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MySQL Prepares To Go Public 150

Posted by kdawson
from the bring-it-on dept.
prostoalex writes "MySQL CEO Marten Mickos told Computer Business Review the company plans to go public: 'Now entering its twelfth year, the company has built up just less than 10,000 paying customers, and an installed base estimated to be close to 10 million... When it does go public, MySQL will be one of only a handful of open source vendors to do so. Red Hat, VA Linux (now VA Software), and Caldera (now SCO Group) led the way in 1999 and 2000...'"
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MySQL Prepares To Go Public

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  • by macadamia_harold (947445) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @12:19AM (#17823968) Homepage
    When it does go public, MySQL will be one of only a handful of open source vendors to do so. Red Hat, VA Linux (now VA Software), and Caldera (now SCO Group) led the way in 1999 and 2000...

    Well, as long as Darl McBride doesn't get his hands on the company they should be ok.
  • amen (Score:5, Insightful)

    by battery111 (620778) <battery111@gmaiF ... m minus language> on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @12:20AM (#17823976)
    I think it's awesome when open source companies go public. It allows them to get enough capital to truly innovate, and help prove to the unbelievers that open source IS a viable, successful way to make outstanding software. I hope more open source companies continue this trend.
    • Re:amen (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @12:29AM (#17824036)
      Really? What wild new innovations have come from those you listed?

      Going public means that the companies primary goal becomes to please the stockholders rather than employees and customers. It's nice that the folks who started it up usually get rich, but it doesn't tend to do good things for anyone else.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by egreshko (462434)
        Sorry to disagree with you...but...

        What makes stockholders happy?
        Rising stock prices.

        How do companies like Red Hat make their revenue?
        Maintenance subscriptions.

        If customers are unhappy they will stop subscribing to maintenance.
        If customers stop their subscriptions, Red Hat's revenue declines as do
        their stock price. This makes stock holders unhappy.

        So, the
        • Ramen (Score:5, Insightful)

          by remmelt (837671) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @06:54AM (#17825788) Homepage
          The problem with your reasoning is that stockholders are very bad at long term projection. If they can turn a profit in a short time they'll jump at the chance, no matter what long term fall-out may be. This is true because stockholders don't care about the business itself but about the profit it makes. See, a typical stockholder doesn't care how good RedHat's maintenance subscription service level really is. If they can cut the service in half and still retain a number of clients, they will. This will ultimately be bad for business and it's immediately bad for customers and customer relations, but it will up the profit, so it's done.

          If you would buy stock in a somewhat anonymous company, would you go and investigate what their business practices are like? Do you care about their customer service? I appreciate that there are exceptions, but most likely you won't. Yes, there are people who invest in companies that they know and care about (sports clubs come to mind,) but the majority of investors invest for a profit. If a company can turn a profit sooner rather than later, they will go for it. Most investors won't care about the database, the open sourciness, the service, the customers or anything else, but they'll care about the numbers on the yearly report. There is linkage, but if it's not apparent, if it's not 1-1 related, there won't be much interest.

          Our guiding principle is "Do the Right Thing." This means doing what is best for our staff members, customers, business partners, and communities for the long term, and believing that "right" answers exist. It also means measuring our success, not merely in financial terms, but by how consistently we act according to this principle.
          (From here: http://www.mathworks.com/company/aboutus/mission_v alues/ [mathworks.com])
          I think that is very well said, and I think it's something that doesn't go over well for public companies. MathWorks is still privately held.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by malsdavis (542216)
            Although I agree somewhat with your point, I think you're greatly oversimplifying the issue. After all a privately owned company still has shareholders; the difference is just that not everyone can go and buy those shares as easily.

            There are many different types of stockholder and although I agree going public inevitably opens up the company to the ones just looking for short term gain, its erroneous to think all stockholders think that way (many of the most savvy investors realise investing means potential
            • Re:Ramen (Score:4, Informative)

              by Ash Vince (602485) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @10:14AM (#17826928) Journal
              The point the everyone seems to be missing with regard to stock holders is who actually gets to vote at the companies AGM. A large percentage of company chares in circulation are not owned by people, they are owned by investment companies (banks, etc) who get to block vote all the shares in one go.

