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MySQL Prepares To Go Public

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the bring-it-on dept.

Databases 150

prostoalex writes "MySQL CEO Marten Mickos told Computer Business Review the company plans to go public: 'Now entering its twelfth year, the company has built up just less than 10,000 paying customers, and an installed base estimated to be close to 10 million... When it does go public, MySQL will be one of only a handful of open source vendors to do so. Red Hat, VA Linux (now VA Software), and Caldera (now SCO Group) led the way in 1999 and 2000...'"

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two out of 3 aint bad (3, Insightful)

macadamia_harold (947445) | more than 7 years ago | (#17823968)

When it does go public, MySQL will be one of only a handful of open source vendors to do so. Red Hat, VA Linux (now VA Software), and Caldera (now SCO Group) led the way in 1999 and 2000...

Well, as long as Darl McBride doesn't get his hands on the company they should be ok.

Re:two out of 3 aint bad (1)

jack_csk (644290) | more than 7 years ago | (#17825912)

Wait... you are giving ideas to Ralph Yarro and his army...

amen (5, Insightful)

battery111 (620778) | more than 7 years ago | (#17823976)

I think it's awesome when open source companies go public. It allows them to get enough capital to truly innovate, and help prove to the unbelievers that open source IS a viable, successful way to make outstanding software. I hope more open source companies continue this trend.

Re:amen (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17824036)

Really? What wild new innovations have come from those you listed?

Going public means that the companies primary goal becomes to please the stockholders rather than employees and customers. It's nice that the folks who started it up usually get rich, but it doesn't tend to do good things for anyone else.

Re:amen (2, Informative)

egreshko (462434) | more than 7 years ago | (#17825520)

Sorry to disagree with you...but...

      What makes stockholders happy?
      Rising stock prices.

      How do companies like Red Hat make their revenue?
      Maintenance subscriptions.

      If customers are unhappy they will stop subscribing to maintenance.
      If customers stop their subscriptions, Red Hat's revenue declines as do
      their stock price. This makes stock holders unhappy.

So, there is a linkage.

         

Ramen (4, Insightful)

remmelt (837671) | more than 7 years ago | (#17825788)

The problem with your reasoning is that stockholders are very bad at long term projection. If they can turn a profit in a short time they'll jump at the chance, no matter what long term fall-out may be. This is true because stockholders don't care about the business itself but about the profit it makes. See, a typical stockholder doesn't care how good RedHat's maintenance subscription service level really is. If they can cut the service in half and still retain a number of clients, they will. This will ultimately be bad for business and it's immediately bad for customers and customer relations, but it will up the profit, so it's done.

If you would buy stock in a somewhat anonymous company, would you go and investigate what their business practices are like? Do you care about their customer service? I appreciate that there are exceptions, but most likely you won't. Yes, there are people who invest in companies that they know and care about (sports clubs come to mind,) but the majority of investors invest for a profit. If a company can turn a profit sooner rather than later, they will go for it. Most investors won't care about the database, the open sourciness, the service, the customers or anything else, but they'll care about the numbers on the yearly report. There is linkage, but if it's not apparent, if it's not 1-1 related, there won't be much interest.

Our guiding principle is "Do the Right Thing." This means doing what is best for our staff members, customers, business partners, and communities for the long term, and believing that "right" answers exist. It also means measuring our success, not merely in financial terms, but by how consistently we act according to this principle.
(From here: http://www.mathworks.com/company/aboutus/mission_v alues/ [mathworks.com] )
I think that is very well said, and I think it's something that doesn't go over well for public companies. MathWorks is still privately held.

Re:Ramen (2, Informative)

malsdavis (542216) | more than 7 years ago | (#17826150)

Although I agree somewhat with your point, I think you're greatly oversimplifying the issue. After all a privately owned company still has shareholders; the difference is just that not everyone can go and buy those shares as easily.

There are many different types of stockholder and although I agree going public inevitably opens up the company to the ones just looking for short term gain, its erroneous to think all stockholders think that way (many of the most savvy investors realise investing means potentially going in for the long haul). After all, unless your a hedge fund manager or such, then the chances of you making money from buying and selling stocks in the short term (i.e. less than a few years minimum) are actually pretty low.

Personally, I think the problem isn't as much about stockholders only being concerned about the short term - unless the company starts loosing money and/or avenues of revenue, when this happens stockholders do tend to panic and want random things changed - the problem is the possibility of stock holders seeing a good quality, well run, company (which happens to sell OSS) and buying a stake because they can see the company has potential but then attempting to shift the company towards a more conventional business model. This usually means less resources going towards the actual open source development and more emphasis on the revenue generating services on the side. I worry companies like Red Hat have been greatly affected from this stockholder driven change.

Capital isn't the problem. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17824574)

PostgreSQL [postgresql.org] has done far more with far less capital.

Since you probably won't believe me, I invite you to compare the features of each. Visiting each project's web site is a good place to start. Once you see how much further ahead PostgreSQL is technologically than MySQL, consider how they managed to accomplish that with relatively little capital.

Re:Capital isn't the problem. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17824626)

Postgres (pre sql) was developed at UCB, so it was partially government funded. I agree that Postgresql is technologically superior, without the funding and fulltime employees that MySQL AB (and innobase) have.

Re:Capital isn't the problem. (1)

chromatic (9471) | more than 7 years ago | (#17825086)

Once you see how much further ahead PostgreSQL is technologically than MySQL...

Are you familiar with MySQL's storage engine concept? It's powerful stuff.

