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Locating the Real MySQL 335

An anonymous reader writes "In a blog post, Patrick Galbraith, an ex-core engineer on the MySQL Server team, raises the question: "What is the official branch of MySQL?" With Monty Widenius having left Sun and forked off MySQL for MariaDB, and Brian Aker running the Drizzle fork inside of Sun, where is the official MySQL tree? Sun may own the trademark, but it looks like there is doubt as to whether they are still the maintainers of the actual codebase after their $1B acquisition of the code a year ago. Smugmug's Don MacAskhill, who is the keynote at the upcoming MySQL Conference, has commented that he is now using the Percona version of MySQL, and is no longer relying on Sun's."
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Locating the Real MySQL

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  • Re:PostgreSQL (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Reality Master 201 ( 578873 ) on Monday March 30, 2009 @08:08PM (#27395977) Journal

    Hey, maybe people have a reason to use MySQL - a product that only supports that db, or developers who aren't particularly familiar with what relational databases are supposed to be like.

  • by syousef ( 465911 ) on Monday March 30, 2009 @08:09PM (#27395981) Journal

    I don't have any idea what the politics behind all this is, nor do I have enough interest to look it up, but it seems to me that if a company pays $1B for code, then it forks left and right and they're left with nothing but yet another version, that's not going to exactly be a good advertisement for investing in open source. While this outcome is much better than a closed source application being killed off, it still would have been much better if differences could have been worked out and Sun had something for their money.

  • by wandazulu ( 265281 ) on Monday March 30, 2009 @08:15PM (#27396061)

    ...whatever is at Look, I'm not trying to be flippant, but when I'm trying to sell the boss on FOSS solutions, I need to send him a link to a site that will give him the warm-fuzzies that demonstrates that a. the tech is solid (typically mention Wikipedia for that one) and b. it's not some fly-by-night operation that will suddenly up and disappear.

    I'm not trying to put the other projects down, and I can appreciate why they exist, but this is the exact reason I'm always being laughed out of meetings where they decide to buy an Oracle license, or a Microsoft OS, those guys have the message down (i.e. marketing).

    I'm trying to be the in-house cheerleader for what can be done in the free/open-source communities and mixed messages just don't fly to a boss who barely skims the executive summary of whatever glossy lands on his desk any given day.

  • by digitalunity ( 19107 ) <{digitalunity} {at} {}> on Monday March 30, 2009 @08:27PM (#27396171) Homepage

    As someone who has extensive hands-on use of Oracle eBusiness, I can say it's a steaming turd with some authority. Having a vertical CRM/order management/invoicing/everything stack is an easy sell to managers, but what they don't realize is it requires significant effort to align it with your business model.

    In short, Oracle is designed to sell and it does work, but only well if you're prepared to spend a fortune implementing it.

  • Re:Ironic (Score:4, Insightful)

    by einhverfr ( 238914 ) <chris DOT travers AT gmail DOT com> on Monday March 30, 2009 @08:41PM (#27396311) Homepage Journal

    Here we have the one shinning open source alternative to commercial databases and it is now faced with an identity crisis because they sold their name to a company about to be bought by IBM and outsourced to China and India.


    I think the two main open source alternatives to commercial databases are Firebird and PostgreSQL.

  • by gothamboy ( 699451 ) on Monday March 30, 2009 @08:56PM (#27396413)
    So, then it looks like Sun acquired nothing. The real IP has walked out the door.
  • by rubycodez ( 864176 ) on Monday March 30, 2009 @09:01PM (#27396475)

    turds work for the big iron companies too. Like IBM's enterprise solution for anything: sell the client a bunch of overcomplicated rube goldberg contraptions that require a ton of customization and services, big turds for the money sewer.

  • Re:Enough already! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 30, 2009 @09:01PM (#27396479)

    If the host you're using requires MySQL, they probably already provide a version for you. If that's the case, this article really isn't about you -- the problem is handled by your hosting provider.

    On the other hand, if you're running a server or using vpslink, you're probably in control of your own database, and can (and should) use postgres.

  • by turbidostato ( 878842 ) on Monday March 30, 2009 @09:11PM (#27396587)

    "The official branch is where ever the big distros decide to pull from."

    May I offer a rewrite?
    The official branch is where ever the knowledgeable gurus decide to push into.

  • What Sun bought -- (Score:5, Insightful)

    by reiisi ( 1211052 ) on Monday March 30, 2009 @09:12PM (#27396595) Homepage

    I think what Sun was trying to buy was a little more respect from the open source community.

    (At least, that's what I would prefer to think. There is a distinct possibility that that purchase price was heavily subsidized by a certain large company who is quite aware that the best way to kill a technical project is to feed it huge amounts of money.)

