Friday, February 09, 2007

MySQL "Culture Shock"

I just thought I might link to an article on RegDeveloper called MySQL is the company's SQL now...

Go read it yourself, it is rather short, but interesting nevertheless. I especially like the sentence at the bottom: It remains to be seen whether the company fully understands, and can cope with, the culture shock it is about to suffer; as callers change from 'friends' to 'customers'.

This is what I have been thinking about too, when they started releasing enterprise builds more often than community builds (binary builds that is). In the past MySQL always suggested to use the binaries provided by them to rule out any effects that may be introduced by a 3rd party build process or patches. That made much sense to me.

However now they tell you that you can check the source out and compile it yourself. I do not know what happens when I report a bug against such a home-made build. And I cannot really imagine that it would be any more effort to release binary builds for the community edition, too.

Do not get me wrong: As a software developer I totally agree that there is nothing bad in earning good money for professional work. I also completely understand that MySQL wants to grow and get more paying customers (in fact my company is one of those). But I am also curious how well they will handle that new situation without disappointing all the community fans and users that probably led MySQL to where they are now.

From what I have read the community edition will include community provided patches and additions that will not be part of the enterprise releases. While this appears to be a good idea, because more people are invited to contribute their ideas to improve the product, it makes me frown, too. I am not sure what consequences this splitting of the source tree might have. E. g. I could image a little company starting development with the community edition - perfectly ok, because the product they are building starts as an internal tool. During development they might use some nifty community-provided additions that they find most useful for their purposes.

However should they decide to start selling their product and provide the MySQL server with it, they will need a commercial license. However those builds will not include the additions they require, leaving them in an impossible position.

Please take this as what it is: Pure speculation. Probably there will be ways to manage such situations. However I fear MySQLs "beloved simplicity" is going to slowly fade away as their focus on larger businesses grows bigger.

No comments: