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...

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Certification Failure

Some employers look favorably on certifications, or even require them; other employers could care less. Some people are certified in something but clueless when it comes to actually using the technology. Some people get certifications like they're going out of style just because they can. Some people cheat on the exam. So how much stock should one put in certifications? I'm not sure I know the answer to that. I guess it depends on the certification, what the testing environment is like, who runs the certification program, etc.

Today I ran across PHP-Rocks during my daily web-surfing. It's a small site that offers a set of tutorials ranging from beginner up to advanced, and a PHP "certification" exam. The exam piqued my interest. It was free to take, and I was curious as to what type of questions it asked, so I signed up. Of course I often sign up a dummy account and fake email address when I do such things because I don't intend on becoming a regular visitor to the site, nor do I care to be placed on some spam mailing list. I chose "Joe Biteme" as my name for this excursion.

I answered randomly, not taking the exam seriously (like I said, I was more interested in what type of questions they were asking rather than actually getting their "certification"). I utterly failed it with a miserable 26.6667%! But I figure if they don't feel guilty about offering me the opportunity to pay them $5 to email me the certificate for a failed exam, then I probably shouldn't feel guilty about making a mockery of their exam process (and perhaps even the exam itself) by registering a fake identity and answering randomly.

Click on the image below to enlarge it and you'll see I successfully completed the PHP developer exam with a fail!

certification failure

In full disclosure, yes I took (and passed) the Zend Certified Engineer exam for PHP5 offered by Zend, and yes I took it much more seriously than I did PHP-Rock's exam. Also, it's not my purpose to single out a particular web site... I just found their snafu too humorous not to share.