back to article MySQL defends paid tarball decision

MySQL has defended a decision to end free community access to the latest source code for its popular database in an attempt to snag paying customers. Chief executive Marten Mickos said MySQL remains in full compliance with the principles of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS), adding the company's decision will help build a " …


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  1. Morely Dotes

    Learn to read, people!

    They aren't keeping source back. They're keeping the *TARBALL* of the source back.

    If you can't make your own tarball, what in the name of the Flying Spaghetti Monster do you think you're doing with an SQL database server?

    Or, short version: RTFM!

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There is always ...

    Postgresql is still a free Open Source database.

  3. Alan Donaly

    missing the point

    There is no sales benefit in this if you buy it you get the

    source you may improve on it for yourself or you won't

    but the added value is your responsibility in other words

    you don't get any community support no outside help

    and for most applications there won't be any need for

    source code so basically this means nothing and is

    off putting to open source shops who want the free outside

    help (one of the reasons to be open source) all in all

    it's the kind of desperation I wouldn't expect from MySQL AB

    you can do what you want don't expect it will do anything

    but give your competition another selling point.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Told you so...

    About 9 months ago when this commercial/free split was first mooted by MySQL, I posted to El Reg about what a bad idea this was (particularly for MySQL AB); my suggestion was 2 separate companies. Funny how Dorsal effectively saw the wisdom in this even though MySQL AB didn't. For MySQL AB it (their standing in the FOSS community) will get worse; it may impact their commercial product quality.

    How about a new slogan: FAB (Free, And Better)

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    yeah right..

    "Mickos has made it increasingly clear MySQL has faced problems in converting free users into paying consumers."

    LMFAO, what do they expect?

    We recently required the service of a MySQL consultant but got told we'd have to take out an enterprise subscription before they'd provide us with one - even though the consultant alone was costing close to £3000.

    After that contact they tried everything to get us to sign up, but just check out the prices -

    The problem is theres nothing substantial here to encourage people to part with their dosh! The only item they have is their new monitoring system, and its like I told their salemans, if they sold that as a seperate package for £500 pa per server, then they would get far more customers - but why would I part with £3000 for it? With the amount of servers we have, that would pay for a fulltime DB Administrator.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Exactly what stops other people...

    from downloading the source and putting it on sourceforge? I know this splits the codebase but considering the number of non paid developers versus the paid ones, it would only kill mysql ab as a company and we would still have the free version...

  7. Mike Stephens

    Everyone wants to be Larry Ellison

    You do get the feeling MySQL is moving relentlessly towards a more traditional business model. Good news for Oracle. They charge more but give you more features. Not so good news for MySQL - EntrepriseDB, or somebody, might suddenly seize their crown.

  8. Greg Berlin

    MYSql licence

    I recently contacted mysql about the fact that the commercial licence for clietns had disappeared off their website, and was told that as a developer, I had to take a licence.

    I asked for the agreement, and was amazed to discover that I had to collect their fees for them, and additionally I had to agree on behalf of clients that I know nothing about (they are not clients at the moment) that they would not use MySql for anything else other than my product, and that if my agreement with the client ended, the client would remove MySql from their system.

    Ridiculous terms, and I am now looking at Postgres!

  9. Andrew Poodle

    MySQL are not preventing access to Enterpise edition.

    MySQL have simply removed the enterprise tarballs from their own FTP servers.

    The Enterprise source is still available from the repository, from which you can make your own tarballs, OR from other places like dorsalsource where they are publically available.

    MySQL have only removed them from a point of distribution, and have NOT prevented or restricted access.

  10. James Le Cuirot


    Removing the tarballs wouldn't be so bad if BitKeeper wasn't a commercial application. Now only people who've paid for BitKeeper will be able to get to the source directly.

  11. Sabahattin Gucukoglu

    The Real Problem

    ... is that paying customers don't understand what they're paying for if the software is "Free" already. I mean, how can support for free software possibly cost more than the software itself?

    Solution: MySQL should stop this nonsense quick before people go over to PGSQL (yes, tarballs are needed - they are the standard from-source installation method and often include pregenerated configure scripts not found under revision control) and should tell their enterprise, genuinely-supported customers that yes, the software is free, but that they are agreeing to pay for support and that it's the support and maintenance that costs the money. Nothing more, nothing less, and it's an exclusive for the buyer who gets the add-ons not needed in the conventional LAMP stack or whatever for their managerial edification. I really don't see how MySQL can sell so easily to commercial entities just to meet the standard expectation. Hell, why don't they box the bloody thing up and send it with printed manual if it'll help? Why don't they agree to keep binary distributions available to paying customers only or port it to as many silly disperse platforms as possible? Why don't they just pretend the software isn't open source when paid for? Gord!

