|Opinion: MySQL Open Source|
MySQL as Model for Open Source
MySQL - A Model for Open Source ?
Over the late holiday season 2003, IT shops and developers got a small parable, a little lesson in how responsive the Numero Uno Commercial Software vendor versus the Open Source vendor's could be. Microsoft issued a notice to the public that there would be no more software patches to Windows until the new year. Then several IT Security firms and agencies issued warning about 4-5 newly discovered vulnerabilities in Windows and services that required urgent attention. Microsoft by default announced no action about these defects. Contrast this market responsiveness with MySQL response to a notice that there were more than 16 defects in its recently released MySQL 4.0.16 version of its database software. Within 8 days, MySQL had issued a 4.0.17 release with all the defects fixed plus a few new added goodies. Talk about contrast between responsiveness of commercial versus Open Source software to critical needs. This same Christmas scenario was repeated again in 2006 this time Windows security fixes were not updated until customers complained of the vulnerable position they were being put into. In the roughly the same time frame MySQL quietly made some small security fixes almost immediately upon notice.
Microoft has been running a website supposedly dispelling the myth that Linux and other Open Source software is more reliable, secure or has lower TCO. Microsoft has been sponsoring some "studies" (quotes are appropraite because Microsoft determines the scope and many of the measures of the work) which apparently corraborate their position that Windows is better given the Redmond determined circumstances. Then in this repeated and telling example, Microsoft once again underlines the value of some very good Open Source providers.
The MySQL Open Source Model
Some commercial software vendors complain that there is wide variation in the Open Source model - that is for every Open Source supplier or "vendor" there is another "model". They cite the different practices and licensing between Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP, the so called LAMP powerhouses of web server side fame. They also complain that, MySQL like Trolltech, taking a dual licensing approach contaminates the pure Open Source. In addition to a standard Open Source license, MySQL allows companies to buy a commercial license to MySQL so that their confidential and proprietary changes to MySQL do not have to be returned to the community. Critics also cite the disruptive influence of so many forks - particularly in the Linux OS space. In this case, MySQL has not had any significant forks (but PostgresSQL has had a couple); so forking in Open Source is not inevitable. Now lets take a look at those licensing models in more detail.
What is Attractive About the MySQL Model ?
There are a number of things that has to be attractive developers
in the MySQL Model:
One reason corporates and large organizations have shied away from
Open Source is because they are afraid that any one Open Source
"vendor" could just sputter out; all but dissolve sometime in the
future because key players would lose interest or go on to other things.
The MySQL model does not remove that fear - but it certainly allays
its considerably. It is by no means perfect; but it gives IT organizations
plus VARs and ISVs for that matter, some better choices.
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