Trolling (1)

remmelt (837671) | more than 7 years ago | (#17825818)

Are you familiar with stored procedures? Subqueries? It's basic stuff.

(Sorry. Yes, I know that MySQL has all those things now, my point is that pgsql had them ages ago. Also, I'm a happy MySQL user. Also also, phppgadmin is nothing like phpmyadmin. Etc, etc)

Re:Capital isn't the problem. (1)

sunny256 (448951) | more than 7 years ago | (#17825506)

PostgreSQL [postgresql.org] has done far more with far less capital.

Since you probably won't believe me, I invite you to compare the features of each. Visiting each project's web site is a good place to start. Once you see how much further ahead PostgreSQL is technologically than MySQL, consider how they managed to accomplish that with relatively little capital.

One of my criterias for "software healthiness" is how much the community is involved in the development and management of the source code. It is interesting to see that the source code for MySQL is stored in a BitKeeper repository [mysql.com] instead of something more community-friendly like CVS or Subversion. A real turn-off for me, at least.

Is that 10,000 customers total over 12 years? (3, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#17824008)

Or is that 10,000 customers that regularly renew their MySQL licenses?

What's the average license cost? $40,000?

Re:Is that 10,000 customers total over 12 years? (2, Informative)

Duncan3 (10537) | more than 7 years ago | (#17824160)

$595 - $4995/server/year. Most in the low end I'm sure.

$4995 is still a heck of a lot less then a full time DBA.

Re:Is that 10,000 customers total over 12 years? (2, Insightful)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 7 years ago | (#17824352)

most real dba's have a lot more then a single server to look after. try about 10 or more. a dba's a heck of a lot cheaper.

Re:Is that 10,000 customers total over 12 years? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17824390)

You can get a DBA for $50K/year?? I'm in!

Re:Is that 10,000 customers total over 12 years? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17824484)

In Canada, depends where. In India, definitely. In US, probably not. DBA is not really that skillful of a job when it comes to MySQL.

Re:Is that 10,000 customers total over 12 years? (3, Insightful)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 7 years ago | (#17824528)

$4995 is still a heck of a lot less then a full time DBA

Um... how does paying for the license get around needing a DBA? It's not exactly an either-or.

10,000 customers? (3, Interesting)

mcrbids (148650) | more than 7 years ago | (#17824022)

I'm not sure how to take this.

1) They managed to acquire 10,000 customers? Who are these customers, and why would they pay MySQL for a product that's not only free, but has better competitors available for free?

2) 10,000 customers, with 10 MILLION installs? So the odds are 1 in 1,000 that a user of your product would actually pay you anything? Those are TERRIBLE numbers....

Ahgh. Conflict. Partly because I just don't like MySQL - I'm a Postgres user and shrug my shoulders as to why anybody would use something with all the warts of MySQL...

Re:10,000 customers? (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 7 years ago | (#17824074)

mysql has some nice things put into it recently that postgresql could learn from eg. paritions and it's distributed abilities. (i use postgresql personally and i'd love to see pg do similar things) I'd guess that they have 10,000 business customers who would want to either modify the code themselfs and not gpl it or have mysql write them customised versions of the db for them. those licenses aren't cheap, they'd be making a healthy profit on them to be sure.

Re:10,000 customers? (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 7 years ago | (#17825866)

Although I've not used these features, I believe PostgreSQL supports partitioning [enfranchisedmind.com] .

Re:10,000 customers? (0, Troll)

GMontag (42283) | more than 7 years ago | (#17824076)

Who are these customers, and why would they pay MySQL for a product that's not only free, but has better competitors available for free?

Apparently they are customers who don't really need a database but they have employees who convinced them to spend money on a cutsie file system.

Re:10,000 customers? (5, Informative)

martenmickos (467191) | more than 7 years ago | (#17824102)


Thanks for the questions!

The customer count is over several years. Yes, the majority of our users choose not to pay. The current ratio is something like 1 in 1,000. But as you probably know as an open source user, there is great benefit to a project also from the ones who don't pay.

Those who pay do it for the value-add they receive: production support, scheduled binaries with only bug fixes, the monitoring and advisory servce, etc. From a business perspective the great thing is that the ratio of paid to non-paid is changing and our business is steadily growing.

We are proud at MySQL to build something that has great value to the FOSS communities and is a great business at the same time.

Sorry to hear that you don't like MySQL, but great to see that you nevertheless take time to read /. postings about us and to post your own. Let us know what "warts" you see in our product and help us improve it. Then perhaps one day you will find that it serves your needs.

Marten Mickos, CEO, MySQL AB

Re:10,000 customers? (5, Interesting)

nagashi (684628) | more than 7 years ago | (#17824182)

1) An admin utility (no, phpmyadmin doesn't count for crap) that doesn't suck. Please, just take pgadmin and make it connect to mysql. PLEASE. MySQL Administrator and MySQL Query Browser work very poorly.

2) fix Unicode. UTF8?

3) How about stored procedures/functions with the same name, but different # of parameters? Works great in postgres.

4) Character truncation when inserting into char fields. (maybe this is fixed now? Last version I used was 5, just before it went GA)

5) Real standard TIMESTAMP data types.

6) Get rid of myisam and make InnoDB the standard. MyISAM is a joke.

Of these, 1-2 are very serious issues which will prevent me from working with it. 3-4 make my life more difficult, but I can get around them. 5-6 just make it much more of a serious database. Something where if people ask me what database I recommend for a project, I can honestly say 'MySQL!' and not have every other developer in the room give me odds looks (currently I usually say Postgres).

