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Mickos Says MySQL Code Better Than Ever Under Oracle 117

Posted by timothy
from the good-stewardship dept.
jbrodkin writes "Oracle hasn't done much to foster a community around open source projects, but the former CEO of MySQL said Oracle's expertise has helped boost the database to new heights from a technology perspective. 'Many in the community will ... feel that it's not as open and open source as it used to be and that's true,' Marten Mickos said. 'But the core product, the actual code, is in better shape than ever. And I think they will keep it that way.' Mickos, now head of Eucalyptus, left Sun before the Oracle merger because he correctly predicted that the company could not survive on its own."
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Mickos Says MySQL Code Better Than Ever Under Oracle

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  • Seems to like the buzzword "cloud computing a lot". If I didn't know better I'd guess this was a cleverly disguised plug for "Eucalyptus".

    But I will not be so cynical. If Oracle continue to develop mySQL and the underlying code-base improves (as well, of course, the actual SQL and language/database interface as a whole) then that's all good.

    • And, they will only charge $10,000 per user to use it. At least it's a little less than Oracle SQL.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Oracle charges about $2,000 per server each year to use MySQL, and about $200 per user or $6,000 per processor for Oracle (perpetual licence).
        With $10,000 you can get the MySQL Cluster edition (which is the highend version) for an unlimited number of users.

        • Re:The article... (Score:5, Interesting)

          by the linux geek (799780) on Wednesday May 04, 2011 @02:24AM (#36020966)
          Oracle Enterprise is actually $47,500 per core base rate. Where it gets interesting is the fact that different processors are given different "core factors" based on their performance and/or Oracle's business interests that you multiply by the base price; so, for instance, Power7 and Itanium 9300 both have a core factor of 1.0 (full price) whereas various SPARC chips have 0.5 or 0.25.
          • by definate (876684)

            I once tried to price Oracle licenses... I eventually gave up. The rules were insane.

            Now they're charging for MySQL? Is this like Oracle Linux, where you are paying for the "support" or are they properly charging you?

            "It's brilliant engineering and they are under the GPL license, completely open source, fantastically built, a low number of bugs, well tested and QA'd. All of that is fantastic," Mickos said. "But where you see it already changing is that in community engagement, discussion forums, bug databases, online documentation, you see how they are moving MySQL into the same mode as other Oracle products. Many in the community will react against it and feel that it's not as open and open source as it used to be and that's true. That's why you see new companies springing up and catering to that need. But the core product, the actual code, is in better shape than ever. And I think they will keep it that way."

            So, the code is still open, and may be actually improving, that's good. But the support/forums/etc are changing, well that's okay, the community can always run that by itself if Oracle sucks.

            Either way, there's always PostgreSQL!

            • I once tried to price Oracle licenses... I eventually gave up. The rules were insane.

              I had to try and do that restrospectively - management signed a new deal with them and didn't tell IT until 6 months later. This was at a reseller, there were different products there, some priced one off, some by time, some revocable, some not ... what a clusterfuck.

            • by vegiVamp (518171)

              > Now they're charging for MySQL? Is this like Oracle Linux, where you are paying for the "support" or are they properly charging you?

              The community version is still freely downloadable, as it has always been. Supported versions are freely downloadable too, but of course you have to cough up for maintenance contracts. That, too, is how it has always been.

              I don't much look at the actual code, so I can't comment on the quality of that; but more bugs seem to get closed and more features seem to get developed

        • No, they don't charge that (they can't) unless you choose not to distribute your source code under the GPL as well.

          • by Issarlk (1429361)
            You can sell GPL licensed software. Nothing prevents you. You just need to find people willing to buy it while some random joe made his copy available for free on the Net. Oracle probably has a clients willing to pay for MySQL.
            • by anegg (1390659)

              One of the clients willing to pay for GPL licensed software is the US government. There is a belief in some circles in some agencies that any free software must be filled with security risks, but if you pay money for software, it will have far fewer security risks. (Or perhaps the belief is that if you pay money for it, and it has a security problem, you can somehow hold the person to whom you paid your money responsible in some ill-defined mystical manner [which I personally believe is unlikely to stand

              • by anegg (1390659)

                One of the clients willing to pay for GPL licensed software is the US government.

                Sorry! Replace "GPL licensed" with "free" as my comment was intended to apply not only to GPL-licensed software but all types of free software.

            • by PCM2 (4486)

              Oracle probably has a clients willing to pay for MySQL.