              For example:

              Company A floats on the stock market and it share are purchased by Companies B (15%), C (10%), D(20%), E(6%) and a handful of smaller investors (49% total).

              When at their AGM Company A wishes to appoint a new director they have to put it out to vote. But each person gets to vote according to the number of shares in Company A that they own. So if the directors of companies B,C,D and E get together in private and decide who they would rather put in charge, there is nothing all the smaller investors can do as even if they all voted the same way they would still only have 49%.

              Now the numbers I quote above are a complete exageration but it usually amounts to the same thing in the real world. Its just that the other comanies would be made up of 10 - 20 investment houses (instead of B C D and E) and they would not initially all agree. So they would trade favours for voting the way another company would prefer in return for the same thing happening in reverse when a vote came up they veiwed as more important to their business. The have the opportunity to do this as they are still only 10 - 20 fundmanagers who probably drink at the same bar / club anyway.

              Whereas the smaller investors are spread across a much wider geographical location and are much less likely to have the opportunity to meet. They are also less likely to trade favours the same way fundmanagers can as they probably dont own stock in such a wide range of companies so any favours on offer are less likely to be relevant.

              This is usually the way things turn out because most of us do not own shares in a company directly, but our pensions and savings are invested on our behalf. In return for investing our money for us, the investment houses and banks get to use the vote that comes with the shares.
          • If a company can turn a profit sooner rather than later, they will go for it.

            Have you never looked at the track record of a fund before investing in it? I invest for the long term. Who cares if they are up 40% this year if they are down 30% next year?
          • The problem with your reasoning is that stockholders are very bad at long term projection.

            Assume there are two kinds of stockholders. Those who are bad at long term projections, and those who are good at it. Let both start out with equal amount of money. In the short term they do pretty much equally well. But in the long term (by definition) the second group does a lot better. Just to put some numbers to it, let's say that after 5 years, the second group has twice as much money as the first. It could be 10
          • So why do you think analysts do fairly long term forecasts? Most investors in growth companies are looking at the long term, otherwise they would not pay hefty premiums for growth.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      PostgreSQL [postgresql.org] has done far more with far less capital.

      Since you probably won't believe me, I invite you to compare the features of each. Visiting each project's web site is a good place to start. Once you see how much further ahead PostgreSQL is technologically than MySQL, consider how they managed to accomplish that with relatively little capital.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Postgres (pre sql) was developed at UCB, so it was partially government funded. I agree that Postgresql is technologically superior, without the funding and fulltime employees that MySQL AB (and innobase) have.
      • by chromatic (9471)

        Once you see how much further ahead PostgreSQL is technologically than MySQL...

        Are you familiar with MySQL's storage engine concept? It's powerful stuff.

        • Are you familiar with stored procedures? Subqueries? It's basic stuff.

          (Sorry. Yes, I know that MySQL has all those things now, my point is that pgsql had them ages ago. Also, I'm a happy MySQL user. Also also, phppgadmin is nothing like phpmyadmin. Etc, etc)
  • by QuantumG (50515) * <qg@biodome.org> on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @12:25AM (#17824008) Homepage Journal
    Or is that 10,000 customers that regularly renew their MySQL licenses?

    What's the average license cost? $40,000?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Duncan3 (10537)
      $595 - $4995/server/year. Most in the low end I'm sure.

      $4995 is still a heck of a lot less then a full time DBA.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by timmarhy (659436)
        most real dba's have a lot more then a single server to look after. try about 10 or more. a dba's a heck of a lot cheaper.
      • by ScentCone (795499) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @01:48AM (#17824528)
        $4995 is still a heck of a lot less then a full time DBA

        Um... how does paying for the license get around needing a DBA? It's not exactly an either-or.
        • 4995 is still a heck of a lot less then a full time DBA

          Um... how does paying for the license get around needing a DBA? It's not exactly an either-or.

