Oh Maria

Google ditches Oracle for MySQL fork MariaDB

Monty Widenius has always regretted not taking more action to block his creation MySQL from being owned by Oracle when it took over Sun Microsystems in 2010 - and whilst it’s hard to forget your first love, there’s nothing more satisfying than getting one up on your ex. Widenius must be pretty gleeful, then, to have lured Google across to MariaDB, his new open-source database project.

Google hasn’t made any official announcements about the switch, but Google senior systems engineer Jeremy Cole broke the news at the Extremely Large Databases (XLDB) conference in Stanford as part of a presentation on the general state of the MySQL ecosystem.

In an interview with the Register, Cole stated that, whilst MariaDB and MySQL were “more or less equivalent other than if you look at specific features and how they implement them," the big difference was the ideologies behind them - namely, the fact that many, Widenius included, see My SQL as ‘neutered’ to the point of no longer being truly open source.

Oracle might care to disagree with this, considering the source code is still released under a GPL license, but many remain unconvinced. In fact, the Googler went as far as to claim that Oracle “ignores bugs, feedback, communication from community”, and that development is “often without much public visibility until release”.

Cole explained that, since version 4.0, Google has been running a bespoke version of MySQL 5.1, but is now shifting to MariaDB 10.0, which is roughly the same as MySQL 5.6. As a result, Google has been working to make sure that the transition is as seamless as possible by identifying and changes that have occurred since 5.1.

Google’s move to MariaDB is likely to be interpreted by many as a an attempt to disentangle itself from a dependence on Oracle technology. Its been working with the MariaDB Foundation since the beginning of the year to smooth over any problems, and there are currently five Google technicians working part-time on MariaDB patches and bug fixes.

With Google on board, MariaDB is now packing a considerable punch. Red Hat is also following Google in trading MySQL for MariaDB in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7, and with the general antipathy towards Oracle’s NoSQL stance, no doubt Widenius is basking in the warm glow of schadenfreude

Lucy Carey

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