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MySQL Quietly Drops Support For Debian Linux [UPDATED] 339

volts writes "MySQL quietly deprecated support for most Linux distributions on October 16, when its 'MySQL Network' support plan was replaced by 'MySQL Enterprise.' MySQL now supports only two Linux distributions — Red Hat Enterprise Linux and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server. We learned of this when MySQL declined to sell us support for some new Debian-based servers. Our sales rep 'found out from engineering that the current Enterprise offering is no longer supported on Debian OS.' We were told that 'Generic Linux' in MySQL's list of supported platforms means 'generic versions of the implementations listed above'; not support for Linux in general." Update: 12/13 20:52 GMT by J : MySQL AB's Director of Architecture (and former Slash programmer) Brian Aker corrects an apparent miscommunication in a blog post: "we are just starting to roll out [Enterprise] binaries... We don't build binaries for Debian in part because the Debian community does a good job themselves... If you call MySQL and you have support we support you if you are running Debian (the same with Suse, RHEL, Fedora, Ubuntu and others)... someone in Sales was left with the wrong information"
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MySQL Quietly Drops Support For Debian Linux [UPDATED]

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  • Oh well (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 0racle ( 667029 ) on Wednesday December 13, 2006 @11:37AM (#17223332)
    Is it really a problem? If you worried about support wouldn't you be using a distro that also offers support contracts?
  • Generic, huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Just Some Guy ( 3352 ) <> on Wednesday December 13, 2006 @11:41AM (#17223390) Homepage Journal

    I guess that's fair - my company migrated to supporting only "generic Red Hat Database", aka PostgreSQL.

    Seriously, except in cases where you have no choice about database availability, I can't see a single reason to use MySQL these days. All of their cool features are owned by their competitors, and they're starting to pull desperate financing tricks like whittling away tech support and partnering with SCO. Are people still using it for new deployments, and if so, why?

  • by iamjoltman ( 883526 ) on Wednesday December 13, 2006 @11:44AM (#17223438)
    I see there's already a few comments that the code should be forked. The thing is, what is forking going to do for it? They are dropping support for Linux distros, but that's not saying it won't run on other distros, just that it's not supported. The only way a fork would do anything is if the forked version had it's own support as well.
  • Re:Let's fork it! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Nasarius ( 593729 ) on Wednesday December 13, 2006 @11:46AM (#17223466)
    Why? Is there a problem with the code, or the license? You're free to start your own company and offer tech support and other services for MySQL, and there's always PostgreSQL. But if the MySQL coders are still doing good work, I see no reason to fork.
  • Re:Let's fork it! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Alchemar ( 720449 ) on Wednesday December 13, 2006 @11:46AM (#17223490)
    The problem is support, not inoperability. The software still works, you just don't have anyone to call when it doesn't work the way you expected. Forking the project does not solve this problem. If a third party wanted to sell a customer support contract for it, they could do so without needing a fork. If MySQL started releasing later versions of the software without the source, then a fork would be needed to have a branch that could be supported by another company.
  • by xantho ( 14741 ) on Wednesday December 13, 2006 @11:49AM (#17223524)
    MySQL just said, 'We don't think that your business is profitable to us,' for whatever reason they might have. Well, I'm willing to bet that MySQL support for Debian in the enterprise setting is plenty profitable for some other people.

    The only thing that really happened is that MySQL cleaved off a part of their business and gave it away for free to anyone who wants it. And I'll bet plenty of people do.
  • Re:Let's fork it! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jmorris42 ( 1458 ) * <> on Wednesday December 13, 2006 @11:50AM (#17223544)
    > I don't know that you would make any money, but at least you'd be offering something that isn't currently offered.

    I doubt it. And more important than my opinion, MySQL doubts it and has the sales figures to show it. Companies don't normally kill off profitable products and services, not even evil/stupid corporations.
  • Why all the drama? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by derrickh ( 157646 ) on Wednesday December 13, 2006 @11:51AM (#17223560) Homepage
    Why is this such a sore spot for so many people? Just because MySql no longer supports the flavor of the month distro of Linux, you all throw up your hands crying 'I never liked you anyway'.

