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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?
  • 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.
  • by andersbergh (884714) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @08:45PM (#23098372)
    How could you fork code that hasn't been released in the first place?
  • -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.

  • 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 Mrs. Grundy (680212) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @08:51PM (#23098438) Homepage
    It's not just going to piss off people relying on MYSQL, it should REALLY piss off the people who with a sense of open source community built it. Is this the new way for business to embrace OSS--to let all the cute little developers work on a project until it is stable and successful and then when the kids have had enough fun let the adults take over and transistion it away from OSS. This is very discouraging.
  • by davecb (6526) * <davec-b@rogers.com> on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @08:56PM (#23098496) Homepage Journal

    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 Anthony Boyd (242971) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @09:08PM (#23098612) Homepage
    We do get to keep what we made. If it's under the GPL, we can always fork it into a new Open Source product called OurSQL. It's just that we won't be able to integrate any of their proprietary new features that are NOT under the GPL. But, hey, who needs 'em for that? If Open Source could get it this far, odds are good Open Source can do even more.
  • 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.
  • by liquidpele (663430) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @09:15PM (#23098672) Journal
    simply put, it's harder for a person new to databases to jump into. MySQL kinda holds your hand with phpmyadmin and it's other admin tools. PG has pgadmin (but not as featureful) and by default installs where you can't access the DB until you su as the postres user and give out permissions. Are they *trying* to make things hard??
  • by Chandon Seldon (43083) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @09:17PM (#23098690) Homepage

    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 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.
  • 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:harsh judgement (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nurb432 (527695) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @09:31PM (#23098826) Homepage Journal
    And don't forget Netbeans.. Oh, and SPARC..

  • 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?

  • by _KiTA_ (241027) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @09:55PM (#23099026) Homepage

    simply put, it's harder for a person new to databases to jump into. MySQL kinda holds your hand with phpmyadmin and it's other admin tools. PG has pgadmin (but not as featureful) and by default installs where you can't access the DB until you su as the postres user and give out permissions. Are they *trying* to make things hard??
    So... if they're both open source, why not just port phpmyadmin to PG? Would it really be that hard?
  • by EvilIdler (21087) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @09:59PM (#23099066)
    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.
  • THere's an appropriate saying about getting free donuts and complaining about the holes...
  • by CastrTroy (595695) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @10:24PM (#23099260) Homepage
    It was the only version of SQL server available until 2005 came out, only 3 year ago. And even then, many companies are still using SQL server 2000.
  • 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.
  • Hmm, I think you have the adults/kids analogy all bass-ackwards.

    This is more like the adult teaching a kid about sharing by playing with a toy with the child. Eventually, the kid's gonna snatch it off the adult, clutch it to his chest possessively and and yell "MINE!"

    I solved that with my 3 YO daughter by taking the batteries out of her toy and telling her that the toy is hers, but the batteries were mine. When she realised that the toy didn't work without the batteries, she understood the meaning of sharing.

  • 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 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?
  • by spun (1352) <loverevolutionary @ y a hoo.com> on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @10:37PM (#23099380) Journal

    It's not that they're phasing them out of the GPL'd branch; these are new features that were never GPL'd in the first place.
    Ah, well that's not so bad then. Their money, their choice. Plenty of companies do that and we don't generally come down on them.
  • by jedidiah (1196) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @10:43PM (#23099410) Homepage
    No, it's not "sensationalistic". It's one of those things that helps
    confirms the fact that mySQL isn't some place to keep your data if
    you are serious about protecting it. Backing your database without
    causing a total outtage is not a "minor or peripheral" feature.
    Neither is the ability to recover all transactions that have occured
    between your last backup and the point of your "disaster".

    Sun is intentionally hamstringing the libre version of mySQL with this
    sort of shenanigan.

    It's time to fork.
  • by Heembo (916647) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @11:01PM (#23099576) Journal
    Make your life easier, just fork the backup stuff. The vast majority of MySQL is staying open source - Sun needs the free coders. It's just the backup stuff that Sun wants to privatize.
  • by rossz (67331) <ogre.geekbiker@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.
  • Re:What the hell? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @11:18PM (#23099690)
    The reason is completely irrelevant. And Java is massively popular and hasn't been eclipsed by anything. .NET isn't anywhere close.
  • 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.
  • by encoderer (1060616) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @11:43PM (#23099864)
    Are you seriously complaining about the fact that 3rd party tools don't give you WYSIWYG support for triggers, something that you can control entirely by simply writing a query?

    I mean, seriously, the CREATE TRIGGER statement is not rocket science.