Re:10,000 customers? (1)

B3ryllium (571199) | more than 7 years ago | (#17824358)

I disagree with your slam against phpMyAdmin. I find that it's much easier to use for quick and simple projects than something bloated and ugly like pgadmin3.

That said, pgadmin3 is a cut above MySQL Administrator. But it's all open-source, so there's always room for improvement :)

Re:10,000 customers? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17824414)

MyISAM is certainly not a joke. Sure, it has its limitations, but for its niche, it works quite well for what we use it for. Bulk load performance makes for a great staging area when you load 250+ million records per day (and that includes everything else we throw at MySQL to process the data). The ability to choose engines optimized for the task at hand is powerful and we make use of a number of them in our design including MyISAM and INNODB. I feel no need to defend MySQL; it works.

Re:10,000 customers? (1)

chromatic (9471) | more than 7 years ago | (#17825102)

MyISAM is certainly not a joke.

I can't believe you're doing data warehousing without ACID compliance! Do you not care about the integrity of your data?!

Re:10,000 customers? (1)

kv9 (697238) | more than 7 years ago | (#17825736)

I find it curious that, on Slashdot, every armchair-software-engineer keeps slamming MySQL, yet in the real world [wikipedia.org] it seems to be working just fine. and please, no stupid "everyone uses Windows too, so it must be GREEEEEAT" analogies. you know what I mean.

Re:10,000 customers? (2, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 7 years ago | (#17825902)

yet in the real world it seems to be working just fine.

And let's pick a not-so-random name from that list; Wikipedia. Remember when they had some major hardware issues, which caused their database servers to crash. The admins announced proudly that almost half of their database servers had come back online without data corruption! They actually believed the fact that half of their MySQL installs had trashed their data due to not supporting ACID properly was a good thing just because not all of their machines had been in the middle of a sensitive operation at the time.

This is why people laugh at MySQL users. They honestly seem to believe that a product which doesn't even fulfil the basic requirements for a database is adequate for their needs. Try an experiment; get a real database and a MySQL server running, and keep firing transactions at them. Then pull the power cord out of the machine. Do this a few times. See which database has any data left at the end. A real database will lose the last transaction (there's no way it can't, unless you have redundant everything including power), but it won't lose the rest of the data.

Re:10,000 customers? (1)

isorox (205688) | more than 7 years ago | (#17826046)

See which database has any data left at the end. A real database will lose the last transaction (there's no way it can't, unless you have redundant everything including power), but it won't lose the rest of the data.

Decent servers have two PSUs, and any buisness that needs to run 24/7 will have 2 mains supplies, fed from two directions, with 2 seperate UPS systems

Having said that we have a crtitical piece of software runnign on mysql 4.0.16 (yup, that's right), with myisam tables, and the application that runs on them is flakey at best. About once a month it crashes leaving the table indexes mucked up, which means a 30 minute downtime while they are rebuilt if we're lucky (the worst time was 8 hours of downtime)

Troubel is, that piece of software is out of our control.

Re:10,000 customers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17824642)

oh yeah, like I want to use InnoDB and have the transaction log eat up my entire disk

Re:10,000 customers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17824876)

"stored procedures/functions with the same name, but different # of parameters"
You don't even know the name for that?

Re:10,000 customers? (1)

Bronster (13157) | more than 7 years ago | (#17825670)

Perhaps it has multiple different names (polymorphic indeed) and the grandparent wanted the damn kids to get off his lawn^W^W^W^W^W^W^W^Wto provide maximum clarity about the actual feature wanted and how it would work.

Re:10,000 customers? (2, Informative)

killjoe (766577) | more than 7 years ago | (#17825730)

"An admin utility (no, phpmyadmin doesn't count for crap) that doesn't suck. Please, just take pgadmin and make it connect to mysql. PLEASE. MySQL Administrator and MySQL Query Browser work very poorly."

Try sqlyog. It's free and it kicks the ass of pgadmin any day.

Re:10,000 customers? (2, Informative)

kv9 (697238) | more than 7 years ago | (#17825760)

1) An admin utility (no, phpmyadmin doesn't count for crap) that doesn't suck. Please, just take pgadmin and make it connect to mysql. PLEASE. MySQL Administrator and MySQL Query Browser work very poorly.

HeidiSQL [heidisql.org] . it's sexy.

Re:10,000 customers? (1)

Hohlraum (135212) | more than 7 years ago | (#17824326)

Marten how do I get in on the IPO? :)

Re:10,000 customers? (4, Funny)

codepunk (167897) | more than 7 years ago | (#17824336)

Marten, he wants you to add table vacuum so we have to spend our weekends like we do on postgres running it just to keep the database from grinding to a halt.

Nope, just keep doing what you do best...

Re:10,000 customers? (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 7 years ago | (#17824382)

you do realise mysql requires vacuum just like postgresql, and all other dbs for that matter? postgresql just has AUTO vacuum so that you don't need to do it manually....

Re:10,000 customers? (1)

headLITE (171240) | more than 7 years ago | (#17825222)

That's not exactly the same. PostgreSQL vacuum frees up disk space used by deleted data; the data stays on disk until you do that and it's not overwritten by new inserts/updates. InnoDB in MySQL doesn't free up space for deleted data immediately either, but it does re-use that disk space for new inserts/updates. You can cause InnoDB to free up this space manually, and yes this is similar to vacuum in Postgres, but unlike in Postgres it's not necessary for the database to work.