    Yeah, they went way too far overboard, of course, to actually get that respect.

    But, "'e's not dead yet."

    Setting aside the brainless rumors of Sun being bought, if I found myself in charge of making the purchase meaningful, I'd be looking at spinning MySQL back out into an independent company and bringing back as many of the guys who built it as they can. Add a couple of developers with other, non-MySQL, database experience to the team, of course, but give control back to the original developers.

    Also, don't ask the original developers to give up their independent products.

    The MySQL project needed fresh ideas, and this could be one way to bring fresh ideas in. It'd take a long time to get real return on what they invested, but it would be better than blowing away the whole investment.

    Anyway, even if the main branch dies, there will likely be some useful development from the forks.

  • Re:PostgreSQL (Score:4, Insightful)

    by larry bagina ( 561269 ) on Monday March 30, 2009 @09:15PM (#27396627) Journal

    ACID :).

    I prefer postgresql because of the stored procedures, triggers, rules, plpgsql, etc.

    MySQL 5 sort of has some of that now, but when I las t used it (MySQL 4), I ended up trying to half-ass implement that stuff client side. Postgresql makes it easier to do it right.

  • Re:Enough already! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by iluvcapra ( 782887 ) on Monday March 30, 2009 @09:36PM (#27396755)

    An "Elite" is a person or group that have superlative skills an ability, and are granted enhanced social status on account of this, to wit "I'm good at what I do therefore I should lead/be popular/be recognized." This is probably tolerable.

    "Elitism" is a dysfunction where a person or group uses enhanced social status to asserts superlative skill and ability in order to justify their social status and to exclude others. "I'm popular/leading/recognized therefore I am good at what I do therefore I should lead/be popular/be recognized and there ain't no way those dirty punks over there are as good as us, after all they aren't as popular."

  • Re:PostgreSQL (Score:3, Insightful)

    by thatskinnyguy ( 1129515 ) on Monday March 30, 2009 @10:09PM (#27397027)
    Amen. PHP/MySQL has been a defacto standard for how long now? I mean, it just works. And if there is a problem, it's well-documented. So ubiquitous, well-documented and free... Why would I choose use anything else?
  • Re:PostgreSQL (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 30, 2009 @10:26PM (#27397143)

    ubiquitous, well-documented and free... Why would I choose use anything else

    Because it's of higher quality?

  • Re:PostgreSQL (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DiegoBravo ( 324012 ) on Monday March 30, 2009 @10:27PM (#27397161) Journal

    > Why would I choose use anything else? ... Because a lot of people thinks that foreign key constraints are the best and most important way (after primary keys) to secure the consistency of the application's data.

    Of course, that people probably never wrote a dozen of lines of code, so they never realized that the programmer has one thousand of more powerful ways to corrupt all the application data (sadly, databases are not immune to code bugs despite any imaginative constraints.)

    BTW, that same people never will understand that there exists some thing called innodb; but to be fair, it is a shame that MySQL yet defaults to the isam (i.e. not enforcing FK) engine.

  • Re:PostgreSQL (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Jack9 ( 11421 ) on Monday March 30, 2009 @10:57PM (#27397335)

    And others know any (Wiki) article, online, is equally suspect.

  • Re:PostgreSQL (Score:5, Insightful)

    by coryking ( 104614 ) * on Monday March 30, 2009 @11:07PM (#27397375) Homepage Journal

    And if there is a problem, it's well-documented.

    Good luck finding it. MySQL has horrible documentation []. The whole structure of it is a mess.

    Plus, when you say "and if there is a problem, it is documented". Yeah, that is great, but most of the "well-documented" problems are long-standing bugs for insanely stupid shit.

    It does make me laugh though, because honestly, I agree that mysql is well documented. Every random question [] I google for usually has a hit. And funny enough, the top listing is usually a page here []--failing that, at least on the first page of results [].

    Why would I choose use anything else?

    Because you know better.

  • "MySQL works OK for one-app databases and many people think that is all that is needed. It breaks down outside that area, however."

    You know something is wrong when a discussion of MySQL is dominated by comments about PostgreSQL.
  • Re:*Cough* (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Jacques Chester ( 151652 ) on Tuesday March 31, 2009 @01:39AM (#27398333)

    Was there a reason you didn't just mark the username field as unique in the schema SQL? I can't think of one off the top of my head.

  • Re:Enough already! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by coryking ( 104614 ) * on Tuesday March 31, 2009 @02:16AM (#27398543) Homepage Journal

    but degrading everyone else that has no interest in using it is.

    It isn't degrading. When you clean up enough messes left by people who have no business touching a database, it gets fustrating. Especially when things like this are said:

    how exactly does innodb not take things like referential integrity and error reporting seriously?

