Shuttleworth says Ubuntu is sticking with MySQL

Other Linux distributions are moving to MariaDB for their default database management system, but Ubuntu is standing by Oracle's MySQL. Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth explains why.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Ubuntu and its parent company, Canonical, said on Google+ that Ubuntu 14.04 would include MySQL 5.6. I asked Shuttleworth why he wasn't using such MySQL forks as MariaDB. Shuttleworth answered, "We'll be happy to include solid code from MySQL forks as they mature. Percona, SkySQL, MariaDB are all interesting and would be nice to make easily available. "

oracle mysql
Rather than going with a MySQL fork, such as MariaDB, Ubuntu will continue to use MySQL as its default DBMS,

One major reason why Ubuntu is sticking with Oracle's MySQL is that Oracle made the effort to get MySQL 5.6 to work properly with Debian and Ubuntu. Yngve Svendsen, Oracle's Director of MySQL Engineering Services, apologized in a blog posting for Oracle's neglect of some Linux distributions in the past. Svendsen wrote, "We closed a gaping hole in our distribution on Linux."

The Norwegian-based developer explained, "When you’re upstream, you can easily lapse into a mode where you stop listening properly to those who sit downstream and have to process what you’re releasing."

By providing official MySQL repos Oracle has had a change in perspective that has, Svendsen continued, "made it easier for us to understand many of the important pain points of the distros. It quickly became clear to us that a good deal of those pain points could be fairly easily addressed, and in some of the more difficult cases, the folks involved in the repo project have acted as lobbyists internally in order to have Engineering priorities changed so we could fix some of the bigger things."

In particular, Svendsen said, "Over the last couple of weeks, we have seen our new experience and efforts bearing fruit in Debian and Ubuntu. Since late fall last year, release engineers and developers from the MySQL team have been working with the Debian and Ubuntu community to bring MySQL 5.6 into both distros." Moving forward "new MySQL maintenance releases should appear on a regular basis in Ubuntu."

So it is that MySQL 6.5 will be Ubuntu 14.04's default database management system (DBMS). Shuttleworth thinks Oracle has done great work with both maintaining MySQL and with integrating it with Debian and Ubuntu.

Other Linux distributors disagree about how well Oracle has done with MySQL. Red Hat, which has a long-standing conflict with Oracle about their Linux distributions, has decided to make MariaDB its default DBMS in its next major Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) release. SUSE is also expected to replace MySQL with MariaDB.

As for those who see Ubuntu only making this decision and other moves as an Ubuntu phobia about being like Red Hat, Shuttleworth said, "As for phobias, the real pitchforks have been those agitating against Oracle. I think Oracle have been an excellent steward of MySQL, with real investment and great quality. Appreciating and celebrating that doesn't detract from our willingness to engage elsewhere. I think the tendency to imagine conspiracies and malfeasance is one of the sadder aspects of OSS [open-source software] culture. Don't feed it."

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