In other words, if you have a database where you delete 100 rows and add 100 rows each day, the Postgres database will continually grow by the size of those 100 rows added until you vacuum. With MySQL, the database size will be the maximum size ever required for the database until you alter table engine=innodb, which will reorganize the table. But it will not grow by 100 rows every day and in fact not grow at all most of the time. And if you configure InnoDB to use one file per table, you can restrict this to tables that actually need it.

Re:10,000 customers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17825390)

That is a feature, for fucks sake. It's so you can have your databases reside on write-once mediums such as optical disks. This is basically a requirement if you're data is sacred, such as in banking. Yes, it may appear strange if all you ever do is use your database for toying, but I work with international banks, and they wouldn't want it any other way. Tamper-proof is really important, vaccum is a consequence of that.

Re:10,000 customers? (1)

headLITE (171240) | more than 7 years ago | (#17825808)

I never data is sacred, whatever that means. But you can use logging in MySQL and log all transactions to some write-once media if you like.

Re:10,000 customers? (5, Informative)

slamb (119285) | more than 7 years ago | (#17824340)

Sorry to hear that you don't like MySQL, but great to see that you nevertheless take time to read /. postings about us and to post your own. Let us know what "warts" you see in our product and help us improve it. Then perhaps one day you will find that it serves your needs.

I don't like that MySQL does not keep my data safely and securely out of the box. Some examples:

  • I need to flip a whole set of knobs [mysql.com] to make MySQL return failure on invalid data. Apparently TRADITIONAL, ERROR_FOR_DIVISION_BY_ZERO, NO_AUTO_VALUE_ON_ZERO, NO_ENGINE_SUBSTITUTION, NO_UNSIGNED_SUBTRACTION, NO_ZERO_DATE, NO_ZERO_IN_DATE, ONLY_FULL_GROUP_BY, and STRICT_ALL_TABLES. No other RDBMS even has these knobs, much less has the defaults wrong.
  • There's no way (that I can find) to completely turn off non-transactional tables. As I understand it, if I forget to tell it when creating a table to make it transactional, it's silently not. If a transaction involves even a single non-transactional table, the whole thing is non-transactional. This makes me nervous.
  • I don't know if it does an fdatasync() at the right times out of the box on all table types. I need ACID, not doubt.
  • When users have no password set, anyone can connect without a password. Contrast to PostgreSQL: no one connects without authentication unless you explicitly say so in the configuration file. But it's unobtrusive because local users can authenticate via Unix domain sockets / SO_PASSCRED.

I can't take MySQL seriously until this changes. I understand that you have backward compatibility concerns, but that's life - you pay a price for the poor decisions you've made in the past. You might have to go through a long deprecation period before you can get rid of these knobs. At the very least, don't have them flipped this way unless I start mysqld with the --treat-my-data-as-garbage command-line option.

If you fix this fundamental problem, I'll be impressed. I may not use your product, but I will stop laughing at it.

Re:10,000 customers? (1, Interesting)

headLITE (171240) | more than 7 years ago | (#17825256)

You can't completely turn of non-transactional storage engines, but you can configure a different default engine. If you configure InnoDB as default-storage-engine in my.cnf, then by default your tables will support transactions.

So in total, all you're complaining about is settings you can actually change easily, either in my.cnf or in the server command line. Maybe I'm missing your point, but what exactly is it?

After all, *some* setup has to be the default, and you can't just dismiss MySQL because its default is not identical to yours because there are likely millions of users with defaults different from yours.

Re:10,000 customers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17824362)

How about you start caring about data integrity? Going for years before no longer accepting February 31st as a valid date isn't really inspiring about how much you care about the integrity of my data.

You can start by making strict mode actually work. You know, so that say when someone tries to insert 0-0-0000 as a date, it not only throws an error, but doesn't enter the bad data in the table. It does now. That's not how "REAL" databases work. If you enter invalid data, it throws the error, and refuses to insert the bad data into your table to corrupt it's integrity.

Re:10,000 customers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17824600)

Let us know what "warts" you see in our product and help us improve it.

Well I'd love it if a vendor picked up a book on the relational model and created a product that implements it. Yeah, I guess *all* SQL databases are enormous "warts" when compared to the theory buy MySQL is particularly egregious.

A DBMS should do three things: store data, manipulate/query data, and maintain the integrity of data. Can we get a little more help on #3 please? Would it be possible to create a "MySQL for non-dummies" that is actually strict? That allows arbitrary declarative constraints, and uses them to optimize queries when appropriate? That requires all tables to be transactional?

For extra bonus points (which means I would actually *pay* for such a product), let's just toss SQL baggage out the window. How about a DBMS that allows me to create custom types and operators? So I can store my customer objects directly in the DB, instead of decomposing them into fields? How about storing data in set-theoretic relations, instead of "rows" that allow duplicate entries? How about a simpler query language so that queries can be expressed as formulas in relational algebra instead of weird, verbose pseudo-english sentences? How about fully updateable views that are stored on disk, so it's easy to refactor associated code (I see newer MySQL supports this to a very limited extent, though not with joins)? How about column-based storage, so joins are cheaper (why should joining 10 tables be so much more expensive than 1-2)? How about making it possible to specify KEYS separately from INDEXES? How about relation-valued attributes, or array-valued attributes, or distributed foreign keys, or temporal support, or any of the stuff that I read about in theory books and then wish I had when I'm coding?

This post brought to you by whiny database dude.

