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Maybe Sun can teach MySQL a lesson about open source?

Once again Jeremy weights in on the oddity called "MySQL Enterprise Edition". This time around it seems that Sun/MySQL is moving towards making their Enterprise Edition more proprietary by including features that will never be available in the Community Edition. Not sure, but I guess they are also not providing the source to the general public (I do not remember all the details of the continued mumbo-jumbo saga surrounding this product, but maybe they already pulled the source from the public version a while ago - please correct me here). I do assume that paying customers will still get the source, though obviously not under an open source license.

As before MySQL AB illustrates that they stop believing in open source when it becomes time to make money. I was not all up in arms about this with stuff like the Monitor or the Workbench (heck I use a proprietary editor, though they are moving towards open sourcing more, rather than less of the new features - similar model though as Workbench), but I do think that hot backup should be part of the core product as is the case in other OSS databases like PostgreSQL. InnoDB hot backup is a bad comparison for Marten to use here. Nobody is claiming that its not possible to write reliable solid proprietary software. What people are saying however is that this is not the best way to write software, especially if you are an organization that has (should have?) open source build into its DNA (both from the business model as well as from the people you employ to the people that use your software). Also the comparison Marten makes in the same post about PostgreSQL is also off. The fact is that even if alot of companies in the PostgreSQL community are proprietary, its still a community decision what is added to the common base PostgreSQL. With MySQL the community does not have this option unless it does a proper fork, which I doubt Sun/MySQL is all to interested in seeing. Anyways, of course as a paying customer I would also appreciate wide spread testing of such a critical feature as backup is, but alas I will be stuck with MySQL AB's less than stellar internal QA to ensure that my backups will actually work when it becomes time to restore them.

Now the weird thing is that Sun is open sourcing software left and right as Peter also points out. Its a key decision that Jonathan does not get tired explaining. They keep talking about the great divider in the industry being those companies that sell software and those that do not. So I can only guess that this decision predates the Sun merger and was made by the same guys that cooked up the client lib license change (which MySQL sort of fixed), the creation of the Enterprise Edition .. this leaves the door open for some of the new owners to correct this mistake. So maybe we will have the opportunity to witness firsthand how MySQL AB's guys learn from Sun (instead of the other way around as the MySQL guys keep proclaiming).

[Update 16/04/2008 16:14 CEST]
Need to learn how to spell peoples names .. like "Marten" .. sorry about that.


Re: Maybe Sun can teach MySQL a lesson about open source?


Thanks for the comments! I readily agree with you that MySQL has a lot to learn from Sun in areas of open source (and other areas).

I also agree that open source is a superior method for producing software. At the same time, we (meaning the MySQL group) will continue to experiment with business models that allow us to grow and hire more people (who can produce more GPL code). If we find out that an experiment doesn't work out well, we will change course.

It's not easy to figure out the best revenue model for an open source software business. I am open to all ideas and suggestions.


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