              I believe MySQL AB made most of its money licensing MySQL for "embedded" applications. That might mean literal embedded devices, or just any commercial application where MySQL is an integral part of the whole setup, but you don't want to release your proprietary code under the GPL. MySQL AB's interpretation of the GPL was that the only way you could redistribute MySQL embedded in a commercial product was by buying MySQL under a commercial license and redistributing it that way. I think the way they justifie

        • by turgid (580780)

          Oracle charges about $2,000 per server each year to use MySQL

          I thought MySQL was under the GPL? You can't charge for using GPL'd software.

          • Re:The article... (Score:4, Informative)

            by JonJ (907502) <jon.jahren@gmail.com> on Wednesday May 04, 2011 @05:05AM (#36021668)

            I thought MySQL was under the GPL? You can't charge for using GPL'd software.

            MySQL has always been available under a dual license, and you can charge for GPL'd software.

          • Incorrect. You can't charge (other than a modest processing fee) for the source code of GPL'd binary. You can certainly charge someone to receive the binary in the first place, and you're only required to give the source (free of charge) to those that received a copy of the binary from you. You are under no requirement to give source to someone that does not have the binary (though most gpl developers do).

            However, even so.. if Oracle owns all the rights to the source code, then they can remove the GPL at

            • by turgid (580780)

              The thing is, if someone received MySQL under the GPL, they are perfectly at liberty (in fact they are encouraged) to redistribute it to anyone who wants it along with the source code.

              You can charge someone to receive the binary (i.e. a reasonable charge to cover costs and maybe something for your time) but you can not charge them simply to use the software. Obviously, they can't use it if they can't get it in the first place.

              Yes, if they own the copyright to MSQL (in its entirety) they can relicense it a

              • by Pieroxy (222434)

                You can charge anything you want for GPL software. $1b if you want. Your call.

                But when the software is distributed, you must provide the source code free of charge. And you cannot prevent your customer from distributing said source code.

                As far as Oracle is concerned, if they keep on improving MySQL and if they keep the community edition free, then it's all for the best. Why complaining?

              • Probably the same business reasons for paying for MySQL AB's MySQL or Sun's MySQL. Actually, MySQL AB was far worse in their licensing (ie, connecting to a MySQL database causes GPL infection!!!!).
              • Yes, if you recieve any software under a GPL license, you can give it to whomever you want free of charge, or you can charge them as much as you want. There is no requirement to charge only a nominal fee for the binary distribution. It's only the SOURCE code that cannot have a large fee associated with it. No, you cannot charge someone to use the software, but you can charge them as much as you want to receive the binary from you.

                Most people really don't understand the GPL. It's truly amazing how many p

        • Re:The article... (Score:5, Informative)

          by vegiVamp (518171) on Wednesday May 04, 2011 @05:16AM (#36021732) Homepage

          You have no idea what you're talking about, apparently. Get informed before you start whining.

          The community editions of MySQL and Cluster (NDB) are still as freely downloadable as ever. If you want support, you'll have to cough up. I know, it's terribly bad form of them to not support you for free. Oh, except for the mailing lists, on which quite a few of the lead developers and some pretty good DBAs are active.

          As for the Oracle licenses, you seem to be stuck in 1990 or something. Oracle pricing is way to complicated to explain here - even if I did understand all of it - but list price is one hell of a lot more expensive than what you say.

      • Well, hang on; that depends on what license you need. For many users I'd guess that the GPL version would be fine.

    • by codepunk (167897)

      I hope so because mysql runs like ass in the cloud.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I hope so because mysql runs like ass in the cloud.

        How so?

        On several large scale projects I worked on (online games) our servers were pushing (at peak) up to 5000k queries per second.. and this was a relational database.

        Being a seasoned DBA I have found that most database issues (whether MySQL, PostGres, or Oracle) are related to the following:

        1. Horrifying SQL statements written by amateurs that have no idea what they are doing to the server
        2. Horrifying ORM's that uses a cascade of queries to do things that a single query can resolve.
        3. People that have n

        • by Lisandro (799651)

          Someone mod this wise DBA +1 Insightful!

        • by microbox (704317)
          Here here. Large consultancy firms would save their clients money by investing more resources in mentoring and code reviews, which would raise the level of skill of their consultants. Many of these people were not that interested in programming in the first place, and once they got a job, then fitting in, and playing well with the clients seems to be all that is important.
      • by petman (619526)

        ...ass in the cloud.

