Wednesday, May 13, 2009

At last we have a MySQL Foundation, its called The Open Database Alliance

Just over a year ago we registered the domain name in the hopes that Sun/MySQL will actually create such an entity.

My idea was to move the development of the MySQL Community server to the Foundation and make the development fully community orientated. The Foundation would have its own development goals and release schedule. Sun could then pull patches from the Foundation's Community server into the Enterprise server once they had stabilized.

I pitched the idea to several people at Sun back then and over the last year, however, for some reason, the foundation concept just proved impossible to push through.

I believe this would have been a great opportunity for Sun to take the leadership in the community, as the foundation idea dates back to before things really started splitting up. But Sun's loss is now that of Oracle, who perhaps doesn't care anyway.

What is really most important is that we in the community now have an entity that is going to tie our side of things together: The Open Database Alliance. For the community it is critical that things do not split up any further and that instead our efforts are bundled. I believe the Alliance can do this for us.

So where does that leave Oracle?

Well, as I see it, we now have a new, more relevant, community/enterprise split: the Oracle MySQL Enterprise server and the MariaDB Community server.

And, I guess I have to stand up and say, for us ( this difference is real and significant.

PBXT is already part of most community builds including MariaDB, OurDelta and XAMPP. But is is not part of the official MySQL 5.1 Community Server.

Please note, this has nothing to do with my many great friends at MySQL! They help us in lots of other ways and I am very thankful for this :)

But even with the "community" label, any download offered by Sun (now Oracle of course - no change there) is about business! That is very difficult to change, and I accept that.

But the community does not need to change anything. It is, what it is.


hingo said...

Hi Paul

I wasn't aware you had had such an active role in pushing a MySQL community. Well, seems like now you got something that you were hoping for. Good for you.

You may not recognize me, but we happened to be at the same lunch table once in Santa Clara, and you explained your design philosophies about simplicity. I know you will certainly have a great role in the MySQL Community - and who knows - also as a commercial storage engine.

henrik, finland

Paul McCullagh said...

Hi Henrik,

Of course I remember lunch with you :)

Well, I would have liked to announce I was successful with my efforts.

But otherwise, yes, we are making progress...

hingo said...

Oh, btw, as a loyal Sun employee I should explain why it is the way it is: Currently Sun (formerly MySQL Ab) actually gives a lifecycle guarantee also on the community server, plus customers get support also for community server installations when buying MySQL Enterprise. This is the main reason the community server cannot just take input randomly from the community, but in essence it is just a freeware version of the Enterprise server. It must contain only stuff we can support ourselves.

But I agree that this then creates some other problems. In an ideal world there would have been (earlier than now) a true community server, that needn't be so strongly controlled by one player.

Paul McCullagh said...

Yup, makes sense from that angle.

Karlsson said...


I'd just like to Chime in on Henriks comments. I would also like to add that although, as you say, "any download offered by Sun [snip] is about business", this is not that different from what you are doing. The business model offered by, say, yuorself, is different, but it is still business involved here. And it has business implicaties, like it or not.

And that said, that is not necessarily a bad thing. Business is what pays the monthly bills for most of us. And even if someone, at times, look down on institutional investors and venture capitalists and such, these guys provide the capital that one can live on to develop a successful business and useful software, be it open source or not. And they do take risks in doing so.

And finally, let's not forget the MySQL users who are not really developers, or if they are, they don't have the time or the resources to deal with MySQL details in terms of bug fixing, choosing a version, monitoring etc. They just want something that works. A commercial offering isn't such a bad thing for them, and they are contributing by buying from the same people who develop the software and fix the bugs.

And in the last case, this might well be Sun / MySQL. Or someone else, really. But buying MySQL support, services etc. is also a way of contributing. And a business model makes that happen (i.e. without a business, there is no way for these people to contribute).


Paul McCullagh said...

Hi Karlsson,

I agree with your comments on business. It pays my salary as well, as you mentioned :)

My comment was more a statement of fact rather then a criticism.

So to be honest, what I am saying is that MySQL/Suns business motivations are not helping mine... ;)

But that's life (well, business anyway).

And I am not complaining, because (as I mentioned) you guys have been, and are, a great support to us wherever that is possible.

However, I do believe a different (more independent) community strategy would have been possible, and would have been successful.

I am saying this now because I believe with the acquisition by Oracle, and the founding of the Open Database Alliance, this opportunity is now gone forever.

But I know that this not due to lack of effort by Giuseppe and the other MySQL community guys, who have always done a great job!

Log Buffer said...

"Paul McCullagh of PrimeBase XT writes, At last we have a MySQL Foundation, its called The Open Database Alliance. [...]"

Log Buffer #147