Re:10,000 customers? (1)

jadavis (473492) | more than 7 years ago | (#17825054)

I think that MySQL could show a little more restraint in the configuration file and other options. It's too easy to have two apps -- both of which support MySQL -- which can't work together on the same instance of MySQL. I think it's better to make changes more slowly and send signals to the users about what the better practices are, even if they change over time.

Also, the fact that a table can behave differently depending on the storage engine is quite worrisome. If a storage engine doesn't support a constraint efficiently, support it inefficiently. Then people can evaluate for themselves how important that constraint is given the alternatives that exist.

In this respect MySQL is like another popular open source project, PHP. Both technologies -- if you'll forgive the overstatement -- have configuration files that look like a FAQ: "How do I get MySQL to do xyz?" - "It's a configurable option". PHP is starting to change the trend and be more forceful to its users about using "good" practices. Not everyone agrees on every detail about what's "good" and what's not, but steering towards accepted practices and away from configureware makes PHP apps more compatible, and have less surprising results and interactions. I think MySQL will need to do the same.

It's easier to provide a configurable option (or a new table type that silently ignores whatever is inconvenient) than to educate users about how to use a pre-exising, consistent system to accomplish their task. I think there are some instances where both PHP and MySQL are guilty of that.

This is a major (if not the major) difference in philosophy between MySQL and PostgreSQL.

Re:10,000 customers? (5, Insightful)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 7 years ago | (#17824126)

I'm a Postgres user and shrug my shoulders as to why anybody would use something with all the warts of MySQL

Don't you feel the burning irony of posting this on Slashdot, one of the more prominent MySQL users?

While you're busy with your tiny holy war, people take MySQL for what it offers and builds useful services and sites with it, among those Google, Yahoo, Digg, Apple...

Re:10,000 customers? (1)

Reality Master 201 (578873) | more than 7 years ago | (#17824244)

Don't you feel the burning irony of posting this on Slashdot, one of the more prominent MySQL users?

I'd bet not; nor would I. I'd imagine that the grandparent poster is merely someone who likes writing applications against a more featureful database.

Re:10,000 customers? (1)

killjoe (766577) | more than 7 years ago | (#17825764)

I would not call it "more featureful" I would rather use "differently featureful". Mysql has lots of features postgres doesn't including a cluster table type, case insensitive collation, multi master replication (over a WAN!), etc. It takes an average person five minutes or less to set up mysql replication, compare that to slony for example.

Re:10,000 customers? (3, Interesting)

mcrbids (148650) | more than 7 years ago | (#17824320)


Don't you feel the burning irony of posting this on Slashdot, one of the more prominent MySQL users?


Not at all. You *can* build great things with marginal technologies. It's just harder to do so.

Slashdot doesn't face a number of problems that MySQL would fail them on. Slashdot has a rather simple database schema - complex queries and joins are few to none. They don't rely on 100% ACID compliance. They don't use the database to help enforce data integrity.

So MySQL is sufficient for their needs.

But PostgreSQL matches in *all* these areas, and still manages to offer solid performance on complex queries/joins. It offers robust and mature ACID compliance. It offers excellent integrity constraints for your data.

It's not whether or not you can get something to work with MySQL - just like you can build a house with a dollar-store hammer. But why use the dollar-store hammer if both it and the $20 hammer are available to you for free?

Furthermore, the license behind PostgreSQL is MORE FREE than the one behind MySQL. You can build a commercial, shipping product with PostgreSQL and not be beholden to per-sale fees, as you'd see with MySQL.

So, again I ask.... Why would anybody use something with all the warts of MySQL?

Re:10,000 customers? (2, Insightful)

darekana (205478) | more than 7 years ago | (#17824446)

Why would anybody use something with all the warts of MySQL?
Probably for out-of-the-box replication...

Re:10,000 customers? (1)

headLITE (171240) | more than 7 years ago | (#17825288)

Furthermore, the license behind PostgreSQL is MORE FREE than the one behind MySQL. You can build a commercial, shipping product with PostgreSQL and not be beholden to per-sale fees, as you'd see with MySQL.
That's just the old BSD vs. GPL discussion, no point in trying again to establish which one is more free. But consider this: If PostgreSQL was LESS FREE in your terms of freedom, it would be the only Oracle compatible open source database by now. As it is, EnterpriseDB, which is PostgreSQL with added Oracle compatibility, is a closed-source, commercial product.

Re:10,000 customers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17826192)

Furthermore, the license behind PostgreSQL is MORE FREE than the one behind MySQL.

No it's not. MySQL sucks, but that has nothing to do with the license.

There is only one license problem with MySQL -- they insist on using the GPL for the connection libraries (not even the LGPL, the full GPL). Which, like Trolltech and QT, is a blatant attempt to use an inappropriate license to scam money.

Re:10,000 customers? (5, Funny)

dfetter (2035) | more than 7 years ago | (#17824348)

No more ironic than that slashdot runs on the .org TLD, which in turn runs atop PostgreSQL.

Re:10,000 customers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17824608)

I happen to know that Slashdor is powered by my submissions. It says so on the front page. My submissions. Not yours. Mine.

Re:10,000 customers? (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#17824658)

Allow me to put this another way...

If you think Postgres is so much better than mySQL (and I'm honestly not debating with you that it isn't) then go start your own open source company around Postgres to provide support services. You should make a fortune and put mySQL to shame.

We'll wait here till you get back.

Re:10,000 customers? (1)

Dan Farina (711066) | more than 7 years ago | (#17824786)

Someone has tried this before...Pervasive Software.

