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Sun May Begin Close Sourcing MySQL Features 509

Posted by samzenpus
from the closing-up dept.
An anonymous reader writes "From the MySQL User's Conference, Sun has announced, and former CEO Marten Mickos has confirmed, that Sun will be close sourcing sections of the MySQL code base. Sun will begin with close sourcing the backup solutions to MySQL, and will continue with more advanced features. With Oracle owning Innodb, and it being GPL, does this mean that MySQL will be removing it to introduce these features? Sun has had a very poor history of actually open sourcing anything."
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Sun May Begin Close Sourcing MySQL Features

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  • by poet (8021) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @08:39PM (#23098308) Homepage
    For PostgreSQL :) http://www.postgresql.org/ [postgresql.org]

    Would you like another round of ammo with that foot gun Sun?
    • by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) * on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @08:48PM (#23098412) Homepage Journal
      I used to be one of MySQL's vociferous defenders, arguing that speed, ease of use, quality of documentation, and the size of the community made up for its limitations relative to PostgreSQL. But this is pretty much the end. Sun is clearly determined to destroy whatever's good about it. For small, lightweight projects, SQLite is the way to go, and for anything bigger, PostgreSQL is now the clear choice. I guess it's time to see if PostgreSQL's documentation and tools have managed to get any less user-hostile over the years.

      The one remaining question is mindshare. For example, pretty much every ISP offers MySQL as part of a basic hosting package. No one's saying they have to stop doing that, but are they going to start offering other open source DBMSs in the same way now? I sure hope so.
      • by sticks_us (150624) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @09:12PM (#23098652) Homepage
        I guess it's time to see if PostgreSQL's documentation and tools have managed to get any less user-hostile over the years.

        I've been using PostgreSQL on-and-off for about 7 years now, and I have to say: it's *all* gotten a lot better.

        In fact, feel free to check out (I think it's on Safari) how slick things have gotten, try Korry Douglas' book (forgot the title right now). I think it's a stellar example of book writing in general, and does a very good job of explaining a lot of the advanced features (like clustering, failover, etc).

        I won't miss MySQL one bit--PG rules!
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by debrain (29228)
          I'm very happy to concur. I just tried to put triggers on MySQL databases, admittedly a relatively new feature for the little database that could, and it was a nightmare to manage them. phpMySql didn't have any interface to it, nor did any of the other tools for Mac OS X (which I'm using primarily). I'm not averse to the command line, but there are times when it's just nicer to have a visual interface. I've switched over to PostgreSQL, and its' web-management tool phpPgAdmin allows me to quickly view and ed
      • by Cecil (37810) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @09:50PM (#23098978) Homepage
        Having a good bit of experience with both, I'd say that the documentation and overall support structure for PG is about the same as MySQL these days.

        The only caveat that typically hangs up new users (especially ones coming from a MySQL background) and is not particularly clearly documented is the default authentication mechanism.

        By default (at least on many distributions), Postgres uses "ident" authentication, which means no password is required for database logins on a local socket. What *is* required, on the other hand, is that you must be logged in/running as the UNIX user of same name. Obviously this poses problems for webapps that want their own database user and is generally just very confusing for users who are used to the database having its own independent set of usernames and passwords (which Postgres still does, for remote connections... causing further confusion)

        Of course, like any good database Postgres will be more than happy to handle its own user authentication entirely natively, you simply have to use md5 instead of ident in pg_hba.conf [google.ca]
      • by rainhill (86347) <2rainyhill@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @09:57PM (#23099054)
        Guy n Gals.. Lets just fork the thing.., then we can call it iSQL
        • by Kennon (683628) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @03:46AM (#23101306) Homepage
          Or how about: OurSQL...bitches.

          yeah the whole thing.

      • by burnin1965 (535071) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @11:44PM (#23099878) Homepage

        made up for its limitations relative to PostgreSQL

        All the community, documentation, and speed in the world wont make up for lack of features.

        I'm no dbms expert but when I first started learning about relation databases, wow, seems like 6+ years ago now, it was obvious from reading the features of mysql versus postgresql that there was no making up for the fact that mysql wasn't a real relational database. Since I was learning about relational databases I never even bothered with mysql and jumped right into postgresql. So I guess I'm biased but I never ran into a problem with tools, libraries, documentation, or community support.

