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Sunday 24 May 2009

Hello, MySQL 6.0, err, something

I'm conflicted about the latest twist of the MySQL release saga, ie the announcement of the 6.0.11 alpha version and the accompanying note that it's the last 6.0 release and will be replaced by the already discussed milestone model. From an engineering point of view, I think this is the right step. I'm not sure about that, because I can't really tell exactly what is the engineering model chosen: trunk-first, then backport, or fix-in-releases, then forward port. I also can't tell whether the milestone model is going to be timeboxed or feature-scoped. Personally, I would prefer to see the former of both alternatives.

From a customer point of view, I'm even more confused, though much less concerned. Okay, so 6.0 won't become the marketing version number of any MySQL Enterprise release? Doesn't matter. 5.4 needs to come out first anyway, preferably sooner with a concrete, well-tested feature set, than later with more planned-but-unfinished features stuffed in it. What the release after that is going to be called makes no difference to me, as long as it's also going to contain solid improvements and comes out on predictable schedule that doesn't force me to look for something drastically different in order to deal with scale.

That being said, it's still weird. So if the thought of 6.0 GA release is scrapped, why release anything and still call it 6.0? I guess it's just tying loose ends, but that's an engineering thing, and only the number of existing source branches with stuff to merge together matter, not the version number put to it...

Friday 21 September 2007

MySQL Community vs Enterprise tension

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..