    Besides, creating them programatically is just better business. I can keep a db_setup_triggers.sql in source control and make it part of automatic builds.

    MySQL is far from perfect. But to criticize it for THIS?
  • by agendi (684385) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @11:56PM (#23099954)

    The one remaining question is mindshare. For example, pretty much every ISP offers MySQL as part of a basic hosting package.

    This is probably what makes it so damn attractive. Taking control of what people have come to rely on, even in tiny ways, makes them either beholden to you or new enemies.

  • by pallmall1 (882819) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @12:02AM (#23100002)
    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), but would not really be of use to the rest. As long as things like bug-fixes and identical add-on capability (i.e. you can write your own equivalent add ons) remain in the community edition, maybe your business model will work. Perhaps the "secret" recipe for the open-source business model isn't really "secret" at all, and has been staring at everyone all the time -- just be open and honest with the community, and honor your commitments to the same.

    Seems to me like that's what you're doing.
  • Re:harsh judgement (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Alpha830RulZ (939527) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @12:09AM (#23100050)
    Java is pretty neat, too.

    I do like NetBeans.
  • by skeeto (1138903) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @12:12AM (#23100082)

    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

  • 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 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.
  • Re:harsh judgement (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Nazlfrag (1035012) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @12:37AM (#23100262) Journal
    I'd like you to try to name another company off the top of your head that has contributed to OSS like Sun has. They not only open source this stuff but actively develop and maintain it and understand that being the first stop for support and services they provide (like online backup features in their Enterprise tools) is the reward they receive for this generous GPLing of their codebase. GP is right, article is a troll.
  • by burnin1965 (535071) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @01:57AM (#23100762) Homepage

    It does not enforce the database schema

    Well stated. :)

    When your learning about referential integrity but the RDBMS doesn't support it your stuck in a conundrum. Unless you choose an RDBMS that actually does its job of keeping the database relational.
  • by Kymermosst (33885) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @02:06AM (#23100806) Journal
    Can you please point me to GPLed Red Hat Network Satellite server srouce code? Despite this article [arstechnica.com], it doesn't seem very easy to find.

    Thanks!

  • by elp (45629) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @02:47AM (#23101006)
    Speaking as the owner of a mid-size hosting company, I'd say yes definitely. We're whores, we'll sell whatever the customers want.

    Right now there's zero demand for postgresql, I've got thousands and thousands of mysql sites but only a handful of postgresql ones. The instant that starts to change I'll start including postgresql in the entry level packages because I know my competitors be will too.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 17, 2008 @04:01AM (#23101364)
    "Sun has had a very poor history of actually open sourcing anything."

    Really, is Java not under GPL ? What about OpenOffice ? What about Netbeans ? Glassfish ? OpenDS ? ...

    Can anybody name a company (nor a .org) with more opensourced project than Sun ?

    Please, correct/moderate this misleading part of the article too.
  • by jimicus (737525) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @04:24AM (#23101450)

    well, yes but, we wanna have all that new features OPEN too.. imagine RedHat tomorrow saying, "yo guys, RH engineers gonna add new advanced features closed source.."

    this is not good, not good at al...
    EVERY commercial Linux distribution has parts which may or may not be open source, but if they are open they're certainly open to the extent that the GPL is.

    Ubuntu has Landscape, a tool for managing a number of Ubuntu desktops. Only available if you're paying Canonical for support.

    SuSE plugs into ZenWorks - most certainly not F/OSS.

    RHEL has Fedora Directory Server (albeit rebranded as Red Hat). That one's open source but such an absolute dog to set up that you'd need your head examined if you tried doing it any way other than "throw money at Red Hat".

    End of the day, lots of F/OSS projects have "Free" and "Commercial" versions, where the commercial version costs money and comes with a few extra bells & whistles. Just off the top of my head, there's Smoothwall, KnowledgeTree, any number of Exchange alternatives (free but if you want full Exchange-like functionality complete with Outlook integration it costs money) and ZenOSS. It seems to work as a business model, I can well understand Sun adopting it.
  • Re:What the hell? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by shutdown -p now (807394) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @05:17AM (#23101670) Journal

    And Java is massively popular and hasn't been eclipsed by anything. .NET isn't anywhere close.
    Careful there, lest you delude yourself. Yes, Java is still ahead by a sizable margin, but have you seen the trends? .NET is catching up quickly, with Microsoft playing its "one vendor offering integrated solutions for everything" card.

    But hey, it's always good to have some real competition there. At least that way Sun is forced to actually add major new features to Java at a reasonable pace.

  • 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.

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