        Mysql has made many improvements since then, and I even started to play with it as I've been working on some open source projects which are web based applications and as such may need to support the widely popular mysql. So far its not bad, but it would be nice if their mysql command line tool would do TAB completion as psql does. It always takes me a few tabs before I realize that mysql isn't going to help my lazy ass out.

        burnin
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Alpha830RulZ (939527)
          Um, maybe I missed something when I was snoozing, but how can something that implements SQL not be a 'real' relational database? Seems to me that Codd said, "A relational database is a time-varying collection of data, all of which can be accessed and updated as if they were organized as a collection of tabular time-varying tabular (nonhierarchic) relations of assorted degrees defined on a given set of simple domains." Since he and Date kind of defined the realm, I'm inclined to go along with his definitio
          • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @06:43AM (#23101978) Journal
            When I was doing my second-year undergrad database coursework (2001) it was possible in Postgres but impossible in MySQL because MySQL didn't support foreign keys. It's pretty much impossible to define nontrivial relations without foreign keys, or to get much beyond first normal form. I hear MySQL now has support for foreign keys, but I'd much rather use a database that has had this kind of core functionality for well over a decade than one that has recently bolted it on top of a flawed design.
      • by arodland (127775) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @11:58PM (#23099962)

        I guess it's time to see if PostgreSQL's documentation and tools have managed to get any less user-hostile over the years.
        Buh? Postgres had some really quality documentation before MySQL had much of anything, and a summarized version of it is even available live in the client. Yeah, it's slightly less verbose than MySQL's has gotten to be, but it's certainly not incomplete. It just isn't "SQL for Dummies". (Side note: that's one of the better "Dummies" books ever printed).

        As to tools, I'm not sure what you're after, as postgres has less need for addon tools than mysql, doing more via SQL instead. The only thing that's especially tricky in configuration is pg_hba.conf -- but comparison with mysql's user auth shows the complexity to be worthwhile.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Micah (278)

          The only thing that's especially tricky in configuration is pg_hba.conf -- but comparison with mysql's user auth shows the complexity to be worthwhile.

          Amen. User access privileges positively drive me nuts about MySQL. It is completely inane. Different passwords for the same user for different hosts and/or databases? Guuuuh!

          PG works exactly as should be expected, with the added benefit of hierarchical roles. It may be good to change the default auth method from ident to md5, though.

      • by kestasjk (933987) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @12:32AM (#23100236) Homepage

        I used to be one of MySQL's vociferous defenders, arguing that speed, ease of use, quality of documentation, and the size of the community made up for its limitations relative to PostgreSQL. But this is pretty much the end. Sun is clearly determined to destroy whatever's good about it.
        PostgreSQL is definitely better in terms of being free.
        • No one company owns it; it's added to by individual companies which need additions, so no-one can buy it out and stomp it out
        • No one company dominates support; you can go wherever you get the best price/service, and there's no incentive to try and get you to need support
        • No dual licensing; it's all BSD licensed, which means if you want to take it and close the source for a commercial project you can. If you think you can take Postgres, close source it, and improve it to the extend that people would pay for it, then good luck to you (but I don't see it happening ;) ). More likely you'd want to embed Postgres, or extend it somehow and not have to worry about licensing or pay fees, and with Postgres (as with SQLite) you can.
        So from a licensing perspective PostgreSQL is definitely a good deal safer.

        For the web I started off with Postgres but eventually had to move to MySQL because it has such wide support, but as I use InnoDB I've grown more and more uneasy at seeing Oracle and Sun buy off chunks of MySQL.
        Even putting aside any arguments about performance/features (not that Postgres is bad in this regard), PostgreSQL would be better as an FOSS DB standard, just because there wouldn't be any worries about license/ownership instability.


        However, before we go nuts with Postgres love, I think it's safe to say Sun won't be close sourcing MySQL to a damaging degree; that'd be like killing the goose that lays the golden egg.
        The reason MySQL is so valuable is because of its wide usage, and they'll want to use that to their advantage in more subtle ways than close sourcing and cashing in. The comments so far have been a bit OTT.
      • by Kristoph (242780) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @01:02AM (#23100448)
        But this is pretty much the end.

        You need to get a grip and possibly read for yourself what this is.