    It really isn't the time for this database to reach a forking point yet, although it's at times like this when the GPL really shines.



  12. Dr. Mouse


    It seems to me that they are just trying to make it more difficult for people to get the source. Strictly they are keeping it open source, but it seems to me more like they are trying to 'trick' people into buying it, because it is not as easy to get hold of the source.

    However, as long as it is GPL or similar (I'm not sure what the license is), anyone can distribute it, so all it needs is for the community to get together and make freely available tarballs of the latest stable code. Still more difficult for noobs to find, but better.

    To be honest, I can see why they are doing it, but I think it is wrong, and I hope the userbase lets them know they are being c**ts.

  13. Mo


    This isn't a smart move by MySQL. Yes, you can get the sources yourself, but that means being au fait with BitKeeper (and having a client available), whereas tarballs are… well, *the* way of distributing sources. I'd also be surprised if the BK repository contained the pre-generated configure script (and related autotools magic), meaning you've got to have the right versions of autoconf, automake and libtool present and correct before you can think about building it.

    “If you can't make your own tarball, what in the name of the Flying Spaghetti Monster do you think you're doing with an SQL database server?”

    Developer != sysadmin != DBA. To build, install and run MySQL from source you'll need to be all three.

    Still, if anything's going to push people towards PostgreSQL, this will. Shame, really; MySQL 5 is quite a good RDBMS.

    Mind you, doesn't Debian post the upstream sources alongside the diff and dsc required to build a .deb? Assuming they continue to distribute MySQL, all of the debian sources mirrors will continue to carry MySQL sources, which is presumably how FreeBSD Ports, pkgsrc, MacPorts, et al, will continue to work.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Closed source

    If they want to stop releasing the source to free customers, it is no longer closed source. If they were smart about it they would leave the engine and CLI Open source and close, for pay, the management utilities.

  15. Colin Guthrie

    Does this mean....

    ...that this page will disappear soon?

    I recently found a bug ( in the latest stable mysql and reported it. They got back to me and said they could not reproduce in their dev version, so to verify I needed to download and compile a snapshot. The above page allowed me to do that with the minimum of fuss. If I had had to mess around with a bitkeeper checkout (not a VCS I generally use) then it would have taken me a lot more time and I'd have been put off doing this testing for them (I had a wider set of test scenarios that the example I posted to the bug)

    They should appreciate that THEY gain from this as well as the general public.....

  16. Daniel Ballado-Torres


    ... was with what I started, switched to MySQL because of hype on it while learning PHP. Then switched back to Postgres circa 2004 after my advanced SQL course where my professor reamed MySQL for lack of a hell of a lot missing features (schemas, stored procs, views, subqueries amongs others). Though I had already my own reasons not to back MySQL: their documentation insisted on telling me transactions are useless and that only losers use referential integrity on your DB.

    Seems I jumped ship on time ... one of my other fears was that eventually MySQL would leave the free users out on the cold.

  17. Tim

    open source != free

    Regardless as to whether I agree or disagree with their decision, one crucial point that's missed by most of the "open source" community is just because something is "open" it does not mean it's "free".

    That most open source code happens to be free is another matter. That the software itself (or licence to use it) is free or not is also another matter.

    On another point...

    "... is that paying customers don't understand what they're paying for if the software is "Free" already. I mean, how can support for free software possibly cost more than the software itself?"

    Support is a more lucrative business in many markets than the software itself. There's nothing wrong with a business model that says you can give the software away "free" or cheap but charge more for support. In fact that's attractive to many who are prepared to work things out themselves and rely on community support rather than pay for official support, whereas an Enterprise business may want immediate support with legal implications by paying for it.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No one listens

    to me, I say it at least once a week or so but open source is taking advantage of the developer "community". This is just the first step towards closing off all the source and they are going to get away with a fully developed product while saving millions in R&D dollars.

    HAHAHA. People think they can really get a superior something for free. HAHAHA.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not a great track record on support

    Recently a serious MySQL bug meant that you couldn't compile PHP with both MySQL and SSL (even indirectly via CURL), that is to say, two of the more fundamental things required by web developers. This bug went well documented and unfixed (due to innumerable screw-ups) for 10 consecutive point releases. It required deletion of 2 (unused) lines of source code. The bug affected not only the community edition, but enterprise too. Sad but true.

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