          I'm not the parent poster, but it seems to me that the argument goes along the lines of "if you hire someone expensive to do a job, why not spend a small amount more to allow them to do it properly."

          I hate it when I see expensive, skilled employees being forced to use outdated technologies in their tech-sensitive jobs. It seems like such a waste.
  • 10,000 customers? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mcrbids (148650) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @12:27AM (#17824022) Journal
    I'm not sure how to take this.

    1) They managed to acquire 10,000 customers? Who are these customers, and why would they pay MySQL for a product that's not only free, but has better competitors available for free?

    2) 10,000 customers, with 10 MILLION installs? So the odds are 1 in 1,000 that a user of your product would actually pay you anything? Those are TERRIBLE numbers....

    Ahgh. Conflict. Partly because I just don't like MySQL - I'm a Postgres user and shrug my shoulders as to why anybody would use something with all the warts of MySQL...
    • by timmarhy (659436)
      mysql has some nice things put into it recently that postgresql could learn from eg. paritions and it's distributed abilities. (i use postgresql personally and i'd love to see pg do similar things) I'd guess that they have 10,000 business customers who would want to either modify the code themselfs and not gpl it or have mysql write them customised versions of the db for them. those licenses aren't cheap, they'd be making a healthy profit on them to be sure.
    • by martenmickos (467191) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @12:40AM (#17824102)

      Thanks for the questions!

      The customer count is over several years. Yes, the majority of our users choose not to pay. The current ratio is something like 1 in 1,000. But as you probably know as an open source user, there is great benefit to a project also from the ones who don't pay.

      Those who pay do it for the value-add they receive: production support, scheduled binaries with only bug fixes, the monitoring and advisory servce, etc. From a business perspective the great thing is that the ratio of paid to non-paid is changing and our business is steadily growing.

      We are proud at MySQL to build something that has great value to the FOSS communities and is a great business at the same time.

      Sorry to hear that you don't like MySQL, but great to see that you nevertheless take time to read /. postings about us and to post your own. Let us know what "warts" you see in our product and help us improve it. Then perhaps one day you will find that it serves your needs.

      Marten Mickos, CEO, MySQL AB
      • by nagashi (684628) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @12:55AM (#17824182) Homepage
        1) An admin utility (no, phpmyadmin doesn't count for crap) that doesn't suck. Please, just take pgadmin and make it connect to mysql. PLEASE. MySQL Administrator and MySQL Query Browser work very poorly.

        2) fix Unicode. UTF8?

        3) How about stored procedures/functions with the same name, but different # of parameters? Works great in postgres.

        4) Character truncation when inserting into char fields. (maybe this is fixed now? Last version I used was 5, just before it went GA)

        5) Real standard TIMESTAMP data types.

        6) Get rid of myisam and make InnoDB the standard. MyISAM is a joke.

        Of these, 1-2 are very serious issues which will prevent me from working with it. 3-4 make my life more difficult, but I can get around them. 5-6 just make it much more of a serious database. Something where if people ask me what database I recommend for a project, I can honestly say 'MySQL!' and not have every other developer in the room give me odds looks (currently I usually say Postgres).

        • by B3ryllium (571199)
          I disagree with your slam against phpMyAdmin. I find that it's much easier to use for quick and simple projects than something bloated and ugly like pgadmin3.

          That said, pgadmin3 is a cut above MySQL Administrator. But it's all open-source, so there's always room for improvement :)
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward
          MyISAM is certainly not a joke. Sure, it has its limitations, but for its niche, it works quite well for what we use it for. Bulk load performance makes for a great staging area when you load 250+ million records per day (and that includes everything else we throw at MySQL to process the data). The ability to choose engines optimized for the task at hand is powerful and we make use of a number of them in our design including MyISAM and INNODB. I feel no need to defend MySQL; it works.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by killjoe (766577)
          "An admin utility (no, phpmyadmin doesn't count for crap) that doesn't suck. Please, just take pgadmin and make it connect to mysql. PLEASE. MySQL Administrator and MySQL Query Browser work very poorly."