        Sun is saying that they may (not yet decided) offer some add on components to mySQL backup that may (not yet decided) use a license other than GPL. The add on in question will be integrated through a backup API mySQL has for exactly this purpose (to enable 3rd party extended backup solutions).

        What exactly do see wrong with that? First, nothing precludes building open source backup solutions for this API and nothing precludes other 3rd parties from building other solutions. Why should Sun not have the same right?

        ]{
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Beefpatrol (1080553)

        I've been using PostgreSQL pretty heavily for the last year or so, and since the version of Gentoo I was originally using had 8.0.12 as the default version, and I am now using 8.2.6, I can say that it has improved tremendously just through those two minor releases. I have also not found the documentation to be significantly lacking. It is well organized and covers everything you need for even a fairly heavily used system.

        I haven't tried doing any of the more esoteric things with it that the documentatio

    • Close sourcing is never good news for anyone...
      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @08:57PM (#23098506)

        Close sourcing is never good news for anyone...
        Tell that to the Chinese. We lost our manufacturing base to them. They source all of our close we wear nowadays.
      • wait a minute.... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by AmaDaden (794446) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @09:54PM (#23099018)
        I know it's all over the story on Slashdot's end but the article it self does not say anything will be closed. GPLed code can be open but cost money. Am I missing some other article? Because to me it sounds like they plan on doing things the Red Hat way. Public free version and Enterprise pay version.
        • by mabhatter654 (561290) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @10:32PM (#23099324)
          but it's backwards of the Red Hat way. With Fedora, Red Hat lets the community run the roost and run whatever crazy things are cool on the tubes. They reserve RHEL for the cleaned up professional version that has what paying customers NEED and they support it. The community gets the warty version with all the lumps in return for it being free.

          Sun wants to treat MySQL like a product. They want to give away the "free" version as a stripped down marketing tool. They want to put new code in Enterprise first, where fewer people will see it. The current model is that Enterprise is MORE stable and less agressive. The value of the GPL version is that lots of people put up with warts because it's free... paying customers won't do that by a long shot. The first time a nasty data killing bug shows up for the top paying customers they'll all jump ship for Sun not testing better.
          • by btarval (874919) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @12:58AM (#23100412)
            "Sun wants to treat MySQL like a product. They want to give away the "free" version as a stripped down marketing tool.

            Yes, this is what Oracle does with Berkeley DB. On one project, we started out with using Berkeley DB. It wasn't meeting the needs, so we started looking at other options. Oracle had us hooked, and started reeling us in. Up until we got to the price tag. They wouldn't offer the support that we needed for their commercial version of Berkely DB, and instead wanted to push us towards their full Oracle DB. It sounded fine until we got to the price. They wanted, get this, 5% of the gross revenues of the product we were designing!!! Not a per-license fee, not a large finite sum for the product, but a full 5% of the revenues.

            Needless to say, we told them to take a hike.

            This is different than from a few years ago. Then they were willing to do a per license fee. But, of course, at an astronomical amount. Plus, this amount would literally change each time we talked to a different salesperson. There was a lot of confusion at the time. Now they've eliminated the confusion, but their greed knows no bounds.

            Sun is welcome in this space, IMHO. More competition is good, because frankly, all of the vendors have serious drawbacks in one way or another.

            The moral of the story is be real careful about the database you select, and your design. If you choose foolishly, you'll end up spending lots of money, when a better design could have saved you from this pain.

    • by K. S. Kyosuke (729550) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @08:49PM (#23098418)
      And for Firebird (http://www.firebirdsql.org [firebirdsql.org]) as well. :) I am going to celebrate! (Or maybe it is that Sun bought MySQL just to sweep in under the carpet so that it will not spoil their PostgreSQL interests? Probably not, but it's a funny idea nevertheless. ;-))
    • by MadnessASAP (1052274) <madnessasap@gmail.com> on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @09:02PM (#23098556)
      Even nicer PostreSQL has an animal mascot, I can see the jokes now: A Penguin, Indian and Elephant walk into a bar...

      We even still get a pronounceable acronym LAPP. It looks like the future is still rosy for the rest of us.