    The vast majority of mysql users will never buy a support contract, and those few who do, will probably be RedHat or Suse. (When was the last time a Debian user admitted he needed help for anything?)

    Instead of having to support dozens of distros, Mysql is supporting the main two. It may be Open Source, but it's still a business.

  • Re:Let's fork it! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Drasil ( 580067 ) on Wednesday December 13, 2006 @11:51AM (#17223568)
    Guys, it's time to fork MySQL.

    ...or switch to the excellent Postgres [] which is more open and a more complete SQL implementation than MySQL anyway.

    Expect to see more things like this happening as the IT landscape undergoes it's coming changes.

  • Re:Solution (Score:3, Insightful)

    by PatrickThomson ( 712694 ) on Wednesday December 13, 2006 @11:56AM (#17223642)
    for "support" read "liability when it all breaks". That's what linux support is really all about. Would you want to be a technician personally responsible for downtime and several million of lost sales? Your bosses won't let it happen, because obviously you can't pay it back.
  • Re:Bit misleading (Score:4, Insightful)

    by McDutchie ( 151611 ) on Wednesday December 13, 2006 @11:56AM (#17223644) Homepage
    MySQL (the database) still works with Debian, but MySQL (the support company) no longer sells support for Debian.

    For medium and large companies (which are the only entities that would buy support to begin with), that difference is purely academic. If it isn't supported, it isn't worth running.

  • by Sabalon ( 1684 ) on Wednesday December 13, 2006 @11:56AM (#17223650)
    Chances are that if you need the support they offer, then you are not just running some little fan site using MySQL to store what avatar's people choose. Most likely if you have support for the db, chances are you probably have some sort of support contract in place for the OS as well and the rest of your critical infrastructure. You are probably already playing by their rules using certain OS releases, etc...

    That would be my guess at least.

  • by PHPfanboy ( 841183 ) on Wednesday December 13, 2006 @12:00PM (#17223698)
    > While I don't currently have or need a support contract from MySQL

    I think this says it all for most Debian users. They are either in-house experts, testing the water for their app or don't have a culture of procurement (read: lower budget or just plain cheap). This is not a criticism, it's just a business reality.

    MySQL is a business, unless we want them to go out of business and drop support for everything there's not much to complain about.
  • by chundo ( 587998 ) <> on Wednesday December 13, 2006 @12:01PM (#17223714)
    I doubt that's the point. I'm sure they just decided that rom a cost/benefit perspective, money spent training their support staff on Debian wasn't worth the amount of business they were getting from Debian customers. Which makes a lot of sense to me - in my experience, people that run Debian servers have a more thorough knowledge of the system and administering it, and consequently have less need/desire for software support (yourself included, it sounds like). And assuming that's true, it's also not much of a stretch to assume that someone that interested in the guts of a system would choose something like Postgres over MySQL anyways if they had a choice, since it's had more advanced features for much longer than MySQL has.
  • by dsci ( 658278 ) on Wednesday December 13, 2006 @12:03PM (#17223744) Homepage
    MySQL (the support company) no longer sells support for Debian.

    It seems to me that this decision must be driven by sales or market research indicated there is no market for support contracts on Debian based systems. So, does this challenge the notion that OSS can work in a capitalist world when the real "product" is support?

    Debian based distros are a significant chunck of the Linux market|mindshare. This decision essentially means the combination of Debian + MySQL is doomed in the business setting.

    On the other hand, this does seem to show that there IS a market for support on RH based distros.

    In fact, as I think about it, I think what this is really saying is that they want to support MySQL, NOT the underlying OS. Perhaps they have some data that shows that many of their support calls are really for the OS or other parts of the system. In making this decision, they don't rope themselves into having to support anything but MySQL. They can answer a non-relevant (to them) call with "oh, that's an OS issue - call your OS support provider." I'd say that's fair.

