Oracle who? Fedora & openSUSE will replace MySQL with MariaDB

Oracle who? Fedora & openSUSE will replace MySQL with MariaDB

Summary: Both Fedora and openSUSE will be replacing Oracle's MySQL with its open-source fork--MariaDB.


For years, MySQL has been fundamental to many server applications, especially those using the LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, Perl/PHP/Python) software stack. Those days may be ending. Both Fedora (Red Hat's community Linux) and openSUSE (SUSE's community Linux) will be switching out MySQL to MariaDB for their default database management system (DBMS) in their next releases.

Fedora & openSUSE will both be switching out MySQL for MariaDB in their next Linux releases.
(Credit: MariaDB)

For database developers and managers, this change shouldn't be a problem. MariaDB, a MySQL fork founded by the original MySQL developers, is designed to be a drop-in replacement for the MySQL Database Server. It includes support for all the major open source storage engines, which are also supported by MySQL, such as MyISAM, Blackhole, CSV, Memory, and Archive.

Michal Hrušecký, an openSUSE developer and the MySQL maintainer for openSUSE and SUSE, explained that with MariaDB, you'll still be using the "same API [application programming interface], same protocol, even same utilities. And mostly the same data files. So unless you have some deep optimizations depending on your current version, you should see no difference."

Hrušecký continued, "Actually, the only thing that changed is that everything now links against MariaDB and uses MariaDB libraries--no change from user's point of view. And if you try to update from a system that used to have just one package called 'mysql,' you'll end up with MariaDB. And it will be default in LAMP pattern. But generally, you can still easily replace MariaDB with MySQL, if you like Oracle."

So why make this move since openSUSE will continue to support both? Hrušecký explained, "Well, [I've been] personally using MariaDB since 2010 with a few switches to MySQL and back, so it is better tested from my point of view. I originally switched for the kicks of living on the edge, but in the end, I found MariaDB boringly stable (even though I run their latest alpha). I never had any serious issue with it. It also has some interesting goodies that it can offer to its user over MySQL"

These "goodies" include speed improvements, new features, and support for additional storage engines. These include Aria, OQGRAPH, and SphinxSE. Last, but never least in open-source circles, MariaDB is "truly open source. All code in MariaDB is released under GPL, LPGL, or BSD. MariaDB does not have closed source."

This last point was especially telling for Fedora's decision to switch. Jaroslav Reznik, Red Hat's Fedora project manager, said, "Recent changes made by Oracle indicate they are moving the MySQL project to be more closed. They are no longer publishing any useful information about security issues (CVEs) and they are not providing complete regression tests any more, and a very large fraction of the MySQL bug database is now not public."

"MariaDB," Reznik continued, "was founded by some of the original MySQL developers, has a more open-source attitude and an active community. We have found them to be much easier to work with, especially in regards to security matters."

Oracle tried to persuade Fedora not to make this switch. In a note to the Fedora developer mailing list, Andrew Rist, an Oracle interoperability architect, wrote that Fedora should "integrate MySQL 5.6. Switching to MariaDB would be going backwards, as their releases usually lag by at least 6 months. The differences between MariaDB 5.5 and MySQL 5.6 are quite significant, with major improvements in both performance and stability, as well as additional features and improved security."

"With hundreds of development and QA engineers, including MySQL veterans and fresh talent," Rist continued, "Oracle has produced the most stable, secure, and scalable releases of open source MySQL ever. We are ready to help integrate and package the latest and best-tested version of MySQL in Fedora, including becoming the package maintainer (same as we do with Ubuntu)."

Rist concluded, "15 years of contributing to the Linux kernel, 8 years developing InnoDB, and now 3 years leading MySQL represent a track record that speaks for itself. Fedora's corporate sponsor and Oracle do compete in the Linux support business, but the database choice for Fedora should only focus on the merits and the quality of the MySQL code."

His arguments were in vain. Jóhann B Guðmundsson, a Fedora developer, replied, "Oracle's track record indeed speaks for itself, and I'm pretty sure all the Solaris developers agree to that. We value openness and freedom here in Fedora land."

The Fedora Engineering Steering Committee's vote wasn't close. The Committee voted seven to zero in favor of switching to MariaDB.

So, starting with openSUSE 12.3, which recently came out in beta (and is due out in March 2013), MariaDB will become its default DBMS. In due time, it should also become SUSE Linux Enterprise Server's (SLES) DBMS.

In the case of Fedora, MariaDB will become the DBMS of choice beginning with Fedora 19. This distribution is preliminarily scheduled to arrive in late May. Then, in the fullness of time, it too is expected to become the default DBMS for Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL).

What all this means is that perhaps the two most important server Linux distributions in use today are moving away from Oracle's MySQL to the more open-source friendly MariaDB. This cannot fail to have a major impact on enterprise and Internet applications.

Related stories:

Topics: Data Management, Enterprise Software, Linux, Open Source, Oracle, Software, Software Development

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  • I hear Oracle is looking for help ....

    with MySQL and Open Office. Good luck to them.
    • Apache

      OpenOffice is maintained by Apache Software Foundation, not Oracle.
      • Sorry, I forgot

        I remember reading about that a while back.


        In any event, Oracle has not managed to monetize those two "apps" much it seems. My guess is that MySQL will eventually die and Open Office will somehow be re-merged with LibreOffice if it is going to "survive". I cannot see the market supporting both office suites.
        • I don't believe so.....

          Most of the original Open Office developers are the ones who forked Libre Office. It will take quite a while for Apache to bring the new developers of Open Office up to speed, and with the donated IBM Symphony code to add and merge, my guess this will put Open office a couple of years behind Libre Office, if not longer. In the meantime Libre Office has been updating, improving, and releasing new versions regularly.

