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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 the community that will decide which is the official MariaDB release and that release will always be open source."

However, "MariaDB can only evolve if there are companies that are prepared to either do the development of MariaDB or fund it," he says. "The MariaDB Foundation is there to make it possible for companies to easily do this."

Alongside this, the foundation has responsibility to strengthen the community around the project, helping developers understand the code base and keeping an eye on code review and QA.

The foundation is actively seeking sponsors, Widenius says. "In principle, anyone who has an interest in MySQL and MariaDB surviving should contact the MariaDB foundation and ask about sponsoring it, either with money or with resources. That is the best way to ensure that the MySQL code base will survive !"

"We have some big sponsors already, but not as many as we originally hoped for," Widenius says.

"Many of the possible sponsors we have talked have wanted to wait until the MariaDB Foundation has a final governance structure in place. This is now finally done and we expect that we will now get these in soon."

Code committed to MariaDB needs to be under the Monty Program Ab contributor agreement (MCA) or the BSD-new licence. Widenius says that this is so that code contributed to MariaDB, such as bug fixes, can still be used by MySQL and so that companies that have bought MySQL licences can easily switch to MariaDB.

In addition, "if Oracle ever donates the MySQL code to a foundation, like the Apache foundation, we can donate the MariaDB code under the same licence to the foundation," he adds.

MariaDB 5.2 was almost totally developed by the MariaDB community outside of Monty Program Ab, according to Widenius. "Of the 33 people that have commit access to MariaDB, 15 are from Monty Program Ab," he adds, and he expects the community of developers outside the company to grow.

He says he's happy with the pace of development. The team is currently working on the next version of MariaDB - 10.0 (10.0.1 - an alpha version - was released in February). The new version adds multi-source replication, "truly" parallel replication, the LevelDB storage engine and more.

Monty Program, the company established by Widenius to push MariaDB forward, has been focussed on feature development, delivering support for companies such as SkySQL and developer support for MySQL companies.

"One problem we had was that we needed to prove that MariaDB is 'good enough' to be able to attract paying customers," he says. "This was something that took us 3 years to do on a larger scale. Now when MariaDB is going to be default in a lot of distributions it's much easier to attract customers!


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