MySQL reserves features for paying customers

Blog posts by some users claim that database vendor is turning its back on open source

Open-source darling MySQL is facing a new uprising within its customer base over plans disclosed this week to reserve some key upcoming features, and their source code, for paying users of its namesake database.

Officials at Sun Microsystems, which acquired MySQL in February, confirmed that new online backup capabilities now under development will be offered only to MySQL Enterprise customers -- not to the much larger number of users of the free MySQL Community edition.

The plan was detailed during meetings at MySQL's annual user conference in the US, during which Sun also delayed until late June the release of a MySQL 5.1 upgrade in order to iron out some remaining bugs.

This is the second dust-up between MySQL and its users in the past eight months. Last August, an earlier decision to stop making the MySQL Enterprise source code openly available to users without paid subscriptions drew criticism from some members of the MySQL community.

Red Hat and many other open-source vendors test new features by first offering them to nonpaying users, who also get access to the source code for those features.

MySQL's software reportedly is used by tens of millions of individual users, and its corporate customers include Google, Yahoo and some of the most popular Web 2.0 sites. Cheerfully acknowledging in an interview last year that only one in a thousand MySQL users paid for the software, then-CEO Marten Mickos said that the company had no plans to make some of its products and source code proprietary.

"We've had that debate many times," said Mickos, who now is senior vice president of Sun's database group. "I think we might win a few new customers, but we would lose 2 million users. We're not ready for that kind of compromise." He added that other vendors that had built closed-source products on top of open-source software "don't seem successful.

The decision to now withhold some features from the community version caught MySQL loyalists by surprise, and some are accusing MySQL of betraying the community that helped build it up.

"Does not MySQL believe in open source? Or just partially believe?" asked Vadim Tkachenko in a blog post. Tkachenko, a former MySQL employee who now works as a consultant at Percona, said that while Sun itself is releasing open-source versions of previously proprietary products, MySQL seems to be trying to hide features from the open-source community. "I understand this all is about money, and anyone is free to do with his product anything, but MySQL does not seem [to be] playing [an] open game here," he wrote.

"As before MySQL AB illustrates that they have stop believing in open source when it becomes time to make money," wrote Lukas Kahwe Smith, another MySQL user, on his blog.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Eric Lai

Computerworld
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?