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Dead database walking: MySQL's creator on why the future belongs to MariaDB

Rohan Pearce | April 2, 2013
MySQL's creator, Michael "Monty" Widenius, is scathing on database's future with Oracle

"It's my belief that the MariaDB Foundation will do a better job with the code, be more responsive to security concerns, and be more willing to work with the open source community," a post on Slackware's site explained.

"And while I don't think there is currently any issue with MySQL's licensing of the community edition for commercial uses, several threads on LQ [] showed that there is confusion about this, whereas with MariaDB the freedom to use the software is quite clear."

Widenius says that the "simple truth is that there is no reason to use MySQL over MariaDB any more, while there are plenty of reasons to [choose MariaDB]". These include the database's features, security and speed, but also that it is not encumbered by its association with Oracle.

"There are some people who don't trust Oracle and prefer MariaDB because it's not controlled by Oracle," he says. "MariaDB is truly open source - not open core as MySQL [is]. MariaDB is also developed by the community, not just one company," he adds.

Learning from the MySQL experience

Looking back on the experience with Sun and Oracle, Widenius says it's a lesson for other open source projects that they should always be prepared "that someone may try to take over the project and kill it as a way to get rid of competition".

"This is especially important for projects with a dual licensing model where a big part of the income needed to develop the project comes from licensing. It's these kinds of projects that can be bought or killed."

"Another way to kill an open source project is to contract all the main developers and somehow get them moved to other projects. Without the main developers, it's very likely that the project will die," he adds.

The problem was that we never thought that someone would like to buy MySQL to kill it and we never added protection for that Michael "Monty" Widenius

"That we were able to fork MySQL successfully was only possible because we have some people that were willing to spend a lot of money, without big hopes of ever getting it back, just to save MySQL.

"Open source doesn't guarantee that a project can be forked and saved. This is especially hard for an infrastructure open source project that is GPL [licensed] and where a lot of development money came from licences."

The developers around MariaDB have established a non-profit foundation, which owns the trademark for and for the MariaDB server.

"This means that there will never be a need to change the name of MariaDB to something else," says Widenius.


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