NuSphere Making Moves in Open-Source Database Arena

By eweek  |  Posted 2001-10-13

On the heels of a product announcement from rival MySQL AB, NuSphere Corp. plans to up the ante in future versions of the open-source MySQL database.

The Bedford, Mass., company last month launched version 2.3 of its NuSphere MySQL Advantage, with new features focusing on security. Next up is an as-yet unnamed version launching in December, with new features for content management.

Like MySQL AB, which is run by various executives through Sweden, NuSpheres value-add for the database is documentation and technical support. The difference, said Chief Technology Officer D. Britton Johnston, is that NuSpheres version offers table handlers for things like row-level locking, transaction support, and crash recovery—features promised but not yet available in MySQL ABs product.

Versions beyond that will focus on application servers and Web services, Johnston said. Scalability improvements are also planned.

For James Martin, technology coordinator at the University of Arkansas, NuSphere MySQL Advantage solved an implementation problem. Martin needed to build a database-driven Web site for a childrens education project, and he first tried to integrate MySQL, the PHP scripting language and the Apache Web server on his own.

"I stumbled across NuSphere from a link" on a MySQL Web site, he said. "Its more than enough gun for the job."

Martin, in Fayetteville, Ark., cited NuSpheres installation and reliability as its better points. The future content management features will also be useful, he said. But its important for NuSphere to settle the lawsuit currently filed against it by MySQL AB, so users wont risk having different versions of the same core code, he said.

MySQL AB officials say NuSphere is violating the General Public License, because a part of its table handler, called the Gemini Storage Engine, has not been given back to MySQL for licensing, as the GPL requires.

Johnston said thats not true: MySQL originally accepted Gemini, then changed their mind, citing deadlines, he said. But NuSphere has since released Gemini under the GPL on their own, despite a claim disputing that on MySQLs Web site, he said.

"The main issue is around trademark rights. They clearly regret having sold them to us and now want them back," he said.

Annual licenses for NuSpheres version of MySQL cost from $300 to $500, he said.

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