Stephen O'Grady chats with MySQL CEO Marten Mickos (left) about his company's new MySQL Community and MySQL Enterprise offerings. In the comments, the code contribution comes up. MySQL has been nearly 100 percent in-house code, but now seems to be opening up for more contributions and innovations with the Community edition (see also Matt Asay's post on the MySQL news). However, the MySQL Enterprise will remain a bastion of conservatism, safe, reliable and boring.
In the comments on Stephen's post, Mickos explains MySQL code contribution:
Firstly, we can definitely have contributions in MySQL that don't make it into the OEM-licensed edition. The SSL library is an example.
Secondly, in case something is deemed important for our OEM business, we can either get ownership to the code or we can license it from the author, so there are is no absolute requirement of copyright assignment to us. And in the cases where significant copyright does change hands, we have paid money in return, which is something many contributors appreciate.
Thirdly, it should be noted that there are hundreds of contributions *around* the database server. The actual server is a pretty monolithic thing and it easily takes a year or two to get to know the code so that you can contribute something useful. So it doesn't happen very often. But there is a vibrant ecosystem of contributions around the server (in the form of drivers, tools, utilities, wrappers, etc.)
In summary I don't think the model is anti contributions. But I also understand that many are under the impression that it is. This is something we are now changing. We are making much more noise around the contributions we get, and we are making it easier to contribute (by making the product more modular, for instance, and by simplifying the paperwork). Comments and suggestions on how to best do this are welcome.