    It also helps them when there is a problem with MySQL on a client system...THEY can call RH (or whomever) support to make sure everybody gets things 'right.' No, the more I think about it, the more I think this actually strengthens the "give away the software, sell support" model.
  • Re:Solution (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 13, 2006 @12:03PM (#17223750)
    Ahh, the good old "who do you sue" chestnut. How's suing Oracle working out for you whenever you find bugs in their database, or if you got bad advice from their support techs?
  • Re:Generic, huh? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 13, 2006 @12:10PM (#17223866)
    What part of "Every nickel and dime hosting company uses MySQL" did you not understand?
  • No need to fork! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Builder ( 103701 ) on Wednesday December 13, 2006 @12:10PM (#17223868)
    There are a lot of calls here to fork the code. I'm a bit wary of calls to fork a project by people who lack the reading comprehension to understand the project. These may not be the best people to direct a project :)

    Just to clarify the crappy summary, MySQL are not saying that their software won't run on Debian or Ubuntu or whatever... It will still run on most OSs and distros, but if you are using Linux, MySQL AB will only sell you a support contract for MySQL if you are running on Dead Rat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) or Novhell (SLES?).

    Get it? Got it? Good!
  • Re:Oh well (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mr_mischief ( 456295 ) on Wednesday December 13, 2006 @12:14PM (#17223912) Journal
    Maybe Canonical should step up and offer MySQL support on Ubuntu.
  • Indeed... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Svartalf ( 2997 ) on Wednesday December 13, 2006 @12:18PM (#17223972) Homepage
    The "who do you sue" line's as old as the hills and, largely speaking, irrelevant because you're never
    going to get to first base unless it's a screw-up of epic proportions. Even then, it's more likely to
    be a colossal waste of your time and merely an exercise of fattening your lawyer's wallet.
  • by stry_cat ( 558859 ) on Wednesday December 13, 2006 @12:22PM (#17224046) Journal
    Except that Red Hat and Suse are not entirely open source.
    What happens when MySQL depends on the closed part?

    Huh? I didn't know this about RH (don't know anything about Suse). Is this really true? Wouldn't CENTOS [] have some serious problems in making a RHEL rebuild if there were some close source things in it?

    Give us some examples please.

  • Re:Solution (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Thomas Charron ( 1485 ) <> on Wednesday December 13, 2006 @12:22PM (#17224056) Homepage
    I have never in my entire life seen a softare company held financially liable for lost sales as a result of a database failure. Please, feel free to cite one single lawsuit if you can find one.
  • Profitability (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Colin Smith ( 2679 ) on Wednesday December 13, 2006 @12:23PM (#17224058)

    I doubt it. And more important than my opinion, MySQL doubts it and has the sales figures to show it. Companies don't normally kill off profitable products and services, not even evil/stupid corporations.
    Just because one person can't do something profitably, doesn't mean that someone else can't do it profitably.
  • by brokeninside ( 34168 ) on Wednesday December 13, 2006 @12:24PM (#17224086)
    If a company holds that it can make a 50% ROI on one product line and a 25% ROI on onther product line (and all other things being held equal) they will put their resources into the line with the 50% ROI until such time as the law of diminishing returns brings the marginal ROI for additional resources being added to under 25%.

    For example, when I was a kid a local pizza delivery chain started delivering breakfast pizzas. They made money hand over fist. But after a few months, the calculated that the additional cost of maintaining a third shift of workers and an expanded breakfast menu would bring in more money if put into opening additiona stores serving the traditional lunch, dinner, late night crowd with the normal pizzaria menu.

    Most likely what is happening is that the MySQL corporation finds that if it spends the same number of dollars training a support tech, those dollars bring in more money if the tech is dedicated to Redhat and/or SuSE than if the tech is also trained on Debian. This doesn't mean that there is no market for Debian support. It means only that MySQL has a higher relative profit from supporting just two databases. The calculation may be different for another company that has a different resource pool. For example a company that already supports Debian Linux, may have a very low marginal cost for adding MySQL on Debian support and, consequently, have a far higher ROI for supporting MySQL on Debian.

  • Re:Solution (Score:5, Insightful)

    by peragrin ( 659227 ) on Wednesday December 13, 2006 @12:28PM (#17224150)
    You know in the software industry that is a bunch of bullshite.

