What If?

What if last week’s announcement by MySQL had been the following?

Some major MySQL distributors have brought some issues to our attention. These distributors have been legally distributing the Enterprise version of MySQL to folks that do not have a MySQL support contract, without their knowledge or consent.

When a user installs an open source operating system and includes MySQL, should that user get the Community version or the Enterprise version? Since the source code was split back in October 2006, MySQL AB has felt that users should use the Enterprise version only if they intend to. We have made the source easily downloadable, so folks that want to use Enterprise, are able to use Enterprise.

However, given that distributors have been doling out Enterprise to unsuspecting users, we decided to change a few things. Firstly, we recognize that folks may be downloading Enterprise because they do not understand that Community is what they need. MySQL has very good binary builds available, with very little to be gained by users compiling their own binaries. We hope that folks have not been frustrated by a build process when they could have downloaded Community.

Secondly, the MySQL distributors have brought about some issues which would need to be fixed if we want them to distribute MySQL Community. Those issues are:

1) Scheduled releases of MySQL Community code — we will now schedule Community code releases 4 times per year, to meet this request. In addition, we will release binaries for Community twice a year, as needed.

2) Feature stability — we thought we could implement community-driven features in current releases. Sticking in a new feature to a current release jeopardizes the stability of the feature in that release. Also, we haven’t quite managed how to do that, and it will be easier to patch a feature into a non-GA release.

3) Newly GA releases will have monthly binary builds — A release that recently went from alpha or beta to GA will continue to receive monthly binary builds and releases until such time as the release is stable. We expect this to be for several months after the GA is announced.

You might notice that the Enterprise source binaries have been taken down off ftp.mysql.com. This is because we wanted to make sure that the folks that were downloading Enterprise were doing so because they wanted to download Enterprise, not because they went to the download screen and thought “Enterprise” sounded better than “Community”.

How would you have felt if that were the announcement? Because that is how I read it. Maybe it’s too little, too late, but I really feel as though the negativity associated with the announcement came from folks who used the announcement as a reason to talk about why the split is a bad idea. There’s plenty of work to do to make the split better, but the announcement last week was so simple, and didn’t deserve all the attention and negativity it garnered.

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