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Sun May Begin Close Sourcing MySQL Features 509

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 K. S. Kyosuke ( 729550 ) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @08:49PM (#23098418)
    And for Firebird ( []) 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. ;-))
  • Re:Close sourcing? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by tgatliff ( 311583 ) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @08:52PM (#23098456)
    As much as these "old" companies claim they understand where the industry is headed, they really have no clue....

    The only thing that Sun will achieve in this change is a fork... Maybe that was the plan all along... The founders of MySQL AB get their big checks, and then create a new company with a forked version of MYSQL.. Brilliant!!! :)
  • 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!
  • by AmyRose1024 ( 1160863 ) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @09:29PM (#23098802)
    I think the article was supposed to scare people. I know some people on /. have a tendency to "stretch the truth" to scare people.
  • by jocknerd ( 29758 ) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @09:31PM (#23098828)
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think MySQL ever had an open source developer community. It was developed by a company and released as an open source product. Unlike PostgreSQL, which really is developed by a community of developers.
  • by cats-paw ( 34890 ) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @09:48PM (#23098966) Homepage
    It occurs to me that buying an open source software company might be a sneaky way to get some good, old fashioned customer lock-in.

    Look for free software program, preferably complicated, with a large user base.

    Close it, and begin charging.

    It seems as though you could get customers to stick around with the right price point. Now you may begin your ad infinitum licensing fees.

    I'm not saying that's what's happening in this case, but it seems like something to evaluate. The two flaws in this idea:

    The customers migrate to another free software tool - which might be difficult to do.
    The program forks.

    Seems to minimize risk a high percentage of the userbase would pay as the path of least resistance.

    The fact that the buyers could get to this point on the (free) contributions of the original authors is kind of annoying.

    Your probably still better off having used free software in the first place.
  • 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 MrGHemp ( 189288 ) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @09:55PM (#23099028) Homepage
    I agree... it seems the headlines and articles have been getting things wrong more often lately... it seemed like the reviewer who posted the story would at least add to the post if they thought part of it was incorrect or misleading... but that doesn't seem to happen as often anymore... I hope /. editors start correcting this, because if the stories become more and more inaccurate... we won't be able to trust /. as a reliable source of tech news. And once ppl don't trust the source, well it's game over.
  • by rainhill ( 86347 ) <> on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @09:57PM (#23099054)
    Guy n Gals.. Lets just fork the thing.., then we can call it iSQL
  • by osu-neko ( 2604 ) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @10:11PM (#23099166)
    Thanks for that. I switched from PostgreSQL to MySQL in 2001 due to some problems I was having at the time, and haven't looked at it since. For a few years I would explain why I thought MySQL was better, but in the last few years I've just pleaded ignorance when asked, since my reason now for using MySQL is just that I've been using it for years and it's what I'm familiar with and had no compelling reason to change. But with this happening, and knowing that PostgreSQL has improved since I last looked at it... looks like it's time to take a fresh look at PostgreSQL.
  • by Orion Blastar ( 457579 ) <orionblastar&gmail,com> on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @10:21PM (#23099226) Homepage Journal
    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 sites and when you needed to upgrade the database to advanced features you went to PostgreSQL or Oracle or even, shudder MS-SQL Server or Sybase. Of course there is always Firebird [] the open source version of the old Borland Innerbase which became the Inprise database and Inprise company after Borland made changes but the database dates way back to 1981. I think that Firebird can replace MySQL for an open source database if people give it the chance. I think they just got a Mac OSX 32 bit version and are working on the 64 bit Mac OSX version. It exists for many variations of Unix, as well as Windows. Under Vista you have to disable the control panel or else it breaks Vista's control panel but they are working on fixing that. The Flamerobin GUI is in alpha but it is being worked on as well. MySQL happened to be in the right place at the right time [] and got the web standard before Firebird did, but now that MySQL is starting to go closed source, Firebird is looking better as an alternative to MySQL. Instead of LAMP we might get LAFP some day or maybe LAPP with PostgreSQL replacing MySQL.
  • Re:MySQL & FOSS (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Orion Blastar ( 457579 ) <orionblastar&gmail,com> 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 gumbi west ( 610122 ) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @11:20PM (#23099702) Journal
    Is there good mirroring of databases? I use a laptop and desktop and appreciate that MYSQL lets my have my wiki with me when I travel because I mirror
  • 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.

  • by Alpha830RulZ ( 939527 ) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @11:59PM (#23099982)
    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 definition.

    In what way would you assert that MySQL doesn't fit this criterion?
  • Re:harsh judgement (Score:5, Interesting)

    by An dochasac ( 591582 ) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @12:18AM (#23100132)
    java not full open source

    Where have you been? Java source code has been available for a long time but after years of people complaining that it wasn't "free enough", Sun fully released Java under a GPL [] 2 years ago.

    OpenOffice not really GPL

    O.K. so it's LGPL [] So what, so is Gtk, most of GNOME and probably 80% of what you and joe-sixpack considers to be "opensource" in "Linux". GPL is just one license. GPL was never fully tested in court and doesn't provide patent indemnity as CDDL does. I'd be happier if Java, OpenOffice and MySQL were CDDL but there would be too much gnashing of teeth from the Linux creationists.

    OpenSolaris i dont know enough about

    OpenSolaris is licensed under CDDL. Look here [] for an FAQ which explains in simple terms why CDDL is superior to GPL.

  • 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 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?