          Try sqlyog. It's free and it kicks the ass of pgadmin any day.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by kv9 (697238)

          1) An admin utility (no, phpmyadmin doesn't count for crap) that doesn't suck. Please, just take pgadmin and make it connect to mysql. PLEASE. MySQL Administrator and MySQL Query Browser work very poorly.

          HeidiSQL [heidisql.org]. it's sexy.

      • by Hohlraum (135212)
        Marten how do I get in on the IPO? :)
      • by codepunk (167897) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @01:18AM (#17824336)
        Marten, he wants you to add table vacuum so we have to spend our weekends like we do on postgres running it just to keep the database from grinding to a halt.

        Nope, just keep doing what you do best...
        • by timmarhy (659436)
          you do realise mysql requires vacuum just like postgresql, and all other dbs for that matter? postgresql just has AUTO vacuum so that you don't need to do it manually....
          • by headLITE (171240)
            That's not exactly the same. PostgreSQL vacuum frees up disk space used by deleted data; the data stays on disk until you do that and it's not overwritten by new inserts/updates. InnoDB in MySQL doesn't free up space for deleted data immediately either, but it does re-use that disk space for new inserts/updates. You can cause InnoDB to free up this space manually, and yes this is similar to vacuum in Postgres, but unlike in Postgres it's not necessary for the database to work.

            In other words, if you have a d
          • by codepunk (167897)
            AUTO vacuum...yea keep telling yourself that. I have been running production postgresql databases
            for about 7 years now. The large ones I got rid of because it just took too much baby sitting to
            keep the things up and running. vacuum for one thing takes forever to run, often fails requiring me to dump and reload, locks everyone out while it is running etc. I love the feature set of it but
            down time to vacuum a table to restore performance in a 24x7 operation just don't cut it.
            • by Dan Ost (415913)
              So, are you claiming that automatic vacuuming in postgresql doesn't work as advertised?

              What are the limitations that you've experienced?
      • by slamb (119285) * on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @01:18AM (#17824340) Homepage

        Sorry to hear that you don't like MySQL, but great to see that you nevertheless take time to read /. postings about us and to post your own. Let us know what "warts" you see in our product and help us improve it. Then perhaps one day you will find that it serves your needs.

        I don't like that MySQL does not keep my data safely and securely out of the box. Some examples:

        • I need to flip a whole set of knobs [mysql.com] to make MySQL return failure on invalid data. Apparently TRADITIONAL, ERROR_FOR_DIVISION_BY_ZERO, NO_AUTO_VALUE_ON_ZERO, NO_ENGINE_SUBSTITUTION, NO_UNSIGNED_SUBTRACTION, NO_ZERO_DATE, NO_ZERO_IN_DATE, ONLY_FULL_GROUP_BY, and STRICT_ALL_TABLES. No other RDBMS even has these knobs, much less has the defaults wrong.
        • There's no way (that I can find) to completely turn off non-transactional tables. As I understand it, if I forget to tell it when creating a table to make it transactional, it's silently not. If a transaction involves even a single non-transactional table, the whole thing is non-transactional. This makes me nervous.
        • I don't know if it does an fdatasync() at the right times out of the box on all table types. I need ACID, not doubt.
        • When users have no password set, anyone can connect without a password. Contrast to PostgreSQL: no one connects without authentication unless you explicitly say so in the configuration file. But it's unobtrusive because local users can authenticate via Unix domain sockets / SO_PASSCRED.

        I can't take MySQL seriously until this changes. I understand that you have backward compatibility concerns, but that's life - you pay a price for the poor decisions you've made in the past. You might have to go through a long deprecation period before you can get rid of these knobs. At the very least, don't have them flipped this way unless I start mysqld with the --treat-my-data-as-garbage command-line option.