They failed [pervasive-postgres.com] , but not for the reason you might expect:

What have we learned? While we always knew that PostgreSQL is a solid product with advanced database capabilities and that it has a very real opportunity to shake up the high-end database market, we underestimated the high level of quality support and expertise already available within the PostgreSQL community. In this environment, we found that the opportunity for Pervasive Software to meaningfully increase adoption of PostgreSQL by providing an alternative source for support and services was quite limited. Accordingly, we have made the decision today to substantially curtail our focus on our PostgreSQL initiative.

Re:10,000 customers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17824700)

Ask Jamie McCarthy what kind of contortions they go through to make MySQL usable. Or CmdrTaco, who has stated his 2 biggest regrets are using mysql over postgesql and calling the iPod lame.

Re:10,000 customers? (1)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 7 years ago | (#17824796)

Ask Jamie McCarthy what kind of contortions they go through to make MySQL usable. Or CmdrTaco, who has stated his 2 biggest regrets are using mysql over postgesql and calling the iPod lame.

Can you provide links to provide context and support of your statements?

Re:10,000 customers? (5, Interesting)

drix (4602) | more than 7 years ago | (#17824166)

Well, instead of trolling for Postgres, let's mosey on over to the MySQL website [mysql.com] and see if we can figure out why someone might want to pay, hrm? Ahh yes, here we go, MySQL Enterprise. Mmm. Let's click that [mysql.com] . Iiiinteresting. Says here you get 24x7 web and phone support plus 30 minute emergency response time. Eat that, pgsql-bugs [postgresql.org] . You also get consultative support [mysql.com] from people who spend all day tuning MySQL installations for max performance and reliability. I can't even find the Postgres analogue of that to make fun of. Lots of other goodies too numerous to mention [mysql.com] that might be worth paying for.

If you're tossing Wankr 2.1 [parm.net] together in your bedroom then MySQL free, pgsql, or even sqlite is more than enough to meet your needs. If you run a large business that relies on MySQL to actually make some $$, then purchasing support is a rational choice. Especially since TCO is still about an order of magnitude less than competition [oracle.com] .

Painful Irony (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 7 years ago | (#17824778)

I've seen some guys at LinuxWorld who were offering commercial PostgreSQL support, and was going to post that link here, but I ran across this one [postgresql.org] from the official FAQ while googling for it and found it too rich to pass up posting.

Anyway, google for 'postgresql support' and you'll find several hits on the first few pages. A few have dorky requirements like buying a license to their rebranded 'distro' of postgresql.

Re:Painful Irony (1)

richlv (778496) | more than 7 years ago | (#17825938)

i congratulate you on a joke that almost flew over my head :)
if modpoints would not expire exactly before i need them... yeah.

Re:10,000 customers? (2, Insightful)

mcrbids (148650) | more than 7 years ago | (#17824908)


If you're tossing Wankr 2.1 [parm.net] together in your bedroom then MySQL free, pgsql, or even sqlite is more than enough to meet your needs. If you run a large business that relies on MySQL to actually make some $$, then purchasing support is a rational choice. Especially since TCO is still about an order of magnitude less than competition.


I make money with my PostgreSQL database. My small-but-growing business will pass the $1,000,000 gross income mark this year, with over 30% profit margins. My issue here is that PostgreSQL has "just worked" with zero significant support issues in almost 7 years.

24 x 7 x 365.

Over 70 school districts use our product, and while there are the inevitable wrinkles, uptime is *never* a problem, and never has a single support thread been tracked back to a fault in the database.

So, no. That's not an issue. At least, as far as I can determine.

My experience with "paid support" is that people who are essentially hired monkeys and who do not understand what they're talking about do google searches for you while you wait. If that fails, they talk to their managers who then do more google searches.

Typically, it's 4 or 5 days before you get ahold of somebody who does anything but google searches, and he/she then needs to spend a few hours determining that there is a real issue to be addressed. And when that happens, they'll implement one of the solutions found in a google search first.

But a support e-mail list usually has meaningful answers within a few hours if your question is reasonably well written, and doesn't cost jack.

Which do YOU prefer?

Re:10,000 customers? (1)

headLITE (171240) | more than 7 years ago | (#17825296)

My experience with "paid support" is that people who are essentially hired monkeys and who do not understand what they're talking about do google searches for you while you wait. If that fails, they talk to their managers who then do more google searches.

See, that's exactly what MySQL support is not. I invite you to go over to mysql.com and have a look at their job offerings, where you can read the qualifications required for a support engineer.

MySQL support (1)

shani (1674) | more than 7 years ago | (#17825956)

I second this comment.

I've never had good IT support for software, except from MySQL. It was still a bit painful to get to the engineer who could actually make the code changes to fix the problems, but it did happen, and the problems were fixed.

Re:10,000 customers? (1)

destiny_uk (732199) | more than 7 years ago | (#17826166)

I subscribe to the top level support package - and I have to say it's the best tech support I've ever experienced bar none. You get direct phone/email access to the guys who develop it with 30mins response! They are not monkeys!

Re:10,000 customers? (3, Insightful)

jadavis (473492) | more than 7 years ago | (#17825084)

Says here you get 24x7 web and phone support plus 30 minute emergency response time.

Sun Microsystems offers 24x7 PostgreSQL support.

Eat that, pgsql-bugs

I've always found the mailing lists to be great. I'm sorry you didn't have that experience. By the way, pgsql-bugs is not a typical support channel, you'd be better off in pgsql-general or #postgresql if you have support needs. Unless you have an actual bug, of course.

