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MySQL creator kicks MySQL 5.1 team in the teeth

Monty chides Sun for premature, bug-riddled release

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MySQL creator Michael “Monty” Widenius has gone on a noisy rant about last week’s release of MySQL 5.1 because Sun Microsystems has unleashed the database even though it still contains “fatal bugs”.

Sun made the popular open source db generally available (GA) last Thursday following months of development. By Saturday Monty was grumbling that MySQL 5.1 wasn’t entirely ready for mainstream production use yet.

In a long-winded blog post sardonically entitled “Oops we did it again – MySQL 5.1 released as GA with crashing bugs”, Monty warned users to take cautious steps before deploying the latest version of the database on live systems.

At least 20 flaws that cause MySQL to either crash or produce erroneous results remain in MySQL 5.1, he claimed. Monty advised that users effectively treat 5.1 as a beta rather than a GA, and perhaps even consider holding off until early patches arrive.

He said the MySQL management team at Sun has failed to learn from its earlier mistakes when – he argues – it released a bug-riddled version of the 5.0 database too soon.

According to Monty, the main argument behind pushing out MySQL 5.1 now is that “it’s better than MySQL 5.0 was when it was declared as GA.

“In my opinion, this is not a good reason to declare something GA, especially as 5.0 GA was in terrible shape when it was released. What is worse is that the new features in MySQL 5.1 are of no better quality than new features in MySQL 5.0 was at the time MySQL 5.0 was declared GA,” he said.

Despite all the griping, he reckoned new users should grasp the nettle and use MySQL 5.1 because it’s better than the 5.0 community version, which hasn’t been updated for some time.

Monty was also at pains to point out that Sun, which acquired MySQL in February 2008 for $1bn, wasn’t to blame for what he sees as a premature release of the database.

“The decisions to do a GA release was solely been made by the MySQL management in Sun,” he said. “The only thing Sun can be blamed for is to not start fixing the MySQL development organisation soon enough to ensure that things like this can't happen.

“I still have some hopes that Sun will come in and fix the MySQL development organisation, but with MySQL server releases like this one my hopes have started to fade a bit.”

One mysterious database administrator hit back at Monty’s efforts to “ambush his colleagues with a truckload of blame” in a blog post today.

She said: “This is another case of a developer, a brilliant one, mind you, one of the brightest in the open source arena, but a developer nonetheless, who has a non-user oriented mindset and is inflicting his view on the users.”

In 1995 Monty, the primary architect of the original MySQL database, co-founded MySQL AB with David Axmark, who recently quit the firm. He walked in October grumbling that he "hated" all the rules he had to follow at Sun.

Since then speculation has continued to mount about Monty’s future at the firm. But despite all his gripes he's hanging on in there – for now. ®

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