        If you fix this fundamental problem, I'll be impressed. I may not use your product, but I will stop laughing at it.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by headLITE (171240)
          You can't completely turn of non-transactional storage engines, but you can configure a different default engine. If you configure InnoDB as default-storage-engine in my.cnf, then by default your tables will support transactions.

          So in total, all you're complaining about is settings you can actually change easily, either in my.cnf or in the server command line. Maybe I'm missing your point, but what exactly is it?

          After all, *some* setup has to be the default, and you can't just dismiss MySQL because its defa
          • by LurkerXXX (667952)
            In total? Didn't you read the rest of his comments? Strict isn't 'strict' at all. You have to go in and twist a bunch of knobs to even come close. And real databases don't make you twist that first knob to set InnoDB as a default. They assume you actually care about your data and want data integrity. I can dismiss MySQL because by default it thinks data is garbage.
            • by headLITE (171240)

              In total? Didn't you read the rest of his comments? Strict isn't 'strict' at all. You have to go in and twist a bunch of knobs to even come close.
              Yes, and you only need to do this once, outside any SQL session. It's just a matter of how you set up your server, and if you've seen how long it takes to install Oracle you can't really complain about setting a couple of switches in MySQL.

      • by jadavis (473492)
        I think that MySQL could show a little more restraint in the configuration file and other options. It's too easy to have two apps -- both of which support MySQL -- which can't work together on the same instance of MySQL. I think it's better to make changes more slowly and send signals to the users about what the better practices are, even if they change over time.

        Also, the fact that a table can behave differently depending on the storage engine is quite worrisome. If a storage engine doesn't support a const
      • How about making REFERENCES work in a column definition when InnoDB is in use? Right now, you have to go out of your way and create an index on the column, then specify the constraint after that.

        Why isn't the parser smart enough to do that automatically when it runs into REFERENCES in a column definition?
      • Marten Mickos, this is the second time within a few days I've seen you posting usefull stuff on /. Thanks for you time and staying true to geekiness in general, allthough, I presume, you have quite a schedule to keep up to.

        I'm an avid MySQL user. I too don't consider MySQL or any other classic RDBMS the cream of databases concepts, allthough the SAP DB/MaxDB thing and the attempt to make it compatible with MySQL SQL dialect did get my attention.
        The prime reason why I'm using MySQL on a daily basis is that a
      • by mcrbids (148650)
        Marten,

        I'm probably not your demographic target market. Anyhow, technological inertia makes any switch at this point a non-starter.

        However, I will say that based on my various comments herein, you've done a good job providing support for your clientelle.

        I wish you the best of luck.
    • by suv4x4 (956391) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @12:44AM (#17824126)
      I'm a Postgres user and shrug my shoulders as to why anybody would use something with all the warts of MySQL

      Don't you feel the burning irony of posting this on Slashdot, one of the more prominent MySQL users?

      While you're busy with your tiny holy war, people take MySQL for what it offers and builds useful services and sites with it, among those Google, Yahoo, Digg, Apple...
      • Don't you feel the burning irony of posting this on Slashdot, one of the more prominent MySQL users?

        I'd bet not; nor would I. I'd imagine that the grandparent poster is merely someone who likes writing applications against a more featureful database.
        • by killjoe (766577)
          I would not call it "more featureful" I would rather use "differently featureful". Mysql has lots of features postgres doesn't including a cluster table type, case insensitive collation, multi master replication (over a WAN!), etc. It takes an average person five minutes or less to set up mysql replication, compare that to slony for example.

      • by mcrbids (148650) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @01:15AM (#17824320) Journal

        Don't you feel the burning irony of posting this on Slashdot, one of the more prominent MySQL users?


        Not at all. You *can* build great things with marginal technologies. It's just harder to do so.

        Slashdot doesn't face a number of problems that MySQL would fail them on. Slashdot has a rather simple database schema - complex queries and joins are few to none. They don't rely on 100% ACID compliance. They don't use the database to help enforce data integrity.

        So MySQL is sufficient for their needs.