Re:10,000 customers? (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 7 years ago | (#17824168)

Sounds about right. In my own experience with free software, about 1 in 1000 downloads pay up. The large companies almost always pay. Small one man businesses sometimes pay. Europeans usually pay. Russians and Indians never pay...

Re:10,000 customers? (2, Funny)

grcumb (781340) | more than 7 years ago | (#17824378)

In my own experience with free software, about 1 in 1000 downloads pay up. The large companies almost always pay. Small one man businesses sometimes pay. Europeans usually pay. Russians and Indians never pay...

In Soviet Russia, YOU pay the customers!

(Shit, I just made a Soviet Russia joke. Now I feel dirty....)

Re:10,000 customers? (2, Funny)

codepunk (167897) | more than 7 years ago | (#17824296)

You mean warts like not having to run a vacuum on the frigging database every week so it does not grind to a halt. I love the functionality of postgres but I don't see it as being no where near as fast or as stable as mysql.

Re:10,000 customers? (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 7 years ago | (#17824410)

postgresql has auto vacuum which does this in the background 99.999% of the time without you even noticing. all db's require vacuum, bar none. this is because when you update or delete a record the space that record consumes is not removed only it's data. if you update or delete a lot of records this can result in a huge database filled with nothing, slowing your queries down.

Re:10,000 customers? (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 7 years ago | (#17825930)

Ignoring your double negative, the only place I have seen MySQL out-perform PostgreSQL is on simple SELECTs, and if that's all you are doing with your database (or even the majority of what you are doing) then you might be better off with SQLite (which takes a little bit of getting used to, but is a real joy to use). As to stable, I wonder if you are using concurrent connections? In my experience, MySQL falls over under heavy concurrent load, while PostgreSQL just slows down.

Re:10,000 customers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17824344)

Partly because I just don't like MySQL - I'm a Postgres user and shrug my shoulders as to why anybody would use something with all the warts of MySQL...
Well congrats! This post marks your 1933-th time you used MySQL over here.

Re:10,000 customers? (1)

mynameismonkey (658515) | more than 7 years ago | (#17824754)

I pay for it. I have several installs where MySQL is the right tool for the right job and it needs to be up, we need the security of vendor support and so does my client (a large US state government).

I have many more installs where I don't pay for it.

You said "So the odds are 1 in 1,000 that a user of your product would actually pay you anything? Those are TERRIBLE numbers...."

I say "So you get 1 person in a thousand to pay you for your product, even though it's totally free? Tell me more".

Re:10,000 customers? (1)

cheater512 (783349) | more than 7 years ago | (#17825900)

10,000 paying customers. 10 million installs. Seems pretty straight forward to me.
They do have a lot of non-paying customers you know.

The paying ones pay MySQL for support and a few goodies I think. Check their website for details.

Oracle aquisition (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17824062)

Yay, with MySQL public it will be easy for Oracle to acquire them in a hostile take-over and EOL their product. Go free market.

For once (1)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | more than 7 years ago | (#17824080)

I read all remarks before replying. I had planned to infer the same. But, there are other giants interested in databases too. IBM and Microsoft to names the largest. So, it wouldn't be cheap at all. 30 billion USD?

Re:Oracle aquisition (5, Informative)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 7 years ago | (#17824088)

won't matter if they do, someone will fork the GPL version. ah the beauty of gpl. companys can totally fuck up a product and we will still get to use it as we please.

Re:Oracle aquisition (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17825344)

leech.

customers won't pay unless they have to (don't give me crap about ensuring the success of the community if you're not paying anything).

sorry... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17824108)

I see no point in using mysql except in preexisting software
. I use firebird for small app work, and postgres when I need a large application. No licensing costs for closed source, unlike MySQL's awful ripoff.

They claim the protocol falls under GPL because it uses structures in the protocol. If that is so, Gaim is violating the GPL over the aim, msn, and icq protocol.

Re:sorry... (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 7 years ago | (#17824694)

. I use firebird for small app work, and postgres when I need a large application. No licensing costs for closed source, unlike MySQL's awful ripoff.

I'm just curious - why not postgresql for the small app work? I've been looking at firebird recently and wondering where it fits. TIA.

Re:sorry... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17824750)

firebird can run in "embedded mode" If the app is small then it doesn't require such a large database. Firebird can run in standalone or like postgres runs in a network mode. If the application is really small, then I use sqlite.

Re:sorry... (1)

headLITE (171240) | more than 7 years ago | (#17825318)

I don't understand how MySQL is a rip-off - apparently you expect to get something for free that is created by 350 employees at MySQL? How is it a rip-off if MySQL wants to be able to pay those 350 salaries?

Not all public companies are worth billions (3, Informative)

Duncan3 (10537) | more than 7 years ago | (#17824128)

Wow, lots of rage filled comments so far.

Not all public companies are worth as much as GE or WalMart. Vast numbers of public companies exist, and many are only worth a few million. 10k customers paying for support (we all know they need it) is still millions in revenue a year, more then enough to go public without being bogus.

Public != Billions.

Invest or not invest? (1)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 7 years ago | (#17824232)

The dot-com craze proved that you can make a lot of money on stocks with a bad business model (at least for a while). So the question isn't whether a MYSQL company will be succesful in the long term, but whether there are enough people out there who believe it will to make it at least a good short-term investment.

