Fedora Linux considering switching out MySQL for MariaDB

Fedora Linux's developers are considering replacing MySQL with MariaDB. That, in turn, might lead to Red Hat abandoning MySQL for MariaDB.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

MariaDB, the open-source database management system (DBMS) and MySQL fork, may soon be replacing MySQL in the Fedora Linux distribution. Since Fedora is also the test bed for Red Hat's market-leading Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), this move may lead to major changes in the Linux DBMS world.

MariaDB, not MySQL, may soon become Fedora's default DBMS. (Credit: MariaDB)

Jaroslav Reznik, who is Red Hat's Fedora project manager, proposed the change. Reznik explained that he was suggesting this move because, "The original company behind MySQL, MySQL AB, were bought out by Sun which was then bought by Oracle. 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 anymore, and a very large fraction of the MySQL bug database is now not public."

Red Hat and Oracle have also long been squabbling on other grounds. Oracle's house brand of Linux, Oracle Linux, is little more than an RHEL clone.

Reznik continued, "MariaDB, which 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."

Fedora isn't the only one to find MariaDB more attractive in recent months; Wikipedia began moving to MariaDB in late 2012.

Therefore, Reznik declared, "We would like to replace MySQL with MariaDB in early development cycle for Fedora 19." That would mean Fedora might switch over as early as May 2013. In any case, "MySQL will continue to be available for at least one release, but MariaDB will become the default. Also, we do not intend to support concurrent installation of both packages on the same machine; pick one or the other."

A final decision hasn't been made yet. The Fedora Engineering Steering Committee (FESCo) has to vote on the issue.

Robyn Bergeron, the Fedora Project Leader told me that "A vote by FESCo is the next step." She believes that it's possible they may vote as early as January 23, but for a variety of reasons the vote on the shift from MySQL to MariaDB will be more likely no earlier than January 30.

If I were a betting man, I'd bet Fedora will make the switch. And, if Fedora does, I expect the other Linux distributions will follow them. This in turn may mean that we'll need to switch the acronym Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP/Perl/Python (LAMP) to Linux, Apache, MariaDB, PHP/Perl/Python (LAMP).

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