    • by Registered Coward v2 (447531) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @09:14PM (#23098664)

      For PostgreSQL :) http://www.postgresql.org/ [postgresql.org]

      Would you like another round of ammo with that foot gun Sun?
      From the pSQL web page:

      Best of all, PostgreSQL's source code is available under the most liberal open source license: the BSD license. This license gives you the freedom to use, modify and distribute PostgreSQL in any form you like, open or closed source. Any modifications, enhancements, or changes you make are yours to do with as you please. As such, PostgreSQL is not only a powerful database system capable of running the enterprise, it is a development platform upon which to develop in-house, web, or commercial software products that require a capable RDBMS.

      That seems to be the same thing Sun is saying - we're going to add some closed source features to MySQL; the same as pSQL's license allows.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by EvilIdler (21087)
        The current maintainers of Postgres still release new source to the public. Sun intends to hold back some.
        I don't mind some proprietary software, but open source software which suddenly turns proprietary is
        downright uncool. No MySQL on my dinky little servers; PG all the way.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Orion Blastar (457579)
      Yeah I've always seen PostgreSQL as an open source version of Oracle because both of them support PL/SQL. PostgreSQL may not be as good as Oracle is, but it is good enough for most projects that it doesn't have to be. Much better than MySQL anyway.

      I sort of seen MySQL as only being partly finished and more like an open source version of SyBase but without stored procedures and triggers, etc, unless they recently added them and I didn't know it. MySQL was usually good enough for most small projects and web s
  • harsh judgement (Score:5, Insightful)

    by irtza (893217) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @08:44PM (#23098362) Homepage
    didn't sun buy star office and give us the OPEN SOURCE - openoffice.org?

    given the size and nature of this move, I don't begrudge sun anything in its commitment to open source.
  • Last part a Joke? (Score:5, Informative)

    by gQuigs (913879) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @08:46PM (#23098386) Homepage
    OpenOffice.org - no mention eh. :P
    Java - I am running the IcedTea free software version right now
    OpenSolaris - might not be GPL, but it still qualifies as free software... right?

    Of course I'm hoping the first part is a joke too.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by davecb (6526) *

      No, Anonymous just has an axe to grind. MySQL is releasing some stuff in the for-pay codebase first. And I note a commentator below says the backup is in the GPL codebase after all...

      --dave

    • by junglee_iitk (651040) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @09:22PM (#23098744)
      That when RMS himself says that Sun is the biggest single corporate contributor to open source.

      Slashdot's credibility is drowning.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by skeeto (1138903)

        That when RMS himself says that Sun is the biggest single corporate contributor to open source.

        I don't remember him wording it quite that way, though. :-P

  • Comment (Score:5, Informative)

    by Rinisari (521266) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @08:46PM (#23098388) Homepage Journal
    Marten replied already:

    Marten Mickos Says:
    April 16th, 2008 at 17:28:26

    Thanks for all your comments on our business model. I wanted to present here the quick facts around this to avoid misunderstandings:

    In 6.0 there will be native backup functionality in the server available for anyone and all (Community, Enterprise) under GPL.

    Additionally we will develop high-end add-ons (such as encryption, native storage engine-specific drivers) that we will deliver to customers in the MySQL Enterprise product only. We have not yet decided under what licence we will release those add-ons (GPL, some other FOSS licence, and/or commercial).

    Because the main backup functionality goes into the main server under GPL, anyone can of course use the api and build their own add-ons or other modifications.

    Marten
  • -1, Flamebait (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @08:48PM (#23098408)

    Sun has had a very poor history of actually open sourcing anything.

    That's rubbish. The article claiming OpenSolaris isn't really open source bases it on the lack of community and ideology. I'm sorry, but if you want ideology, then it's Free Software you're after, not open source.

    OpenSolaris is definitely open source, and Sun don't have a poor history of open sourcing things. Anybody who says otherwise has an axe to grind.

  • What the hell? (Score:5, Informative)

    by joe_bruin (266648) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @08:55PM (#23098486) Homepage Journal

    Sun has had a very poor history of actually open sourcing anything
    Yes, let's forget about Java, that was recently GPL'd. Or Open Solaris, including ZFS. Or Open Office. Or OpenSPARC (you can download and implement their latest processors). Or Netbeans (and Forte before that, though it was lousy). Or being a patron of the FSF [fsf.org].

