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MySQL fork duo tear down Oracle's Iron Man fantasy

Widenius and Aker to convert the converted

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Release the Widenius

Widenius, who left Sun in 2009 before the Oracle deal to create his own company - Monty Program AB - and who forked MySQL with MariaDB followed Aker with a presentation called MySQL: an ecosystem, not just a company. Widenius was cofounder and chief technology officer (CTO) of MySQL AB and helped sell MySQL to Sun in 2008 but lobbied against Oracle's ownership of MySQL. The title of this talk left you in little doubt about how he feels.

He outlined his vision where everything built around MySQL is open source, all forks work together and where multiple service companies provide support - not a single entity. His Monty Program AB last year co-created the Open Database Alliance with MySQL specialist Percona to unify all MySQL-related development and services.

"In MySQL we were always fighting with partners, because we wanted to do everything," he said. "We'd never send leads to partners because our sales people said we can do that ourselves".

As such, he said he too has eschewed the corporate model of ownership of the MariaDB code base. Monty Progam AB operates what he called "the hacking business model" where the employees own the company and profits go into maintaining the code. MariaDB is not for him to make money, Widenius said, noting he has separate investments for that.

"Look at the hacker business model - you'd have to be genius to make money from that," he said.

Widenius announced an all-you-can-eat MariaDB support model from Monty Progam Ab: $36,000 for unlimited, company wide support for MySQL 3.3 upwards.

The duo pitched their MySQL forks as being better than the database that birthed them and the development model Oracle could offer.

Widenius promised potential MySQL converts they could install his MariaDB fork and "everything works". MySQL customers would be up and running in seconds while "you get more features, more reliability, and more speed."

He outlined planned improvements in the current MariaDB, version 5.1, he claimed deliver performance of MySQL 5.4 and the - as yet - unreleased 5.5. The day before at MySQL Con, Oracle claimed MySQL 5.5 is an order of magnitude faster than version 5.4.

“In MySQL we were always fighting with partners... We'd never send leads to partners because our sales people said we can do that ourselves” - MySQL father and MySQL AB cofounder and CTO Monty Widenius

Widenius also claimed features from MySQL 6.0 will appear in MariaDB 5.3: optimizer enhancements that'll be released as beta code in the next few months.

The goal is a release of MariaDB every nine months, he said adding - in a further swipe to the speed at which MySQL can move inside a large corporation such as Oracle: "I see a lot of patches out there that are not included in MySQL."

The next version of MariaDB is 5.2, which Widenius promised will add additional transactional storage engines - Spider and Spinx - group commit and virtual columns.

Aker, meanwhile, said the idea of Drizzle is to take MySQL into the future. Drizzle was conceived to take advantage of 64-bit systems and Solid State Drives, using an architecture that avoids locks and is built using C++.

Programming is designed to be streamlined. There's just one Blob type - eliminating eternal debates over which Blob to use - while UTF-8 is the standard for characters to avoid gotchas like corruptions just because data was entered using the "wrong" language."

Nice database, shame about the reload

Drizzle is a federated system of APIs that strips out unnecessary features and reserves them as plug-ins to keep the code base from being daunting in size. Aker claimed the core is 10,900 lines of code - down from 209,000.

Where is Drizzle today? Far from finished and potentially a headache for those moving from MySQL. Yes, it passes transactional tests but you'll still have to reload your data, while replication is still being tested and hardened.

Work's needed on these plus authentication handlers, shared-nothing nodes, and the ability to perform stored procedures in Perl, PHP or Ruby and without needing to learn Java.

Drizzle is being updated every three to four months, so contributors working on these and other issues don't have to wait too long for their work to be added to the database while users quickly get the latest features, Aker said.

"Linus [Torvalds] got this right with the kernel years ago. The whole release model for software is dead... when I talk to companies that are innovating they care about what they can get their hands on today. They don't need to hear about a roadmap in two to three years - that's not internet time."

It remains to be seen how many MySQLers will move to MariaDB or Drizzle on the strength of this combined pitch. One thing is for sure, though: O'Reilly Media will have an interesting time getting Oracle to pluck up the cash for next year's event based on the 2010 performance.®

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