    If that were true then MSFT wouldn't have any money at all as they would be responsible for billions in lost sales annually. Just one Virus through one product line(not even windows but MS SQL) a year would be expensive. Yet MSFT doesn't have to pay so why would Mysql, or IBM, or any other software company for lost sales or data?
  • Who cares (Score:4, Insightful)

    by houseofmore ( 313324 ) on Wednesday December 13, 2006 @12:37PM (#17224280) Homepage
    I've been using Mysql for many years, through several companies, small and large. Never once has mysql support ever been requested / needed -- it's rock solid. What does support conist of anyway, help with sql syntax?

    I doubt most Debian users will care.
  • Re:Bit misleading (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Matey-O ( 518004 ) <> on Wednesday December 13, 2006 @12:53PM (#17224510) Homepage Journal
    I tend to avoid Redhat as they gave me the impression that they were the Microsoft of Linux. I loved Suse, then they got bought by Novell. I moved to Debian as they allowed me to install a bare system in 300 mb with text only and install JUST the parts I needed. Now I get to look for something else? (actually, it doesn't look like it as I haven't needed paid support for MySQL yet.)
  • Re:Generic, huh? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by grahamm ( 8844 ) <> on Wednesday December 13, 2006 @12:56PM (#17224554) Homepage
    It is now catch 22. Everybody uses MySQL because everyone uses MySQL.
    Everyone used WordPerfect, that is until almost overnight everyone was using Word.
  • by Infernal Device ( 865066 ) on Wednesday December 13, 2006 @01:09PM (#17224772)
    My response is: Use what works. When MySQL fails to work for whatever situation I'm in, then I'll consider switching to something else. Probably PostgresSQL, but maybe not.

    Firebird is out, regardless. Configuration is difficult, and I'll never forgive them for their pissing and moaning over branding. It's not just the project devs that have long memories.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 13, 2006 @01:18PM (#17224888)
    Debian isn't really a "flavor of the month". It's a distro for conservative people. And the vast majority is affected and influenced by what they run at work. It's like trickle down economics, but not imaginary.
  • Re:Bit misleading (Score:3, Insightful)

    by epiphani ( 254981 ) <epiphani@ d a l . net> on Wednesday December 13, 2006 @01:31PM (#17225072)
    Well, I'm pissed off by this. We were looking at buying top-end mysql support shortly. Now we cant, because we run a home-brew version of Linux.

    We're technically competent people, but we don't know MySQL inside and out. We wanted support so we could go to mysqlab and present them, the MySQL experts, with some of the problems we have and we could work WITH them to fix them. Now, instead of being able to go to the developers, and PAY them for their time, we're stuck on our own trying to figure things out. This is just dumb, they're throwing out a lot of revenue. I know several large companies that do not run Suse or Redhat, but make heavy use of MySQL. They're cutting off the group of large companies that maintain their own linux distributions in house. There are a surprising number of us.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 13, 2006 @01:37PM (#17225138)
    Hardware drivers. But if MySQL is dependent on certain proprietary hardware drivers, I think lack of official support is the least of their problems.
  • Re:Bit misleading (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Omnifarious ( 11933 ) * <> on Wednesday December 13, 2006 @01:38PM (#17225150) Homepage Journal

    I've always wondered where the "Microsoft of Linux" thing came from. They don't seem to be at all like Microsoft to me, so the comparison makes no sense to me.

  • Re:Bit misleading (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jellomizer ( 103300 ) on Wednesday December 13, 2006 @01:50PM (#17225326)
    Get one system with Red Hat. Put MySql on it get the suport. If the problem doesn't work on red hat and your own. Then call them up and tinker with the one RedHat box until it works and do the same on your box. Supporing every Linux Distro is disasterious for a company. To many of them all with their own quarks it make offering support near impossible. By sticking to a few Distros they can quickly figure out if it is an OS Problem or a MySQL problem.
  • by TheAwfulTruth ( 325623 ) on Wednesday December 13, 2006 @01:53PM (#17225370) Homepage
    Boy that's for sure :(

    USB subsystem changes between SUSE 10.0 and 10.1 produced some spectacular driver failures. New elements inserted in the middle of USB data structs in a point upgrade of a "stable" kernel?!?!? What is stable about that?