    Those guys are such dicks, they never give the community anything.
  • by brianc (11901) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @08:57PM (#23098508) Homepage
    Oh, no they don't. They can't do that to MySQL.

    They can do it to TheirSQL, but not MySQL...

  • Comments from MySQL (Score:5, Informative)

    by martenmickos (467191) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @09:09PM (#23098626)
    Thanks for all the comments on this. We are listening attentively. Let me clarify some facts:

    * The business decision on this was made by MySQL AB (by me as the then CEO) prior to the acquisition by Sun, so this has nothing to do with Sun. On the contrary, Sun is more likely to influence this decision the other way.

    * It is not a quesiton of close sourcing any existing code, nor anything in the core server. Everything we have released under GPL continues to be under GPL, and the core server will always be under GPL (or some other FOSS licence).

    * We will introduce backup functionality for all users (Community and Enterprise) under GPL in version 6.0.

    * Additionally we will develop high-end add-ons (such as encryption, native storage engine-specific drivers) that we will deliver to customers in the MySQL Enterprise product only. We have not yet decided under what licence we will release those add-ons (GPL, some other FOSS licence, and/or commercial).

    * At all times, because the main backup functionality goes into the core server under GPL, anyone can of course use the api and build their own add-ons or other modifications.

    Those are the facts on this. The interesting topic is of course the one of the business model and what the best business model for FOSS software is. I hope to cover that in a separate posting.

    In all of this, you have our undivided continued commitment to providing a fantastic and complete MySQL server under GPL for anyone to download and use. If we for whatever reason would not do that, we would risk losing users to other open source databases or risk seeing a fork of our own product. This is the power of open source.

    Make sense?

    Marten
    previously CEO of MySQL, now SVP at Sun
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Chandon Seldon (43083)

      Thanks for posting and clarifying.

      That seems to be basically what the article says too. I wonder if Slashdot editors actually read stories before posting them with flamebait summaries?

    • by pembo13 (770295) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @09:17PM (#23098702) Homepage
      If this is true, could the editors please alter the article title accordingly? Or at least point directly to the above comment? These articles get indexed.
    • by cynicsreport (1125235) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @10:32PM (#23099330) Homepage

      Thanks for all the comments on this. We are listening attentively. Let me clarify some facts:
      .....
      Marten previously CEO of MySQL, now SVP at Sun

      I didn't actually read any of the points - the mere fact that he posted a comment on slashdot proves that Sun is committed to open source.
      When was last time Bill Gates posted a reply on slashdot?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by pallmall1 (882819)
      Thanks for your post, Marten.

      MySQL has made controversial decisions in the past (such as the SCO deal), but you have always been very straightforward with the open source community about the rationale behind the decisions, and taken the time to address their concerns. Most important, you have always kept your word regarding your commitment to the open source community.

      There are many situations where special extensions are needed by a small or select subset of the general user base (a niche, per se),
  • MySQL & FOSS (Score:5, Insightful)

    by martenmickos (467191) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @09:31PM (#23098824)
    All,

    I tried to clarify the facts in another posting a moment ago: http://developers.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=525246&cid=23098626

    Here I will discuss the business model considerations, MySQL's commitment to Free and Open Source Software (FOSS), and why we made the decision we made.

    First and foremost: we at MySQL firmly believe that open source is a superior way of producing software. You get better quality faster, and you often get better innovation too.

    So it is not lightly that we have decided a few times to produce non-open software, such as the MySQL Monitor introduced some years ago. So why do we do that?

    The reason is that we have an ambition not only to produce FOSS code, but also to be a profitable business that can exist for a long time. Each time we make more money, we hire more developers to develop GPL code.

    If the world were perfect, we would only produce GPL code and we would have a great business that cna fund the software development. But we have found that the world is not perfect. We have been experimenting with a variety of business models around FOSS (dual licensing, support only, simple subscriptions, different binaries for community and enterprise, non-open source features) to find the best one. And we will continue to experiment until we are satisfied. We need to find a model that allows us to produce a ton of great code under GPL while having the financial strength to do all this.

    To get to this goal of ours, we believe we have to be more pragmatic than dogmatic. Call it a necessary evil if you like. Having production add-ons that we provide only to paying customers currently seems to use to be a useful model. Our partners and customers think it is great. Many users think it is great. But not all do (as evident from this thread on /.). I would hope we could please all, but I am afraid we cannot.

