MySQL Is No Linux

By Lisa Vaas  |  Posted 2004-04-14 Print this article Print

Those who liken the database market to the operating-system market, where Linux has been successful, and expect similar advances by the open-source database products are mistaken. In the operating-system market, unprofitable fragmentation and needless differentiation existed among hardware vendors proprietary Unix implementations. There were many incentives for the industry to consolidate on a Unixlike product to which they could contribute and which they could control. No such incentive exists in the database industry. Despite the arrangement between SAP and MySQL, which appears quite limited in its actual impact, it appears unlikely that major industry players will align around MySQL.
Beyond Linux at the operating-system level, there really are relatively few other successful open-source products, and these include Web listeners [Apache], scripting languages like Perl or PHP and Java virtual machines [JBoss AS]. In these cases, the technology required to compete successfully is quite limited, especially compared with databases. Even in these areas, as with Linux, there are relatively large numbers of developers in the open-source community contributing to the development of their respective technologies. This situation does not exist in the MySQL case, where there are few actual contributors to the code base and where the company strategy includes acquisition of core technologies. The bottom line here is that in five years, while MySQL may be more capable than it is today, database products and related technology will have moved forward, as will customer requirements. It is not obvious that MySQL will be able to meet these requirements even then. Next page: You can lust after Oracle customers, but youre not getting them, Jacobs says.

Lisa Vaas is News Editor/Operations for and also serves as editor of the Database topic center. Since 1995, she has also been a Webcast news show anchorperson and a reporter covering the IT industry. She has focused on customer relationship management technology, IT salaries and careers, effects of the H1-B visa on the technology workforce, wireless technology, security, and, most recently, databases and the technologies that touch upon them. Her articles have appeared in eWEEK's print edition, on, and in the startup IT magazine PC Connection. Prior to becoming a journalist, Vaas experienced an array of eye-opening careers, including driving a cab in Boston, photographing cranky babies in shopping malls, selling cameras, typography and computer training. She stopped a hair short of finishing an M.A. in English at the University of Massachusetts in Boston. She earned a B.S. in Communications from Emerson College. She runs two open-mic reading series in Boston and currently keeps bees in her home in Mashpee, Mass.

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