MySQL Community Edition and Website Changes

I posted earlier about the MySQL announcement (see http://www.mysql.com/news-and-events/news/article_1171.html )and how I see it affecting Enterprise level users.

However, as someone who uses it for work other than my day job, some at the hobby level and some above that level, the Community edition is also important to me.

The way I see it, the changes are great for people who use the Community edition.

Wait, there will be 2 codebases, and they have not doubled their staff, so won’t there actually be less development? Are they expecting the community to write all the code for the Community edition?

Kind of. I do know that MySQL has been hiring lots of people, but I’m not an employee, so I have no idea of their growth. There will be 2 codebases, but that works out for the best for everyone. Now, there will be 2 priority lists — things that Enterprise customers really want, and things that Community users really want.

So Community users do not have to hear “Sorry, that’s not a priority, but if you pay us we’ll make it one.” Community users can get the features that are a priority for them, and Enterprise users can get the features that are a prioirty for them, too.

If a priority is high for Enterprise, and lower for Community, it can be developed in Enterprise first, and moved to Community. And, of course, vice versa. The part where the community coding comes in is that not only does MySQL have priorities for Community development, but if a user wants to submit something, they can, thus changing the priority order, because the work is mostly done, and all MySQL needs to do is integrate it.

But Community users do not have to suffer with a package that has more code (and thus is a bit bloatier) just because someone paid MySQL USD $1 million to extend the maximum table size to 1 terabyte. Nor do they have to wait for development on something like that to finish before other features get implemented.

The announcement also had some poor wording choices. The Community edition will be as stable and reliable as ever. The truth is that new features have bugs, and there will be more new features in Community than in Enterprise. As well, both Community and Enterprise are tested quite thoroughly. But Enterprise will be tested to enterprise-level standards — for example, throughput could be tested and MySQL could say “buy Enterprise! It can handle 10,000 queries per second!”

My company is using the Community Edition, and we have over 3600 queries per second being run — and that’s an AVERAGE. So there’s no question in my mind that the Community Edition is stable and reliable enough to be used at an “enterprise” level. That quality will NOT go away.

I’m not quite clear on what the licensing will be for the Enterprise and Community Editions, but I would think that MySQL will keep the ability to embed and redistribute both editions. I don’t know for sure, but I think it would be a bad business move not to.

I have had a few people come to me and say “Did you see the announcement? How could MySQL do this? They’re forcing everyone that’s not a hobbyist to buy the product!!!!” Everyone predicted the end of InnoDB when Oracle bought it — I said “it’s no big deal” (see http://sheeri.net/archives/38).

Similarly, this is not a loss for the MySQL community. It’s actually a gain for both Enterprise and Community users. I’m not a MySQL employee, so I don’t know everything that’s going on behind the scenes, but I have used and administered MySQL for over 5 years in real life situations and environments, and I can tell you that this is a win. We will hear lots less of “well, we could do that, but we’re programming something really big right now, so it will have to wait”.

As for the website changes, my one complaint is that at http://mysql.com/products/, the Community edition isn’t listed — there’s a link to the “Community” site that’s hard to miss on the right-hand side, and a menu item similar to “Products” at the top nav bar called “Community” — but it doesn’t seem consistent. Either you have “Products” and “Services” and you have a “Free download” section under “Products”, or you have a section with “Enterprise” and a section with “Community”….mixing the 2 is bad UI.

But if that’s the worst I have to say, then the changes are pretty good. And it’s more obvious that http://dev.mysql.com is for Community stuff….and when I went there, I found the polls….NEAT!

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