I probably don't spend quite enough time following progress around MySQL considering how critical the product is to us. I'd like to consider it part of the infrastructure in a way I treat Red Hat Enterprise Linux, ie something I can trust to make good progress and follow up on a quarterly basis. Naturally we have people who watch both much more closely, but my time simply should, and pretty much is, spent doing something else.

However, it seems MySQL really demands a bit more attention right now. Today I went and read Jeremy Cole's opinion about MySQL Community (a failure), and I have to say I agree on many of the points. MySQL simply has not yet found a model that works as well as that of Red Hat's Fedora vs Enterprise Linux - that is, really giving the Community edition to the community to direct, and using the Enterprise edition as a platform for enterprises to depend on.

I feel the fundamental problem really is quite simple; as long as MySQL maintains the community edition (both binaries AND the source tree) themselves, and don't let the community integrate features to it on a timely basis, the model will not function, not even to their paying customers (us included). However, if they reverse this particular point from the current status-quo, all of the other benefits are inevitable.

The comparison to Fedora and RHEL is rather obvious, despite the distribution vs single product differences. Fedora is a great community Linux distribution with the latest-and-greatest features integrated to it on a very timely fashion. Not even Ubuntu can really compete with Fedora in terms of features. However, what Fedora gives up to reach this is a certain amount of polish and reliability. I will happily use Fedora as a personal platform, because of the latest features, but I would not pretend to run a stable system on top of it. For that, I'll rather choose something a bit more mature, that has proven itself in the community and received further QA ahead of commercial release. This is RHEL, and this is what the MySQL Enterprise should be. A version that, when it's released, I shouldn't have to hesitate to install on a new production server.

I also today learned about the Dorsal Source MySQL community release. Now this looks like something MySQL Community release probably should be like. I'll have to give it a test round and see what's up.

Update: Baron Schwartz describes a MySQL Enterprise that I would have far less trouble using than the existing one..