        I don't know that expression. What does it mean?

    • He said this as the Keynote speaker at the MySQL Sunday event run by Oracle

      So the news item should be Mickos paid to be nice about MySQL by Oracle?

  • Maybe the code is better, maybe it isn't. We may never know!

    And we'll care less over time. Not open anymore, move on. Get over it.

    PostgreSQL will stay open, and stay strong.

    • PostgreSQL will stay open, and stay strong.

      Until Oracle buys them up too.

      I've always preferred PostgreSQL anyway. It never acted as squirrely as mySQL always did for me (personal opinion).

      • Re:Who knows... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by c0lo (1497653) on Wednesday May 04, 2011 @02:02AM (#36020870)

        PostgreSQL will stay open, and stay strong.

        Until Oracle buys them up too.

        Unlike MySql, there seems not [postgresql.org] to be a single entity that owns the copyright for PostgreSQL. Meaning: Oracle would have trouble to buy all the copyrights, probably it will think twice before doing trying to do it (and at the secind round of thinking, will actually stop of even attempting).

        • by Anonymous Coward

          I just noticed that Julian Assange is one of the contributors in that list.

        • Re:Who knows... (Score:5, Informative)

          by greg1104 (461138) <gsmith@gregsmith.com> on Wednesday May 04, 2011 @04:49AM (#36021606) Homepage

          I'm a PostgreSQL contributor. Oracle can't buy my copyright. There are dozens of other code contributors just like me in that regard, working for many companies. It was possible to buy MySQL because most of the code was developed by MySQL Ab, and copyright assignments required for contributions to be merged. See Some thoughts on Copyright Assignment [gnome.org] for more details. That's not the case for PostgreSQL.

          Furthermore, the PostgreSQL community has already been through the process of having a single corporation "buy" many of the top contributors, when a company named Great Bridge hired many of them. The disruption to the PostgreSQL community of Great Bridge failing [open-mag.com] was such that even starting in that direction is actively rejected now. So even if a company did start gobbling up developers one at a time, they would face increasing resistance at obtaining the remaining ones.

          • by c0lo (1497653)

            I'm a PostgreSQL contributor. Oracle can't buy my copyright.

            It may consider buying the rest of it and replacing your contribution.

            So even if a company did start gobbling up developers one at a time, they would face increasing resistance at obtaining the remaining ones.

            It would be when the "second thought" kicks in.

            Anyway, thanks for the reply and, even more, thanks for contributing to PostgreSQL.

            • by tibit (1762298)

              Replacing some contributions is hard. There may be a lot of other code that is arguably a derived work. The only sure-fire way to deal with it would be to freeze the code at a point before the contribution, then do a clean-room reimplementation of everything that was added later. That may be hard to put it mildly.

          • by dkleinsc (563838)

            Part of what the whole MySQL saga should be teaching open source devs is that open source projects controlled by a single for-profit company are usually a bad idea. The reason is that the for-profit company can be bought out or have other business changes which dramatically affect the project. It sounds like PostgreSQL got close to having the same problem, and as a db user I'm sure glad it extracted itself from that.

      • That would probably bring an anti-trust investigation. As long as Oracle is making money with MySQL, I doubt they would want to risk the publicity. Besides if Postgress or other DBF gets that good, open source users would just fork and move on anyway. Its the open aspect that is the greatest strength of the software, not any temporary benchmarks regarding specific code.

  • by ya really (1257084) on Wednesday May 04, 2011 @01:57AM (#36020846)

    Mickos Says MySQL Code Better Than Ever Under Oracle

    I think the founder of MySQL would disagree, since he forked MySQL and started MariaDB. MySQL 5.5 was a long time coming and added quite a bit, but much of what it added was already in the stable MariaDB by the time it came out. Some of the linux distros such as debian are looking to add or switch to mariadb. I switched to MariaDB a while ago and development in MySQL looked like it was starting to stagnate. Not to go dragging out things, but look into Maria, it has quite a few bug patches, performance enhancements, features and such that MySQL lacks and may never have if Oracle splits off community development features from the "enterprise" version.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      There was a mildly serious MySQL exploit announced just a few weeks ago. Not that this is something unheard of but still -- 'better than ever'?
      http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/03/28/mysql_hack/

  • So Sun actually went under?

    • Yeesh, you seem to be quite out of the loop! It feels like it happened in the last 6 months, but apparently it was in 2009 [oracle.com].

