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Why You Shouldn't Panic About Closed Source MySQL Extensions 171

Posted by Soulskill
from the time-will-tell dept.
jfruhlinger writes "Oracle has released proprietary extensions to the open source MySQL database, seeming to reinforce the worst fears of those in the open source community who opposed Oracle's acquisition of MySQL in the first place. But open source observer Brian Proffitt urges you not to panic: This dual source strategy really isn't unusual in the commercial open source world, Oracle has already released a bevy of open source improvements to the database, and anyway the EU extracted a commitment to keep MySQL open for another four years when it approved the Sun-Oracle merger."
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Why You Shouldn't Panic About Closed Source MySQL Extensions

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  • I just migrated... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Kagetsuki (1620613) on Tuesday September 20, 2011 @05:23AM (#37453776)

    from MySQL to PG. It was easy. You should do it too.

  • VirtualBox (Score:4, Interesting)

    by AdamInParadise (257888) on Tuesday September 20, 2011 @06:24AM (#37453992) Homepage

    In VirtualBox v4.0, Oracle released the core as an open-source projet and the proprietary extensions as a plug-in. This proprietary extension is free for home use but commercial users must by a licence. The extension is not 100% necessary but does provides some very useful features, such as being able to connect to the "console" of a headless VM. Cool right?

    Well, not really. There is at the moment no way to actually buy such a licence from Oracle, so all the people using VirtualBox v4.0 with this extension in a business are technically out of compliance.

    VirtualBox is cool, but they really need some leadership from Oracle.

  • by AliasMarlowe (1042386) on Tuesday September 20, 2011 @06:40AM (#37454050) Journal

    And, as with OpenOffice, the community will fork the Database and add a bunch of useful features to it.
    Finally Oracle will either "donate" MySQL back to the community or keep it closed source and everyone will move over to PostgreSQL.

    I suspect the binary-only extensions from Oracle are part of an attempt to prevent that sort of thing. After all, if a large part of the user base becomes reliant on non-forkable proprietary extensions during the next few years, then forking MySQL when Oracle's commitment to keep it FOSS expires would be largely fruitless. Moreover, relying on these extensions may also make it harder to port one's DB and related applications to Postgres or other alternatives. Furthermore, a MySQL donated to the community would be worthless to those who need the extensions (and nothing prevents Oracle from making those extensions quite expensive later). Conceivably, the extensions could even make it easier to port to a commercial DB offering from Oracle, if they are cunning enough.

    For this reason, I'd say Mr. Proffitt is utterly wrong: there is much to worry about in these extensions. Each proprietary binary extension is potentially a poisoned chalice, and should be viewed as such.

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