        But PostgreSQL matches in *all* these areas, and still manages to offer solid performance on complex queries/joins. It offers robust and mature ACID compliance. It offers excellent integrity constraints for your data.

        It's not whether or not you can get something to work with MySQL - just like you can build a house with a dollar-store hammer. But why use the dollar-store hammer if both it and the $20 hammer are available to you for free?

        Furthermore, the license behind PostgreSQL is MORE FREE than the one behind MySQL. You can build a commercial, shipping product with PostgreSQL and not be beholden to per-sale fees, as you'd see with MySQL.

        So, again I ask.... Why would anybody use something with all the warts of MySQL?
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by darekana (205478)

          Why would anybody use something with all the warts of MySQL?
          Probably for out-of-the-box replication...
        • by headLITE (171240)

          Furthermore, the license behind PostgreSQL is MORE FREE than the one behind MySQL. You can build a commercial, shipping product with PostgreSQL and not be beholden to per-sale fees, as you'd see with MySQL.

          That's just the old BSD vs. GPL discussion, no point in trying again to establish which one is more free. But consider this: If PostgreSQL was LESS FREE in your terms of freedom, it would be the only Oracle compatible open source database by now. As it is, EnterpriseDB, which is PostgreSQL with added Oracle compatibility, is a closed-source, commercial product.

      • by dfetter (2035) <david@fetter.org> on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @01:18AM (#17824348) Homepage Journal
        No more ironic than that slashdot runs on the .org TLD, which in turn runs atop PostgreSQL.
      • by QuantumG (50515) *
        Allow me to put this another way...

        If you think Postgres is so much better than mySQL (and I'm honestly not debating with you that it isn't) then go start your own open source company around Postgres to provide support services. You should make a fortune and put mySQL to shame.

        We'll wait here till you get back.
        • http://www.enterprisedb.com/ [enterprisedb.com]
        • Someone has tried this before...Pervasive Software.

          They failed [pervasive-postgres.com], but not for the reason you might expect:

          What have we learned? While we always knew that PostgreSQL is a solid product with advanced database capabilities and that it has a very real opportunity to shake up the high-end database market, we underestimated the high level of quality support and expertise already available within the PostgreSQL community. In this environment, we found that the opportunity for Pervasive Software to meaningfully incre

    • by drix (4602) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @12:52AM (#17824166) Homepage
      Well, instead of trolling for Postgres, let's mosey on over to the MySQL website [mysql.com] and see if we can figure out why someone might want to pay, hrm? Ahh yes, here we go, MySQL Enterprise. Mmm. Let's click that [mysql.com]. Iiiinteresting. Says here you get 24x7 web and phone support plus 30 minute emergency response time. Eat that, pgsql-bugs [postgresql.org]. You also get consultative support [mysql.com] from people who spend all day tuning MySQL installations for max performance and reliability. I can't even find the Postgres analogue of that to make fun of. Lots of other goodies too numerous to mention [mysql.com] that might be worth paying for.

      If you're tossing Wankr 2.1 [parm.net] together in your bedroom then MySQL free, pgsql, or even sqlite is more than enough to meet your needs. If you run a large business that relies on MySQL to actually make some $$, then purchasing support is a rational choice. Especially since TCO is still about an order of magnitude less than competition [oracle.com].
      • I've seen some guys at LinuxWorld who were offering commercial PostgreSQL support, and was going to post that link here, but I ran across this one [postgresql.org] from the official FAQ while googling for it and found it too rich to pass up posting.

        Anyway, google for 'postgresql support' and you'll find several hits on the first few pages. A few have dorky requirements like buying a license to their rebranded 'distro' of postgresql.
        • by richlv (778496)
          i congratulate you on a joke that almost flew over my head :)
          if modpoints would not expire exactly before i need them... yeah.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by mcrbids (148650)

        If you're tossing Wankr 2.1 [parm.net] together in your bedroom then MySQL free, pgsql, or even sqlite is more than enough to meet your needs. If you run a large business that relies on MySQL to actually make some $$, then purchasing support is a rational choice. Especially since TCO is still about an order of magnitude less than competition.