    The Linux development and distrribution process has a LOT to learn about system stability. Expecting EVERYONE to ALWAYS be 100% current and recompile EVERYTHING for EVERY distro and then NEVER updrade an installed kernel or libs again (you know to fix bugs or security holes?) without chancing having to rebuild the entire universe or suffer random breakages is completely and utterly wrong headed. :(

    This may have been fine in the good old days of "install and forget". But these days with the need to be CONSTANTLY up on security patches, it's become quite a nightmare to maintain a linux box for any length of time without having to do a complete reinstall because of unresolvable incompatibility problems between the Kernel, libs and software. Doing it by hand is a major recipe for disaster, but even keeping up with a distro's precompiled sets of upgrades is a crap shoot and has resulted in serveral system failures.

    Linux needs stability in a BAD way.
  • Re:Bit misleading (Score:3, Insightful)

    by AmigaBen ( 629594 ) on Wednesday December 13, 2006 @02:03PM (#17225550)
    If you need a support contract for Linux, it's because you have A) incompetent system administrators or B) insufficient sys admin staff.

    If you make a statement like this, it's because you have A) no experience in a real company or B) you do but are still naive as to how your company actually works.

  • Re:Oh well (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Nutria ( 679911 ) on Wednesday December 13, 2006 @03:29PM (#17226984)
    You bought servers that would only allow you to boot signed disc? That was dumb!

    No, in some facilities it's smart. Why? It prevents unauthorized personnel from booting with a live CD they bring from home.

  • Re:Oh well (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ultranova ( 717540 ) on Wednesday December 13, 2006 @03:54PM (#17227466)

    Maybe I'm off track here, but I could certainly understand MySQL not wanting to offer an enterprise-level product for a platform that wasn't also enterprise-level.

    Is MySQL "enterprise-level" nowadays ? Every time there's been a story about databases, people have told horror stories about MySQL quietly corrupting data in database.

    And just what does "enterprise-level" mean, anyway ? Scales to infinity ? Reliable ? Costly ? Doesn't get the IT manager fired when the CEO find out he bought it ?-)

  • Re:Let's fork it! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by killjoe ( 766577 ) on Wednesday December 13, 2006 @04:22PM (#17227978)
    Yes but it doesn't have what people REALLY want. Replication, clustering, failover, case insensitive where clauses.

    If you want high availibility you have to cobble together slony and pgpool (which does not support multi master replication) neither of which is suitable for working over a WAN.

    There is a reason why people choose MySql and that's because it delivers the features people really want first. Even the features are not 100% "correct" they are delivered "good enough" to get "real work" done.

    Take case insesntive where clauses for example. For the last five years or so that I have been following the pg mailing lists there must have been hundreds of requests from people who want to switch over from mysql, ms-sql, oracle, informix, firebird etc for a case insensitive collation option. They just get ignored and told to change all their queries to use ILIKE or *~ or some other stupid non standard postgres only SQL. Oddly enough their primary excuse for not providing it is that it's not a SQL standard.

    So if you using any kind of an ORM and you can not stomach asking your employees or web users to remember the exact capitalization of everything they have ever typed into your database then postgres is not an option.

  • by Jamesday ( 794888 ) on Thursday December 14, 2006 @07:57AM (#17234504)
    There have been occasional issues; I'm actually a keeper of an internal list of bug fixes for corruption issues in MyISAM. It's getting really tough to find and reproduce them these days, as the bugs have largely been beaten back to seldom-used combinations of situations over the years. Still, we do occasionally get new reports (generally of obscure ways to corrupt an index) to track down. I don't recall anything resembling what was described. InnoDB checksums the data pages and hence works well as a dodgy RAM and hard drive detector and we see that regularly.

    If it happened it was probably either a really ancient version or someone ignoring upgrade instructions. Or, worse, downgrade instructions.

    Like you I've really hammered MySQL in production, with a billion or two queries a day and a few hundred gigabytes of data. Generally speaking, it simply works. Which is in part why Wikipedia and most of the other (Alexa) top ten sites on the net are MySQL users. Not at all bad for a database you have to pay exactly nothing to use.

    Still, reality applies, MySQL is software, so MySQL will always have bugs, and sometimes someone will discover a cute new one.

Information is the inverse of entropy.