    Because InnoDB is only half of MySQL. InnoDB doesn't do fulltext search. If you want fulltext, you gotta go MyISAM. Guess what happens to your cute, cozy referential integrity when half your tables are InnoDB and half are MyISAM? Bye bye! And error reporting? What error reporting? The part where it doesn't tell you "bye bye referential integrity!" and rolls back half your transaction and commits the other half? Or did you mean the part where it automatically adds default values to fields you set not null*? Or were you talking about the part where it thinks invalid dates are valid and doesn't throw an error? Or are those examples only good for Fortune 10(tm) enterprises and not some piddly organization like yours.

    No sir, nobody who is a developer that takes their profession seriously would make a claim that MySQL takes anything seriously. They've cleaned up enough MySQL messes, thank you.

    [rant]*one of my biggest pet peeves of MySQL... when I say CREATE TABLE(varchar(255) blah NOT NULL) please do not add your own 'DEFAULT ""' to the end--it is considered by some to be rather rude! I can spot MySQL schema's a mile away by this single trait. Anything NOT NULL almost always has a bullshit default value. Got a NOT NULL int--it will have a DEFAULT 0! Got a NOT NULL date, "DEFAULT 0000-00-00", which isn't even a valid date! How is that for taking your data seriously?[/rant]

  • by sfraggle ( 212671 ) on Tuesday March 31, 2009 @04:24AM (#27399155)

    Yeah, the article really answers its own question. Sun own the MySQL trademark, therefore they own "MySQL". There may be other forks, but they are not "MySQL". The end.

  • Re:PostgreSQL (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Lord Bitman ( 95493 ) on Tuesday March 31, 2009 @04:37AM (#27399249) Homepage

    why should he modify his language in support of idiots who mis-use terms, especially when the site name ( is right next to the link?

  • Re:PostgreSQL (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 31, 2009 @05:27AM (#27399505)
    Because sometime's life's too short to waste time getting Oracle set up and running.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 31, 2009 @05:30AM (#27399529)

    Worse how? I honestly don't remember Access ever accepting malformed values and silently discarding them and storing arbitrary replacements, or just plain ignoring constraints it didn't feel like enforcing. Getting wrong answers faster is not an improvement.

  • Re:PostgreSQL (Score:3, Insightful)

    by growse ( 928427 ) on Tuesday March 31, 2009 @05:51AM (#27399605) Homepage
    I'd argue that there's a gigantic chasm of difference between the headaches you get with installing and configuring Postgres to those you get when installing and configuring Oracle. I've done both. I'd only happily do one of them repeatedly.

    I'm also curious as to what exactly is more difficult about Postgres compared with MySQL to install? Maybe I've done it so many times I know what I'm doing, but there seems little difference.
  • Re:Enough already! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mlwmohawk ( 801821 ) on Tuesday March 31, 2009 @06:21AM (#27399727)

    Well, we discovered that "elite" is mostly hubris.

    I have a problem with the anti-intellectualism in the U.S.A. and it is reflected by this notion that, somehow, elite or an "Elite," is a bad thing.

    Everyone has the ability to be elite. It takes time, study, passion, and work. You master a discipline, you attain a substantial amount of knowledge and ability.

    Instead of that hard work and ability being recognized, people who do not choose to work, simply dismiss it as "Elitism."

    In the software community, software engineers who will debate the finner differences between using "++i;" vs "i++;" stay away from databases and are almost proud of their ignorance.

    A good "database," or RDBMS, is an amazing tool. If you are "elite" in your knowledge about data access, storage, and retrieval, you would understand why MySQL is a bad database, however, to understand requires learning more functional computer science. So it is easy for the non-elite programmer to dismiss the whole notion that knowledge has any sort of worth by saying it is simply "elitism" to say that one thing is better than another.

  • Re:Enough already! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by |DeN|niS ( 58325 ) on Tuesday March 31, 2009 @07:07AM (#27399963)

    So you want the column to be NOT NULL, and yet you can't be bothered to tell the db your desired default value for that column. What EXACTLY do you expect the database to do ?

    What kind of weird argument is that? Yes I want the column to be not NULL, but why on earth would you just assume that therefore there must be some default value that's acceptable? What if it's also a unique column?

    when you say "NOT NULL" as such, PostgreSQL makes it "NOT NULL DEFAULT NULL" which means that yes, it's going to not allow you to INSERT anything that is NULL and you MUST specify some valid value. That certainly does not imply that a sane default exists, and IF it did, I would have just specified it myself in the first place.

    Now a "proper" db might just moan at table creation time that you're trying to do something silly, whereas MySQL assumes you are silly and inserts it's own suggested default.

    There is nothing silly about having a NOT NULL column with no default (i.e. default is NULL so not allowed). It is a FEATURE of the database to stop me when I have some bug in my code trying to insert a NULL there, just like it is to stop me from inserting a duplicate value, or violate any other constraint I have set.

