just unbelievable, and not because of the subject matter that it's covering. How does this kind of thing get past an editor (always assuming they have one) at The Register? The whole crux of the piece is a survey done in 2009, BEFORE Oracle had even acquired Sun and therefore MySQL. The graph shows a prediction for 2011 which, unless they're using a different calendar, was last year; surely they now have the actual values? Given the number of people surveyed was 347, of whom only 285 were MySQL users (in 2009) this would have a statistical relevance of F-all squared. Even if it wasn't three years old! I've got to stop reading The Register...

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(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Re: Brain dead journalism

"How does this kind of thing get past an editor (always assuming they have one) at The Register?"

We do, see the "contact us" page.

"The whole crux of the piece is a survey done in 2009, BEFORE Oracle had even acquired Sun"

Sun nabbed MySQL in Jan 08. Oracle wanted to buy Sun in Apr 09. Deal closed Aug 09. Survey done in Dec 09.

So your point is false. Checkmate.

C.

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Re: Brain dead journalism

Well, I beg to differ on "deal closed Aug 09". Change in control (which would be when Oracle ACTUALLY started to make decisions) was Feb 2010 (I know, I was there). Regardless of the hair-splitting of who got what, when the point is that this is a three year old survey of less than 300 users, making it completely worthless as a piece of data. It's then served up as proof that Oracle's strategy for MySQL is decreasing the number of users. Whatever way you want to look at it, it's crap journalism.

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(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Re: Re: Brain dead journalism

"Regardless of the hair-splitting"

Are you serious? The dates are the central plank of your outburst, and it splintered at the first sign of fact.

Disagree with Matt's opinion - for that is what it is, 'Open and Shut' is his regular comment piece - all you want, but you gotta be kidding me on the rest.

C.

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Re: Brain dead journalism

"....The dates are the central plank of your outburst...." Indeed, it is very unlikely that Oracle competed against MySQL, went through the negotiation process including doing due process examinations of all the product development plans, made the buy, and then just assigned people that knew nothing about MySQL to start work on it. Oracle teams may have got to work on in in 2010, but they would have been making plans for MySQL from the moment the purchase was mooted.

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Holmes

Hmm

How many of the people parroting the "MySQL lacks feature $FOO" (which would be trivial to provide in the application layer, even if it hadn't been implemented in a more recent version of MySQL than they are b!+(#ing about) line would ever actually need $FOO anyway?

Most of the time, all you want is a simple variable persistence layer; and MySQL is very good at providing that.

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Anonymous Coward

I rest my case

"... trivial to provide in the application layer"

40+ years on from Ted's paper, (http://www.seas.upenn.edu/~zives/03f/cis550/codd.pdf) we still get this sort of drivel from programmers who think they know something.

The MySQL manual used to be full of similar drivel, probably still is for all I know. It's been a while since I looked closely, but MySQL is not a "real" database, never mind a real "relational database". It is a toy and useful for many applications and useless for others. This does not preclude that MySQL may some day become a competent relational database, but it was clear from the documentation that the designer of MySQL had some pretty broken ideas in the start.

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BWM
FAIL

Move off MySQL. It's an even bigger mess if you pay for it.

Our company was selling our product with embedded MySQL licenses, which we purchased for each installation. Great product and worth the money... but no longer.

We recently completed a conversion to Postgres because a) the licensing rules as posted on the website had become incomprehensible, b) we could not get a call back when we contacted Oracle for additional licenses and c) the number and differing capabilities of the underlying engines (oh! you need innodb for that!) was making it a mess to work with.

Really, really sad to see such a great product die a death of a thousand cuts.

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