Re:Invest or not invest? (1)

squizzar (1031726) | more than 7 years ago | (#17825740)

Might be completely wrong, but isn't there some kind of stock market scam you could play with this. Take an open source company with an established name. Put it on the stock market, make some money from the sale and let it go bankrupt. noone owns the IP so there's no assets to sell off (e.g. nothing to lose for going bankrupt) and when it's all over you pick up the latest CVS and start again.

Probably massively over simplified, but there's gotta be something along those lines that you can do.

I hope my folks buy this time. (1)

mfh (56) | more than 7 years ago | (#17824252)

I told them to buy Google and they ignored me. Maybe this time they won't?

Re:I hope my folks buy this time. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17824480)

How is that paid account working out for you, big boy?

Go mySQL (1)

nnila (1057870) | more than 7 years ago | (#17824258)

Hope this proves to other companies that being Open Source and giving away your software for free can in the long run actually be profitable and make you many lovers along the way. Been using mySQL for years and love it. It set the way for free databases for using for projects on webhosts world wide. Good luck to it!!

Cost (1)

JoshJ (1009085) | more than 7 years ago | (#17824266)

Is there an estimated opening price for this? I'm not really familiar with how IPOs work, but if the shares are low enough in price to begin with, even someone who doesn't have a lot of spare cash could invest in MySQL- I would love to invest in Free/Open Source software but I also don't want to be pissing half the money I spend on the "investment" on a brokerage firm and related stuff.

Re:Cost (1)

nacturation (646836) | more than 7 years ago | (#17824324)

Is there an estimated opening price for this?
Maybe it will open at the same price that VA Linux did [yahoo.com] -- but I hope for MySQL's sake that their stock does just a tad better one year later.
 

Re:Cost (1)

JoshJ (1009085) | more than 7 years ago | (#17824368)

Sheesh. Google started out at approximately $100- I'd expect something like this to start out much lower. I was thinking something like $20-30, but if it's $200 like that VALinux, that seems like a bad deal.

Re:Cost (1)

daft_one (532587) | more than 7 years ago | (#17824572)

Keep in mind how utterly arbitrary (and meaningless) the "price" of a stock is, especially for an IPO. If they want to raise $6 Million, they could theoretically sell 6 shares at $1M each or a million at $1 each--or anything in between/beyond either end. If the stock comes out at $100, it isn't necessarily more expensive than another stock that comes out at $20. (Aside from what follows, think about it this way... You have $500 to invest. Do you really care if you've bought 5 shares at $100, or 50 shares at $10, if its value increases by x%? You make the same amount of money either way.) What will really matter as far as the value of the stock, will be how much money they are earning per share, and what their growth rate has been recently/is estimated to be in the future--all relative to similar companies. Because I'm lazy and it's late, I'll just recommend you read something like this: http://investopedia.com/terms/p/price-earningsrati o.asp [investopedia.com]

Re:Cost (2, Informative)

KrisWithAK (32865) | more than 7 years ago | (#17824514)

If it was just announced, I don't think a price has been set yet.

An IPO is an initial offer of stock for sale to the relatively general public -- primary market. Usually an equity syndicate team at one or more investment banks determine the best combination of price and quantity of shares to offer to maximize the capital raised for the company, while still making the value attractive to investors. Besides taking a cut of the capital raised, the banks might also buy some of the shares themselves before/after passing on the IPO offer to usually their most "valued" and "qualified" clients. If I remember correctly, the IPO for RedHat was $14 . If you don't get the "IPO", then you have to buy it once it opens on the open market -- the secondary market. If the stock is hot and has lots of hype, then it usually opens in the market much, much higher. It also technically shouldn't matter much if you buy 1 share for $100 or 10 shares at $10 each. It all depends on the perceived value per share. Other things to look at are earnings growth and/or dividends. I've enjoyed reading Jim Cramer's latest 2 books.

Disclaimer: This post is not an offer to buy or sell securities. Investing involves a lot of risk. You must determine for yourself your goals and risk tolerances... possibly with the help of a licensed financial services professional. I am not one, so please don't ask me!

New Website (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17824364)

They should think about hiring a decent graphics person for their website first. The new design is hideous. It's like they tried to copy suns website, but failed miserably. I think someone got carried away with the gradient tool.

Geeks = Suckers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17824744)

Open Source company? Yes, to reap the benefits and take advantage of all geeks. But they read the GPL as the Devil would read the Bilble. Just using (not extending, changing or even looking at the source) their product means that all your source code must be GPL!!

For me this is the worst case of taking advantage of the good name of GPL and the open source movement to make some serious amounts of cash.

Geeks are just so easy to use by large corporations... *suckers* Why else do you think corporate America likes open source?

Re:Geeks = Suckers (1)

headLITE (171240) | more than 7 years ago | (#17825332)

No, that's not actually true, you can use MySQL fine without having to use the GPL for your software.

However you may be using a GPL'd connector - so you're linking to a GPL library. Not actually new, it's the same for all GPL code.

But I don't understand anyway, why do you expect to get something for free while you don't seem to give away something in return?

Traditional IPO? (1)

Falladir (1026636) | more than 7 years ago | (#17824884)

Would it be possible for this IPO to be run Google-style? I don't remember the details, but slashdotters surely remember the story. There was a big online auction instead of a traditional IPO, so that investors could deal (almost, I guess) directly with Google.

Is it that only a very high-profile company like Google can make that model work?

Just in time for Oracle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17825470)

Which software/media heavywight is going to buy them out.

I fell tbe bubble is rising, when will it pop?
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