    In all of this - i.e. as we experiment with open source business models (as there aren't really any role models bigger than ourselves that we could learn from) - we remain fully committed to producing the core database server always under the GPL (or some other approved FOSS licence).

    In this work, we feel we have been able to produce enormous benefits to the world in the form of GPL software. The MySQL server could not have evolved as much as it did (not that I am saying it has evolved perfectly) if we hadn't had a revenue stream to fund the hiring of developers and others. We have open sourced MySQL Cluster which was an advanced closed-source database engine at Ericsson. We open sourced the Falcon storage engine.

    I can appreciate that many of you are upset with our decisions. It has happened before that the community has been upset with us. But I hope that you can see that

    * we are trying to be fully open and transparent with our decision-making in these areas

    * we have a full commitment to produce the core MySQL server under GPL

    * we are actively listening to your input

    We can probably not please all, but you should know that we are trying to serve our community. We are immensely thankful for all the support and contributions that we have received in our 13-year history. We are hoping that we are good stewards of the MySQL phenomenon, and we hope that you can come to terms with the fact that we find revenue generation a vital part of our mission.

    We may not have come up with the perfect business model yet (and perhaps the decision that is here being debated was utterly stupid), but we are determined to continue to seek the perfect business model for open source software so that we can continue to exist and be strong, and so that other software entrepreneurs can learn from our successes and mistakes.

    Finally, please note that this entire decision and reasoning is something we developed on our own at MySQL AB several months ago, before being acquired by Sun. Sun has not asked us to do this or that. Or in fact, Sun has asked us the opposite - i.e. whether we should not
    • Re:MySQL & FOSS (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Orion Blastar (457579) <orionblastar@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @10:44PM (#23099422) Homepage Journal
      Of course open source licenses allow for some code and features to be released from the open source license by paying off the developers who developed the code and having them sign a contract. In that way their open source developments pay off and they can finally earn an income for their hard work.

      What the community doesn't seem to get is that this is basically creating two versions of the same product. One open sourced and one closed source. It is basically forking off a closed source version and paying off developers to release it so they are finally paid for their hard work and years dedicated to writing code. Just that the open source version now doesn't have the same code and features as the new closed source version has. But that wouldn't stop open source developers from writing new code to put features back in the open source version. As long as it doesn't use source code from the closed source fork of it. For example this was done to WINE to create Crossover Office, WINEX/Cediga, et all. Also Red Hat Enterprise is different from Red Hat Fedora. Just that one version went commercial and the other went open source.

      As an open source developer you actually want this to happen, so that all of your hard work is paid off finally. You want a company to buy out your work and pay you for it eventually. That doesn't make you selfish and it doesn't make you greedy either. I mean you spend years supporting the open source community for free and writing a lot of code without even being paid for it. So they really can't say you haven't given anything to the open source community. While people jokingly call open source developers as communists or hippies, in reality they are capitalists at heart. In the end they want equal pay for equal work. Open source projects are a good way to market their skills and show off their coding abilities and ability to work in a team. Plus it gives back to the community in free software. But the time will come eventually when some company decides the project is good enough to license and use in a commercial project so they sell their rights to it for money. Most of the time that doesn't happen and it continues to be unsupported and open source developers have friends and family members wondering if they are insane, doing all of that hard work for free and it looks like they are throwing away money or flushing it down the toilet.

      There will still be an open source version of MySQL, just that parts of it got spun off into a closed source commercial version. I did a lot of research into open source business plans myself in college. You try to earn money via charging for tech support or donations, failing that you try to get some company like Sun to buy your code and pay off your developers to release the code from open source. But some open source companies sell t-shirts and stuffed animals and other stuff. Any way you look at it, it is still capitalism and still a company trying to earn a profit. You still have stock holders who want a return on their investments. You still have employees that expect a paycheck. It may be free software, but people aren't really writing it for free, they expect a payoff sooner or later.
  • by FliesLikeABrick (943848) <ryan@u13.net> on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @09:34PM (#23098842)
    Looking at the actual link, this is talking about select _new_ features. The /. summary clearly is trying to scare us all into thinking that existing parts of MySQL would somehow be turned into a closed-source product.

