We're putting the band back together

MySQL members reunite for merged MariaDB – and Wikipedia pledges allegiance

Elliot Bentley

SkySQL merges with Monty’s Widenius’ MariaDB and gains a huge partner in the same week.

MariaDB, the community-run fork of MySQL, has had a
stellar couple of days. First, Wikipedia announced that it was
switching from MySQL to MariaDB; and now creators Monty Program
have merged with SkySQL, reuniting key members of the original
MySQL team.
decision to switch
was made not only on the merits
of MariaDB’s technical performance, but also its license – unlike
MySQL, it’s entirely free of proprietary code, and is hosted by an
independent foundation.

“As supporters of the free culture movement, the
Wikimedia Foundation strongly prefers free software projects,”
wrote Asher Feldman, Wikipedia Site Architect.

It couldn’t have come at a better time for Monty
Program and SkySQL, two Finnish companies deeply involved in
The merger brings together, for
the first time in years, many of the developers who worked on MySQL
before Sun’s takeover.

Monty Program, parent company of MariaDB, was
founded by Michael “Monty” Widenius, the original creator of MySQL.
His company was sold to Sun Microsystems in 2008 for a cool $1bn –
but when Sun was its acquired by Oracle the following year,
Widenius wrote an

impassioned plea
to users to “help save MySQL from
Oracle’s clutches”.

When his campaign failed, Widenius forked the
project to create MariaDB, an “enhanced” drop-in replacement for
MySQL with identical filenames and APIs, and compatibility with
almost all MySQL connectors. Like MySQL, it’s also named after one
of Widenius’ daughters (My and Maria).

However, there are two crucial differences
between MySQL and MariaDB: not only does the latter have a seal,
rather than a dolphin, as its logo; but as of last December it’s
now controlled by a neutral non-profit organisation, the MariaDB

Widenius says that having both strong commercial
and charitable organisations supporting the software is crucial to
its long-term success. “With this merger and my own role in the
MariaDB Foundation, I’m ensuring that the MariaDB project will
remain ‘open source forever’, while knowing that enterprise and
community users of both the MySQL & MariaDB databases will
benefit from best-in-breed products, services and support provided
by SkySQL.”

With MariaDB now being downloaded 500,000 times
each year and

coming as default
in Linux distributions
Fedora and OpenSUSE, it seems that MySQL’s grip on the open-source
relational database market may finally be slipping.

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