Practical Technology

for practical people.

MySQL Forks


Sun may have the MySQL name, but every one has its open-source code and MySQL co-founder Monty Widenius is taking the popular open-source DBMS (database management system) and forking it in a new directions.

It came as no surprise to those who follow MySQL that Monty Program Ab, Widenius’ MySQL database engineering company, and Percona, a MySQL services and support firm, announced on May 13th that they were forming a vendor-neutral consortium, “The Open Database Alliance,” to become MySQL’s industry hub.

What they have in mind is to use Widenius’ own branch of MySQL, MariaDB, and its derivative code, binaries, training, support, and other enhancements as the new “MySQL industry hub.” According to Widenius, “MariaDB will work exactly as MySQL; all commands, interfaces, libraries and APIs [Application Programming Interface] that exist in MySQL also exist in MariaDB.”

There are differences though. First, MariaDB will include the Maria DBMS and Prime XT storage engines. In addition, and, Widenius claims, fewer bugs, better testing, and faster performance. Widenius has had no love for Sun’s MySQL releases. While still Sun’s CTO for its MySQL division, Widenius publicly dismissed Sun’s MySQL 5.1 release as being unsuitable for production use. Thus, MariaDB and the Open Database Alliance can be seen as a true fork of MySQL.

The Open Database Alliance press release, however, states that the intent is “to unify all MySQL-related development and services, providing a solution to the fragmentation and uncertainty facing the communities, businesses and technical experts involved with MySQL. Still under development, the Open Database Alliance is open to all businesses, organizations and individuals interested in helping create a new, centralized resource for MySQL and to ensure that it remains a top quality, high performance open source database.”

In the statement, Widenius said, “Our goal with the Open Database Alliance is to provide a central clearinghouse for MySQL development, to encourage a true open development environment with community participation, and to ensure that MySQL code remains extremely high quality. Participating members at this stage in the ‘Alliance’ will have a strong voice in how the organization is structured, and we look forward to collaborating with anyone in the industry that provides or depends on MySQL.”

Whether Oracle/Sun will care to join him in this venture remains to be seen.