    Talk about someone trying to be misleading...
  • mrghemp (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MrGHemp (189288) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @09:45PM (#23098928) Homepage
    The title of this article is a bit dramatic and incorrect. There is nothing in the story about the core MySQL engine being moved from open source to a closed source mentioned in the story. Rather a fancy new backup add-on is being released to Enterprise edition, and possibly added to the community version later.

    MySQL is one of the most popular open source products out there, but they get lambasted if they create an add-on and want to actually get paid for it. Too many ppl react as if they are defecating on a holy shrine in the land of FOSS.

    The title of this article and some of the reactions here strikes me a chicken little "the sky is falling" BS. I love open source software and the general movement, but I hate it when people jump to conclusions like this... and jumping to conclusions like this seems to happen all to often by ppl on /. and the open source community in general. I'd like to see more people showing respect for a company that has done so much for open source and respect the fact that they deserve to actually make a little money along the way.

    I can't help but wonder how many of the people, who treat this story like the evil Sun is going ruin MySQL, run MySQL but haven't open sourced the programs that they've written that access the database... I'd bet a hell of a lot of closed source programs use MySQL as their database... should we scream at them for being evil too?

  • Who Needs MySQL? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anarchysoft (1100393) <anarchy@anarchysof[ ]om ['t.c' in gap]> on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @10:17PM (#23099196) Homepage
    When there are so many good alternatives! [hxfu.org] Check it out.
  • by steelfood (895457) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @10:26PM (#23099284)
    ...the editors can't even be bothered to read the link and verify the information.

    I went to firehose to vote this story down with the reason "not the best". I suggest we all start doing this for all such examples of yellow journalism. Maybe if we do it enough, the editors will start to get a clue.
  • by rossz (67331) <ogre@gee k b i k e r.net> on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @11:13PM (#23099662) Homepage Journal
    MySQL has a few advantages over PostgreSQL. Primarily, it's supported by just about every damn open source package in the world. If MySQL is closed up, OSS developers may choose to drop support for it. Personally, I think PostgreSQL is a better package than MySQL, but I mostly use MySQL because of its compatibility with everything. I won't, though, hesitate to switch if I am not happy with the direction of MySQL.
  • by PinchDuck (199974) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @11:24PM (#23099732)
    awhile. I was hoping that Sun would reverse that trend. It sounds like they are keeping the base package free (for now), but that high end add ons will be closed/commercial. That is fine, but it is also enough of a closed-source move for me to start looking at alternatives. I wish them the best of luck, but I will make sure I do what is best for me and my clients. Maybe I'll use MySQL, maybe I won't, it will depend on license, price, functionality, and community support.
  • Geez Louise (Score:3, Insightful)

    by yomegaman (516565) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @12:30AM (#23100224)
    For a userbase that is always congratulating itself on how smart it is, there sure are a lot of gullible people reading Slashdot...
  • by bonefry (979930) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @01:05AM (#23100468)
    SUN is not closing parts of MySQL, instead it is introducing new features in MySQL Enterprise, a product which always had extra features.

    Not to mention that SUN is not the only one doing interesting things with MySQL ... for example at the conference I saw a presentation on Maria, a MyIsam-based storage engine that supports transactions.

    Also, the features in MySQL Enterprise can (at least currently) be enjoyed by most developers using alternatives ...

    1) the hot backup of myisam tables will be available in the open-source version
    2) the smart load balancer is a MySQL Proxy configured with filtering scripts that you can write yourself in Lua
    3) profiling can be done efficiently with Sun's DTrace

    Disclaimer: I am currently attending the MySQL conference, but I am not affiliated with Sun in any way.
  • Bad summary (Score:5, Informative)

    by headLITE (171240) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @03:14AM (#23101136)
    The /. summary is misleading. It isn't MySQL that is going to be closed-sourced, it's just that Sun will develop additional products that MySQL customers will be able to buy and use with their GPL MySQL server if they so choose. This isn't really news, MySQL AB has done so before, for example with the most excellent MySQL Enterprise Monitor.
  • by Marcus Green (34723) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @05:42AM (#23101758) Homepage
    "Sun has had a very poor history of actually open sourcing anything"

    Get back in your hole Troll. According to the EU Sun is the No 1 contributor of code towards open source by a very, very wide margin.

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