Oracle has now officially announced that MySQL is not a full free software project anymore and that they will go for an Open Core model.
This is inconsistent to the original MySQL business model. The main strength of MySQL has always been that all MySQL source code was freely available. It was thanks to this that MySQL got widely adopted and got to be used by tens of millions of users.
This was a fact that the MySQL board and Sun understood. Closing the MySQL server code base in any manner would be bad for long term business.
So what's so wrong with Open Core?
As a business model, especially to bootstrap a business, Open Core is not a bad idea. It gives you some leverage with your users to get part of your development paid for. This is however done at the cost of fewer users and a less adopted project. Many projects however abandon Open Core models when they grow as open source gives them more users and thus more value.
What is most important to understand about an Open Core project is that it has nothing to do with an open source project. If you are depending on a single closed source component then you have to regard the whole project as a closed source project as you lose all the benefits of open source:
- You are depending on one vendor.
- You can't do any bug fixes yourself and you can't contract anyone except the original vendor to get things fixed.
- You can't examine and improve the product (not any part of if).
- You can't use any open source or commercial extensions from anyone else. This is true also for any plugins that access any internal parts of the product (which is true for most MySQL plugins).
- You are limited to the platforms that the original vendors makes available. (In MySQL's case you can't for example use the new commercial features on RedHat 6 as it's not a supported platform).
- The builds you are using are not tested anymore by millions of users (more bugs).
- The product is not checked by the open source community for security problems or back doors.
- The new features will not be adopted by (and may even cause conflicts with) other open source projects.
- You are subject to one vendor's price politics which they can change at their convenience.
The new pluggable authentication, which makes the new PAM authentication possible, was developed and contributed to Oracle by Sergei Golubchik at Monty Program Ab.
Alternatives and the good News
These words are prophetic and the decline started to happen
The decline will not be immediate, it will take some time, notably Apache distributions like XAMPP and WAMP will have to offer users alternatives to MySQL, as most developers use these packages, instead of installing products independently. All is not lost, the Open Source community has plenty of options. There are two well established alternatives to MySQL: PostgreSQL and Firebird. Both have large established communities, and support of major corporations. One of these will become the next MySQL
I put my vote on Firebird SQL : it is lighter and it is easier to maintain (drop in replacement for mysql in lamp installements)
From Marco Cantu’s blog:
Now, this could be a very good opportunity for all of the other open source database servers (and also some of paid ones!), particularly the most popular ones like Firebird and PostgreSQL. I’m particularly fond of Firebird (the InterBase offspring) and use it in many projects and did a lot of consulting to Delphi developers using it. Can this be ? MySQL with its huge popularity has certainly obscured it, so it could be a good time to act.