        I make money with my PostgreSQL database. My small-but-growing business will pass the $1,000,000 gross income mark this year, with over 30% profit margins. My issue her
        • by headLITE (171240)
          My experience with "paid support" is that people who are essentially hired monkeys and who do not understand what they're talking about do google searches for you while you wait. If that fails, they talk to their managers who then do more google searches.

          See, that's exactly what MySQL support is not. I invite you to go over to mysql.com and have a look at their job offerings, where you can read the qualifications required for a support engineer.
          • I second this comment.

            I've never had good IT support for software, except from MySQL. It was still a bit painful to get to the engineer who could actually make the code changes to fix the problems, but it did happen, and the problems were fixed.
        • by Jamesday (794888)
          The MySQL Support team includes me, first DBA for Wikipedia, Domas, the active DBA for Wikipedia, among others with a fair amount of production experience on big, high-traffic, real-world systems. My own background includes a decade plus of application development work writing applications that worked with Sybase, Oracle and Microsoft SQL Server.

          One thing MySQL Support isn't is a typical support operation. If it was, I wouldn't be working there: I'd be at Wikipedia or doing DBA or consulting work instead.

          Gl
      • by jadavis (473492) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @04:03AM (#17825084)
        Says here you get 24x7 web and phone support plus 30 minute emergency response time.

        Sun Microsystems offers 24x7 PostgreSQL support.

        Eat that, pgsql-bugs

        I've always found the mailing lists to be great. I'm sorry you didn't have that experience. By the way, pgsql-bugs is not a typical support channel, you'd be better off in pgsql-general or #postgresql if you have support needs. Unless you have an actual bug, of course.

      • by rtaylor (70602)
        I can't even find the Postgres analogue of that to make fun of.

        Your Google foo is pretty weak then. I found that the words PostgreSQL Support brought up a number of companies, some of which (Enterprise DB) seem to have some fairly large clients.
    • Sounds about right. In my own experience with free software, about 1 in 1000 downloads pay up. The large companies almost always pay. Small one man businesses sometimes pay. Europeans usually pay. Russians and Indians never pay...
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by grcumb (781340)

        In my own experience with free software, about 1 in 1000 downloads pay up. The large companies almost always pay. Small one man businesses sometimes pay. Europeans usually pay. Russians and Indians never pay...

        In Soviet Russia, YOU pay the customers!

        (Shit, I just made a Soviet Russia joke. Now I feel dirty....)

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by codepunk (167897)
      You mean warts like not having to run a vacuum on the frigging database every week so it does not grind to a halt. I love the functionality of postgres but I don't see it as being no where near as fast or as stable as mysql.
      • by timmarhy (659436)
        postgresql has auto vacuum which does this in the background 99.999% of the time without you even noticing. all db's require vacuum, bar none. this is because when you update or delete a record the space that record consumes is not removed only it's data. if you update or delete a lot of records this can result in a huge database filled with nothing, slowing your queries down.
      • Ignoring your double negative, the only place I have seen MySQL out-perform PostgreSQL is on simple SELECTs, and if that's all you are doing with your database (or even the majority of what you are doing) then you might be better off with SQLite (which takes a little bit of getting used to, but is a real joy to use). As to stable, I wonder if you are using concurrent connections? In my experience, MySQL falls over under heavy concurrent load, while PostgreSQL just slows down.
    • I pay for it. I have several installs where MySQL is the right tool for the right job and it needs to be up, we need the security of vendor support and so does my client (a large US state government).

      I have many more installs where I don't pay for it.

      You said "So the odds are 1 in 1,000 that a user of your product would actually pay you anything? Those are TERRIBLE numbers...."