          I don't think that you will see any merger.
          linux for me
  • Suse one of the two most important server Linux distributions?

    Not for a long time. This is a typical case of "I am taking my ball and going home" It only seeks to fragment code base ala BSD style. Consumers don't care what database drives their website shopping cart opensource closed or otherwise. The FOSS database software market is saturated as it is and personally i would sooner use PostgreSQL than Mysql/Mariasql.
  • Tried IBM Lotus Symphony lately?

    A few days ago I was stuck with only Open Office while waiting for MS Office. Even the most ardent Open Office fans accept that drawing in Writer is not the easiest thing; you save and re open your documents to see artifacts changing position. Due to some crazy impulse, I downloaded Symphony. I had used it a few years ago but was not impresses then. Today I am. They have a very good and consistent interface that seems to be designed after extensive user studies. I got back my MS Office today morning, but I am finding Symphony to be better and easier to use. Granted that MS Office has much more going on inside it, but Symphony is no lightweight either. I think I am going to use Symphony on my home systems, replacing Open Office.
    • Not IBM anymore.....

      IBM has dumped that code and it has been donated to the Apache Open Office development team.
      linux for me
  • Nice article, Steven

    Wonder who's gonna break the news to Larry ... no, that wasn't an ancient volcano on Lanai coming back to life.
    Rabid Howler Monkey
  • Fedora, yuck.

    I've always wondered who in their right mind would use Fedora for any kind of server OS? Bleeding edge, buggy as hell, and supported for little more than a year. Now there is a recipie for success...
    • Yes, don't use Fedora for a production server


      Your points about Fedora not being for production servers is valid. For that you are better off with using RHEL or one of its free clones, e.g. CentOS or Scientific. Use Fedora if you want to access the latest kernel and other software features in a development environment -- with all the risks that entails (ok, worst case: you might need to reinstall). Fedora is basically RHEL's test bed; RHEL is like an older, well-tested and patched Fedora release.
      • Use Centos rather than Fedora

        Fedora is for end users not for servers.
        For a rock solid server Platform, you have to switch to either Centos or RHEL.
        Fedora is not one of the worst Linux distro, it's far better than Ubuntu, but it is not intended for servers.
        Fedora 18 is using Kernel 3.x and 3.x releases are still in childhood.
        Rock solid server platforms must run 2.6.x kernel flavors
    • Fedora, yuck

      I agree with you about: Fedora as a server -- It is a developer system, with stable and relatively bugfree new functionality.

      The clean code that you get with SUSE, Ubuntu, and other distributions is often lifted from Fedora. The applications within Fedora are for their majority, stable, provide great user functionality, and well written.
      Users like me are not complaining, but some do nitpicking. Want new functionality in a software, post requests.

      Would your yuck be in regard to Server use, where you know that in six months time, there will be a new Fedora version, and you will wish to migrate. The life of a Fedora distribution is about 18 months.

      You have many options for servers, if you are able to do your own support, You have fewer options if your server park is a large clustered environment.

      Currently Fedora is testing btfrs, which I use. RedHat does not consider it server grade, yet I find it A1. Btfrs is available in SUSE and Fedora, and soon to be in the next Oracle Release.

      So, please qualify what you mean by yuck.
  • Bye bye MySQL?

    It doesn't have the userbase of Fedora or openSUS, but also Chakra Linux is moving to MariaDB. Announced yesterday:
    Chris Alpino
  • Dif between MariaDB and Oracle MySQL

    There is another significant difference between MariaDB and ORacle MySQL and that is the InnoDB storage default engine. Oracle's astute purchase of the InnoDB storage engine as part of the transaction effectively took off the market the only storage engine that is truely transaction safe for financial entries. The other engines are usable but there is a risk.

    I only learned this from one of the leading introductory books for newbies about Oracle MySQL.
    • RE: The other engines are usable but there is a risk

      Just curious. Does this include the Percona XtraDB Storage Engine? More here:

      P.S. This is an honest question.
      Rabid Howler Monkey
    • MariaDB has a better InnoDB replacement

      MariaDB has an open source InnoDB engine drop-in replacement that has more features.
  • MySQL Financial transaction risk w/o InnoDB.

    You'll have to talk w/ Percona (

    I looked at Wikipedia ( There it says Percona's XtraDB engine "It employs the company's replacement database engine XtraDB,[8] a replacement for Oracle InnoDB[9]." It to appears to be financial transaction safe based on the claim by Percona that it is a drop-in replacement for InnoDB.

    Whether this XtraDB fork engine is free or free w/a support contract I do not know.

    My original comment was based on what I read in the book "MySQL, Second Edition by Larry Ullman" $23 on Amazon.
  • "Oracle tried to persuade Fedora not to make this switch"

    Fedora tolerating an ounce of tendency towards close sourcing? Were they really this stupid?

    What is Oracle's issues? They get involved in open source products only to try to kill their open nature, ultimately ending in a total rejection by the open source community. They killed Solaris, got a backlash on OpenOffice, and now this.

    I don't get it. Why get involved in open source if you're not going to comply with the environment, especially if you seem to get rejected?
  • Blackhole

    "major .... storage engines ........ such as MyISAM, Blackhole"

    Really? Blackhole a major storage engine?

    Who wrote/documented this?
    • Balckhole but not only

      There are many other transactional storage engines. Pbxt was a very good one but the community did not pick on it, today storage like tokudb are very promising and aria storage in MariaDB is almost transactional and already crash safe. Ndb is transactional , Falcon and barkleyDB have been possible in the past and can be recompile if required but the most important is that there exists 2 forks of innodb and innodb itself continuing improving under Oracle banier . So let's move on with it !
      Stéphane Varoqui