Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Death Knell for MySQL

Someone asked me, "What do you think about the Oracle/Sun buyout as it pertains to MySQL?" Well, since you're asking...

I thought it was bad for MySQL when Sun bought them despite what others were saying at the time. It turns out I was right. I think Oracle will be worse, and this time the blogosphere are saying it'll probably be bad. Now the question is, just how bad will it be? Here's my predictions:
  • I'm sure Oracle realizes they need to tread lightly on the subject of MySQL or else risk the wrath of the open source community. They may integrate some of MySQL to improve Oracle, but they won't promote the continued development of MySQL proper (Berkeley DB anyone?). That is, Oracle won't actively kill MySQL, but they'll let continue to languish the slow and painful death that began before Sun came along. I don't see a financial benefit to Oracle for keeping MySQL healthy. If MySQL does survive, it might be branded as "Oracle Lite."

  • Core developers will continue work on MySQL in the form of Drizzle, a fork based on MySQL 6.0. Drizzle's focus is on refactoring the MySQL code base and scaling down the feature set-- views, triggers, stored procedures, etc. will be available through modules but not in the core-- to providing a fast and efficient RDBMS for web-based and distributed applications. Drizzle will become very popular as a MySQL alternative for dedicated community members and web developers, and enterprise users who require a larger feature set will migrate to PostgreSQL (and Pythonistas rejoice en masse).
If a commercial company buys control of an open-source project, but then the project's community and core developers fork the codebase and continue development, then the company has effectively only purchased rights to a particular branch. It's legal, but it's not a palatable situation for commercial corporations who might be looking to buy up open source applications. I doubt we'll see Oracle starting a SCO-like court battle over MySQL... but we sure are living in interesting times. Welcome to the era of new law.

I'm primarily a PHP developer so I'll most likely migrate to Drizzle if and when that time comes. A lot of what I do could probably be done with SQLite, but I don't particularly care for the way SQLite does some things. That's another story for another day...

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