      I say "So you get 1 person in a thousand to pay you for your product, even though it's totally free? Tell me more".
    • by plopez (54068)
      1 customer may mean more than one install. E.g. Foomatic, Inc. could have 50 MySQL licenses.
    • by kilodelta (843627)
      The customers they speak of are those who bought support packages. And yes, I think they're in for a rude awakening. They dropped install packages for things like Debian, etc. to go with Novell's SUSE which IMO was a very bad move. And I'm a MySQL user who shrugs his shoulders as to why anybody would use Postgres.
    • by ErikZ (55491) *
      Because I can get it installed and working with almost no effort.

      Would love to switch to Postgres, but I just don't get it. And short of buying a book on it and reading up (paying money) I really don't see postgres becoming as easy to install and use as MySQL.
  • by Duncan3 (10537) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @12:44AM (#17824128) Homepage
    Wow, lots of rage filled comments so far.

    Not all public companies are worth as much as GE or WalMart. Vast numbers of public companies exist, and many are only worth a few million. 10k customers paying for support (we all know they need it) is still millions in revenue a year, more then enough to go public without being bogus.

    Public != Billions.
  • The dot-com craze proved that you can make a lot of money on stocks with a bad business model (at least for a while). So the question isn't whether a MYSQL company will be succesful in the long term, but whether there are enough people out there who believe it will to make it at least a good short-term investment.
  • I told them to buy Google and they ignored me. Maybe this time they won't?
  • Hope this proves to other companies that being Open Source and giving away your software for free can in the long run actually be profitable and make you many lovers along the way. Been using mySQL for years and love it. It set the way for free databases for using for projects on webhosts world wide. Good luck to it!!
  • by JoshJ (1009085)
    Is there an estimated opening price for this? I'm not really familiar with how IPOs work, but if the shares are low enough in price to begin with, even someone who doesn't have a lot of spare cash could invest in MySQL- I would love to invest in Free/Open Source software but I also don't want to be pissing half the money I spend on the "investment" on a brokerage firm and related stuff.
    • Is there an estimated opening price for this?
      Maybe it will open at the same price that VA Linux did [yahoo.com] -- but I hope for MySQL's sake that their stock does just a tad better one year later.
       
      • by JoshJ (1009085)
        Sheesh. Google started out at approximately $100- I'd expect something like this to start out much lower. I was thinking something like $20-30, but if it's $200 like that VALinux, that seems like a bad deal.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by KrisWithAK (32865)
      If it was just announced, I don't think a price has been set yet.

      An IPO is an initial offer of stock for sale to the relatively general public -- primary market. Usually an equity syndicate team at one or more investment banks determine the best combination of price and quantity of shares to offer to maximize the capital raised for the company, while still making the value attractive to investors. Besides taking a cut of the capital raised, the banks might also buy some of the shares themselves before/aft
  • Would it be possible for this IPO to be run Google-style? I don't remember the details, but slashdotters surely remember the story. There was a big online auction instead of a traditional IPO, so that investors could deal (almost, I guess) directly with Google.

    Is it that only a very high-profile company like Google can make that model work?
  • IMO.
    The more I learn about how public companies are run, the less I want to work for one. Some reasons:

    1) You become subject to the whims of the stock market, and the stock market is not the economy. If you ignore the market at best the shareholders hammer you, at worst the SEC shows up on yor doorstep.

    2)What is good for the company may not be good for the markey value. E.g. long term R&D may be cut to meet quarterly earnings estimates.

    3) The regulations you labor under may focre your decsion making. E.
    • by kebes (861706)
      You make some good points. However let me just point out that private ownership has its own set of problems.

      Beware: Anecdotal evidence follows!

      A guy I know (now retired) worked as management in both private and public companies over the years. At one privately owned company (a medium-sized business owned by a couple of family members, sales in the millions), the place was severely mis-managed due to the fact that it was private. The problem was that the owner wanted to "do the right thing" which often came
  • With Oracle's plans on stealing business looming, investors are going to question dropping money into a company like this. I think Oracle should just release the standard edition for free without support and forget its dreams of trying to hijack other company's products. Ellison is starting to grasp at straws.

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