Marten Mickos: MySQL's undaunted leader

Marten Mickos: MySQL's undaunted leader

Summary: Prior to Stephen Shankland's scoop about Oracle's attempt to add MySQL to its portfolio, I chatted with the open source database company's CEO Marten Mickos about Oracle's open source envy, his reaction to Oracle's purchase of InnoDB, and how he plans to keep MySQL ahead of the game. Mickos had tried to acquire InnoDB, which provides online backup for MySQL, but the pastures were apparently greener at the omnivorous Oracle for InnoDB creator Heikki Tuuri.

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TOPICS: Open Source
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mickos.jpgPrior to Stephen Shankland's scoop about Oracle's attempt to add MySQL to its portfolio, I chatted with the open source database company's CEO Marten Mickos about Oracle's open source envy, his reaction to Oracle's purchase of InnoDB, and how he plans to keep MySQL ahead of the game. Mickos had tried to acquire InnoDB, which provides online backup for MySQL, but the pastures were apparently greener at the omnivorous Oracle for InnoDB creator Heikki Tuuri.

Not only are Oracle and IBM pushing down from the top, other open source databases, such as EnterpriseDB (based on PostgreSQL), Ingres and Derby, are vying for market share. Mickos is undaunted, and not afraid to play on an even more level playing field than his competitors. Unlike most commercial open source companies, MySQL's database is pure GPL-based open source (some of its support service infrastructure software is not open sourced). No secret , proprietary sauce in a separate "professional" database edition to stack the deck.

According to Shankland's story, Mickos rebuffed Oracle's offer, but didn't share any of his reasoning. Mickos told me that he believes that he is creating a brand, like Nike or Starbucks, that will standout from competitors. He also just got a $18.5 million infusion of capital to help that cause.

He is also adamant that open source is the superior method for producing sofware, and that proprietary software vendors will have to move over to it to stay competitive. It's like streamships taking over from sailing ships, Mickos said. He just has to watch out for those aged sailing ships converting to diesel power.... The podcast can be delivered directly to your desktop or MP3 player if you're subscribed to our podcasts (see ZDNet’s podcasts: How to tune in). 

Topic: Open Source

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  • Mickos has a bad attitude

    I don't trust Mickos or MySQL.

    At the start MySQL didn't have integrity constraints or transaction handling.

    Instead of apologising for this Mickos stated that these were "enterprise features" that weren't really required.

    From this it is clear that Mickos has no clue about RDBMSs whatsoever. He understands SQL but not the relational model.

    Therefore I am firmly of the opinion that MySQL is a deeply conceptually flawed product and should be avoided by serious practitioners.

    But like he says, he's building a brand, quality of the product may be incidental in this context of course.
    jorwell
  • competitive in price only

    I'm always half-stunned when someone says that MySQL is competitive, or when they say (with version 5) that it's enterprise-ready. There are so many features missing:

    - relational integrity - foreign keys can be named, but the relationships are meaningless and never enforced

    - stored procedures - very important for security, performance, business rules, complex transactions

    - transaction support, including concurrency, locking (something below the level of locking all tables involved for the duration), distributed transactions

    I've used MySQL for years, and it is always going to be a minimal database for small projects. I'm moving to SQL Server, which has far better tools, better security, better performance, better tunability, better transaction support, scalability, and so much more. MySQL simply cannot compete on features.
    diane wilson
    • Forget SQL Server! I'm going Ingres!

      If you want "better security, better performance, better tunability, better transaction support, scalability, and so much more" and still use Open Source, Ingres wins, hands down.
      It's basic design is superior to Oracle; Sybase came close (SQL Server is the windows clone of Sybase). But Ingres's transaction handling, distributed processing, Query Optimization, efficient locking (oo I love that database), etc makes it the best Open Source, and IMHO best overall database.
      I am Gorby
    • No transaction support

      Diane -

      It's not that I disagree with your assessment of MySQL, but didn't MySQL have transaction support with InnoDB a while back? And stored procedures with Version 5?

      Are you talking about the non-InnoDB version?
      greenie@...
  • MS SQL scalable - then I knew you're joking

    At least MySQL have a real clustering solution, which works. Show me a load-balancing cluster with MS SQL which does not need data partitioning and I'll agree with you on scalability.
    Why oh why people are not able to understand that in some enterprise applications raw speed is more important than relational integrity. Oh the surprise, the horror, the pain.
    aspinei
    • Dangerous nonsense

      "Why oh why people are not able to understand that in some enterprise applications raw speed is more important than relational integrity."

      Ho, ho, ho, I hope your strong commitment to getting the wrong answer quickly is prominently displayed on your CV so prospective employers can know in advance your lackadaisical attitude to quality.
      jorwell
    • MySQL must be really slow

      If the only way you can get decent performance is by leaving out crucial parts of the relational model (the constraints).

      Yet another reason to avoid this dubious product.

      Maybe MySQL can be fast if you only ever access one table at a time, but does MySQL even have an optimiser, never mind a well implemented one?

      Like I say, not a product for the serious practitioner.
      jorwell