    Inserting its own suggested default is completely braindead, when I say NOT NULL DEFAULT NULL I want the database to enforce that, and to force me to provide proper data. Period. Putting 0 or '' or 0000-00-00 there is retarded, and it's a complete MySQL-ism.

  • Re:Enough already! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by totally bogus dude ( 1040246 ) on Tuesday March 31, 2009 @09:45AM (#27401175)

    (and indeed then have to check that my INSERT actually worked and check for possible returned errors, coding exceptions etc).

    So you're one of those "programmers" who doesn't check for errors? So what happens when the disc is full and the insert fails, or someone turned the database server off, or any of the myriad other things that can go wrong goes wrong?

    Man, I hate you guys.

    -- sincerely, systems admin

    My personal favourite at the moment is "retrieving list of products failed: query timed out ... pages of more junk ... crawl succeeded!" Yeah, except the search now returns no results at all. Nice error handling.

  • Re:PostgreSQL (Score:2, Insightful)

    by dgallard ( 64808 ) <> on Tuesday March 31, 2009 @10:09AM (#27401525) Homepage

    > My guess is they weren't really buying MySQL
    > for the technology, they were buying it for
    > the community.

    Good point. AND, that is precisely why technologies
    such as Perl and MySQL succeed so well in spite of
    suboptimal even awkward design within the product.

    First, beware of posters here, including me,
    that, as with religious text editor debates, tend
    to like what they know, and what they have used
    the most. That being said...

    I remember the first time I saw the Perl Book (way
    back when) my reaction after a 30 minute skim read
    was "there is no way I am going to use a language
    that has a manual this thick and is so out of touch
    with computer science". Yet now I love Perl and
    am kind of proficient with it. Why? Because the
    community that develops it not only cares about
    the community, they make things easy to do from
    the system point of view: installing, providing
    examples, being pragmatic about over overloading
    constructs in just the right way so that one can
    get things done and get them done quickly, etc.,
    etc., etc.

    Isn't it nice that '', NIL, and 0 all tend to
    have the same semantics in context in MySQL,
    for example? That on the command line, you
    can enter a comment with //, --, or /* ... */?
    Those are trivial examples but they illustrate
    the common sense pragmatism that the MySQL
    designers put into their system. It just makes
    life nicer for the user.

    MySQL designers and community make the right
    choices to support the fostering of the language.
    Postgres (I refuse to use the new name PostgreSQL
    which is a cheap cop out and attempt to leverage
    on the success of MySQL by copying the idea of
    the name) and Oracle do not share that basic
    thrust of making things simple to use at the
    system level. Oracle was first though, and
    is "real", very real. And very solid. So it
    continues to dominate based on sheer user base
    in critical applications and the complexity of
    building a complex solution in the RDBMS space.

    Don't get me wrong, if I had my druthers, I would
    use Postgres. But, for same reason I went with
    Linux and the world went with Intel chips over
    Motorola, it's all about pragmatism and just
    getting things done. I started looking for a UNIX
    on a PC back in about 1985. When FreeBSD came out
    I tried it. It was only when Linux, due to the
    sheer pragmatism of its community attracted so
    many followers and I noticed that friends of mine
    in the research community were going with it that
    I made the decision to do likewise, and have not
    looked back. Same reason I stuck with Red Hat
    after giving SuSE a sold try a few years ago.

    MySQL is to use and, more importantly, EASY TO

    Disclaimer: I have not used PostGres very much at
    all. I have and do use both Oracle and MySQL a lot.
    I tried PostgreSQL (OK, I'll call it that)
    enough to be frustrated by its lack of community
    and approachability. I am sure that if I applied
    myself on some serious project, I could become a
    fan of PostgreSQL. I might yet do that if the
    right opportunity arises. Buy MySQL now HAS the
    community and, like with Windows, people have to
    make a choice that is swayed by the sheer momentum
    since, after all, you need community. It takes
    a village, as someone once put it.

  • by h4rm0ny ( 722443 ) on Tuesday March 31, 2009 @10:44AM (#27402033) Journal

    It's not that much of a flame war. At the time of posting, most of the comments I see in favour of PostgreSQL are saying that MySQL is fine but for one reason or another they prefer PostgreSQL. And that's actually my position too. I enjoy designing databases and that is true on any system. I've done some of my best work on MySQL - it's fine for me. But for a few reasons (which I wont repeat again), I find PostgreSQL more impressive. Others may prefer MySQL and that's fine. If a preference is based only on the advantages of being familiar with one system, then it's not a valid argument for that system being better, but it's a valid reason for someone to use one of the other. This whole discussion has been shockingly civil for /., actually.