      • by Surt (22457)

        My point was precisely that Oracle bought Sun, ruining any chance of finding out if Sun could survive on their own or not. Sun did not go out of business.

  • Better shape than ever? Is that newspeak for slightly less shit than it was before?

  • ... Oracle funded the further development of MySQL?
    And that they made MySQL better that it was?
    Oracle, the leader od commercial DB put money in one of the most popular opensource DB?
    That's possible of course, but it sounds quite weird as far as marketing and sales policies. Ha!
  • by mattbee (17533) <matthew@bytemark.co.uk> on Wednesday May 04, 2011 @04:13AM (#36021446) Homepage

    I've been through lots of version upgrades in the 5.1 series with a couple of our managed hosting customers, and they simply don't appear to be able to make a stable release. One customer's car loan system segfaulted after 600-odd days (surpriiiise!), another seems to break it every 100 or so. The latter had a support contract with MySQL AB and I dealt with them personally - what seemed really worrying was, even though this customer was paying £6000 per year, it *still* didn't seem important to anyone at the other end that a "stable" / "general availability" release of their flagship database was segfaulting. I had filed bugs, with backtraces and sample data, offered them them root passwords so they could do whatever they needed to catch the bug, but no thanks, we can't take control of your server.

    To anyone that might say "but why not use 5.5, surely 5.1 is ancient history!" I'd say - this customer has been through 4, 5.0 and 5.1 and not found a single release that will stay up for more than a couple of hundred days. This customer is a MySQL "power user" who got burned on every new feature that was introduced. Stored procedures, the geospatial functions, massive sub-SELECTS - anything new tends to crash it even more often than before, and he's often had to back out and rewrite features as a result. So major version upgrades aren't considered lightly.

    MySQL is going to need more than a press release to convince me that they have a commitment to high-quality code. I'll continue to plan my installations around the assumption that it dies under heavy traffic.

    • by MemoryDragon (544441) on Wednesday May 04, 2011 @06:29AM (#36022050)

      All I can say is, use PostgreSQL, if you need professional support, there are various options linked from the PostgreSQL homepage.

      • by jedidiah (1196)

        It's probably a mistake to use bleeding edge features in any product of this kind. This includes Oracle's own RDBMS as well.

    • by thijsh (910751)
      600-odd days is really good for MySQL! If you want better stability go for PostgreSQL next time (also quirky, but in my experience much more stable when using more complex queries).
  • oxymoron (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Cyko_01 (1092499)

    it's not as open and open source as it used to be and that's true,' Marten Mickos said. 'But the core product, the actual code, is in better shape than ever

    if it's not open source then the code is in worse shape then before

  • Thanks to them, we now have all sorts of thriving and improving forks. Drizzle, MariaDB, Nexenta, LibreOffice...

  • This article is an advert for the guy's cloud computing company, that's probably highly reliant on MySQL. One quote about the current state of MySQL became the leading headline how and why, exactly?

  • by MadCat (796)

    Wait, is this the same Mickos that first sold out to Sun, then proceeded to rail against Sun for "not keeping MySQL MySQL", then railed harder at Oracle when they acquired Sun, even going as far as to write open letters to the community and stating he wanted MySQL back? That Mickos?

    That Mickos is a greedy two-bit hypocrite with a penchant for playing the victim.

    • Nope, not me. I have not railed against Sun or Oracle, nor written open letters to the community. On the contrary. At Sun I was in charge of the MySQL business. When Oracle then acquired Sun, there was nothing wrong in it. I can admit that I personally did not specifically want MySQL to end up with Oracle, but that's just my personal view. Their acquisition of Sun (and of MySQL) was perfectly legitimate. I was invited as an expert witness to the European Commission and I told them the same.

      Could be that you

    • No, you're confusing Mårten with Monty Widenius. Monty's the one who did the railing and the mailing.

  • he correctly predicted that the company could not survive on its own."

    wow what does the guy have a crystal ball or something? how'd he EVER figure that out?

  • Informix still works fine and has since the 80's.

    Cheap, works better, real support on Linux and it doesn't have to be the RDBMS manufacturer's special distro.

    IBM is a lot friendlier to the open community than Oracle, has ever been, too.

  • Sad given all the better alternatives (from PostgreSQL to the many saner NoSQL databses) around that don't depend on the whims of a psychopathic corporation like Oracle.

    I guess all the brokenness and non-standard hacks are paying off as vendor lock-in now. *sigh*

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