Is Oracle squeezing the MySQL lemon too hard?
If it hoards functionality, it could lose the community
Open ... and Shut Despite what many feared, Oracle has not abandoned development of MySQL. Indeed, as announced at Oracle OpenWorld this week, Oracle just released MySQL Release Candidate 5.6 with a host of new features.
Unfortunately, only paying customers are ever going to see the best of those features.
Well before Oracle acquired Sun (which owned MySQL), MySQL had developed an Enterprise product designed to turn some of MySQL's broad community adoption into revenue. According to a rising chorus of MySQL community members, however, Oracle has kicked this business strategy into overdrive, hoarding an ever-expanding array of functionality for its paying customers.
It's perhaps not surprising that Oracle would kick MySQL Enterprise into overdrive. Oracle isn't a charity, after all, and has a long history of making money by selling licensed software, along with pricey services and maintenance contracts to support that software. So when the open-source world offered questionable business strategies, it acted.
The problem with this strategy is that by stressing monetisation over community adoption, Oracle may be leaving itself with a far smaller MySQL pie to monetise. Successful open-source businesses depend upon a healthy, growing community. Take that away, and the business evaporates.
This is particularly troubling since some of the functionality that Oracle is hoarding, including performance and scalability enhancements, are already "standard issue" with MySQL's newest headache, NoSQL. PostgreSQL is also seeking to fill the MySQL community void, gaining a number of new acolytes.
The MySQL community was already suspicious of Oracle's stewardship, as research from The 451 Group indicates, resulting in lower predicted usage of the open-source database:
A number of MySQL off-shoots has resulted, including MariaDB, Percona, SkySQL, and others. And while open source guru Dave Neary dismisses this as a problem ("I still see lots of MySQL - sometimes (on Debian) it's called MariaDB, but it's still the same database & toolset"), Oracle would almost certainly beg to differ.
Interest in MySQL has been in serious decline for years, and the relative proportion of jobs available for those with MySQL skills versus, say, Hadoop, should be worrying to Oracle.
There are a number of factors at play, of course, and Oracle is only one of them. For example, there was bound to be a shift away from MySQL as its primary customer base - web startups - discovered the NoSQL world. But a significant share of the blame can appropriately be heaped on Oracle's shoulders. The company, unused to managing open-source communities, seems to have squeezed the MySQL community too hard. And now it's paying the price, or soon will.
MySQL's revenues may be a rounding error for Oracle, but given its stewardship of the open-source database, that's all they will ever be. ®
Matt Asay is senior vice president of business development at Nodeable, offering systems management for managing and analysing cloud-based data. He was formerly SVP of biz dev at HTML5 start-up Strobe and chief operating officer of Ubuntu commercial operation Canonical. With more than a decade spent in open source, Asay served as Alfresco's general manager for the Americas and vice president of business development, and he helped put Novell on its open source track. Asay is an emeritus board member of the Open Source Initiative (OSI). His column, Open...and Shut, appears three times a week on The Register.
All this has happened before, and all this will happen again
It's the same story over and over with Oracle, they buy up a company which runs a project relying on a community of developers. Then, Oracle does something to piss off the community which then goes off and does its own thing. See Jenkins/Hudson and OpenOffice/Libre Office.
THe funny thing is because MySQL is GPL, MariaDB has to make available everything it adds, and Oracle can incorporate if if it likes. And because Oracle is the MySQL owner, it can use its dual license and release outside GPL (and only the owner can do this...)
Not quite. Oracle is NOT the owner of any GPL code that is submitted into MariaDB. So it can use/release the MariaDB code in the GPL version of MySQL but not in the proprietary version. So Oracle cannot get it all its own way.
I suspect that, long term, Oracle wants to get rid of the ''free'' competition that MySQL presented and so doing what it is doing makes sense -- except that people will slowly jump ship. I teach Perl & PHP courses (amongst other things) and am now adding in PostgreSQL into equal coverage/prominence to MySQL (MSSQL & Oracle already there in a small way).
I hazard a guess that people are converting. If you google 'convert mysql to postgresql database' it finds 24,100,000 results. If you look for 'convert postgresql to mysql database' it finds 6,870,000.
saw this coming
I saw the end coming when oracle took over MySQL. Before oracle took over MySQL was to release version 6 which was going to being it up to where postgres currently is. In other words a competitor to oracle DB. Since they took over MySQL has been stuck in version 5 with small changes here and there. I feel MySQL is more like a demo from oracle or a foot in the door to try and get companies to buy oracle DB server. In our organisation we are switching over to postgres now I haven't tried nosql yet need to give that a try.