  • Beryl (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Gazzonyx ( 982402 ) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `grebnevol.ttocs'> on Thursday April 17, 2008 @01:21AM (#23100552)
    What about the Compiz, Beryl, Fusion fiasco? That was a fork, merge, (branch?)... I've got svn repos with less confusing trees, for craps sake! Granted, it only lasted, what a couple of months or so, and I'm glad that every was able to humble themselves and work it all out... but it still was a fiasco!
  • by martenmickos ( 467191 ) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @01:39AM (#23100666)
    Thx. We have considered Red Hat's model carefully, and it may indeed be one that we and others could also adopt to 100%. If we reach that conclusion, we will align our model with theirs.

    But we are not absolutely certain that this is the case, and so we are experimenting with other models. We believe that a DBMS behaves somewhat differently in the market compared to an operating system. We believe that Red Hat's competitive situation is different from ours. And we are not fully convinced that Red Hat gets a fair compensation in the market for their enormous (and great) investments and contributions.

    So for these reasons we continue to test out new models.

  • by Micah ( 278 ) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @03:42AM (#23101276) Homepage Journal

    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 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.
  • by debrain ( 29228 ) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @08:13AM (#23102468) Journal

    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?
    No. I'm complaining about the fact that, for example, phpMySql requires you to type the following to view the triggers on your database:

        WHERE TRIGGER_SCHEMA='dbname';
    Let alone, ALTER/UPDATE statements.

    Alternatively, here's what I do in phpPgAdmin: click Table, click Triggers. There's a list. I can edit it by clicking on a specific trigger. phpMySql has no such interface to triggers, and every view, creation and edit must be done by manually typing in the SQL (but, based on the tone of your reply, I'm sure you knew that). Maybe you have time for that, and it's not a big concern (on what terms do you get paid?). For any serious database development, it strikes me as a grotesque waste of time.

    I mean, seriously, the CREATE TRIGGER statement is not rocket science.
    Nobody implied that it was. However, complex trigger statements are what beget the necessity of being able to edit them handily- something that I would imagine you couldn't do with a WYSIWYG (exactly what would a WYSIWYG TRIGGER editor do, anyway?). Wasting 15-20 minutes typing the SELECT/CREATE/ALTER TRIGGERS statement in another editor and then running a blanket update over the whole SQL database strikes me as fundamentally wrong, especially where there is a trivial and effective interface in phpPgAdmin.

    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.
    Who ever suggested or implied that you wouldn't create them programatically? Please, feel free to describe how else you would do it.

    MySQL is far from perfect. But to criticize it for THIS?
    I think you're fundamentally confused about what I was criticizing, meaning you either did not take the time to read my comments, are ignorant of MySql/phpMySql, and/or didn't take the time to think about either before you started ranting. If that be the case and you are fundamentally confused, you've contributed little if anything to the discussion, sounded condescending, acted presumptuously, and been indignant about something that does not even exist (a criticism about the lack of a TRIGGER WYSIWYG, the very suggestion of which reeks of ignorance). If indeed that is the case, next time you consider writing something, perhaps you could do us all a favour and not.

  • by martenmickos ( 467191 ) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @10:33AM (#23104362)
    Thx. Some more comments on the differences I referred to earlier:

    I believe that customers using operating systems will mostly want the latest updates and patches, so on-going support (or subscription) is vital to the the well-being of the installation. But with databases, customers typically want to avoid updates unless they absolutely need them. For this reason I believe that selling a support program (only) to database customers may not be as good a business as doing it to operating system customers.

    Another point worth making is that the business model decisions we make are based not so much on what end-customers should or should not be able to do, but what competitors should or should not be able to do.

    An example: the MySQL brand and trademark is owned by us. We don't mind if end-customers say "I am running on MySQL" but we do mind if a vendor names a product "MySQL XYZ" without our permission. In the latter case there is a risk that end-customers would get confused by the naming. They may think the XYZ product comes from the MySQL company when in reality it doesn't. So we use our ownership of the trademark more to govern what vendors can do than what customers can do.

    Similarly with what is here being discussed - the advanced add-ons for backup that in 6.0 will be distributed in MySQL Enterprise only to paying customers (whereas core online backup will be available to everyone) - we want to make sure that *we* get to decide who can sell and ship such a complete subscription offering to customers.

    But then also, all this time we will continue to deliver a fully GPLd MySQL database server that provides tremendous value to users and customers alike. We will continue to compete for the hearts and minds of developers and users who pay us nothing. That ambition has not gone anywhere. If anything, it has grown, and you will see MySQL as part of many different stacks under the GPL licence.

    We just think that we also must have a way of making money with customers who have serious mission-critical production deployments of MySQL. Of course such customers will not be forced to buy anything from us. They can probably manage without the subscription service, they can build the additional features themselves, they can commission someone else to build them, and they can buy them from any of our partners and competitors who also provide such functionality or service.

    So for these reasons I believe that there is no serious downside either for our users or our customers.

    But time will tell, as noted, and we will be ready to make changes to our business model as we learn more about how this works.

    Thanks again for your comments.


  • Re:-1, Flamebait (Score:2, Interesting)

    by eclectus ( 209883 ) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @11:11AM (#23105126) Homepage
    Sorry for tirade, but I am so tired of people bashing the CDDL, especially when they are probably using a browser that falls under the license that CDDL was based on. CDDL is nothing more than the Mozilla license with the Mozilla specific stuff removed. If you are going to bash CDDL, then I kindly invite you to remove firefox from your system and start using wget.

    Stepping down from my soapbox now...

Heuristics are bug ridden by definition. If they didn't have bugs, then they'd be algorithms.