“It’s Not Dead, It’s Just Resting!” a.k.a., MySQL, Ethics and Death

In http://www.mysqlperformanceblog.com/2008/07/01/should-we-proclaim-mysql-community-edition-dead/, Peter Zaitsev wonders if MySQL’s community edition is dead.

The title of Peter’s inquiry is somewhat misleading, as the database itself works fine. He clarifies a bit with, “there suppose to be 2 yearly binary releases (which are overdue) and 4 predictable yearly source releases, which we have not seen either.” I thought it was clear that “2 per year” doesn’t mean “one every six months”. It’s been eight months, sure. And I don’t actually believe that MySQL is going to have one source release per month until November, to make up for the lack of source releases. However, it’s certainly possible, if not probable.

The fact remains, however, that if you’re just looking for stable, recent, binary MySQL Community release, you might not find it. MySQL offers two out of three — stable and binary Community releases. Not recent, but I think it’s okay to charge for the most up-to-date version. In my experience only about half of the production environments out there have switched to 5.0, and many are running 4.1 and 4.0 still.

At the low end, a license costs just under USD$600. The requirement to buy a license to get the most recent version is a mere inconvenience, not a business-stopper. It’s not like MySQL is forcing everyone to run on version 3.23 unless they pay $10,000 per license. Charging a modest amount for the most up-to-date version is not a bad thing.

It would be nice to have been aware of that ahead of time, but MySQL as a company has not been so great at organizing and having all its ducks in a row. In fact this is where I hope Sun can really help MySQL out, as it has a reputation (a deserved one, in my experience) of being more highly organized.

Have you heard of Hanlon’s razor? “Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.”


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