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Re: Pseudo-Off-topic-survey: Opinions about future of Postgresql(MySQL)?

From: Grega Bremec <grega(dot)bremec(at)noviforum(dot)si>
To: Christopher Browne <cbbrowne(at)acm(dot)org>
Cc: pgsql-admin(at)postgresql(dot)org
Subject: Re: Pseudo-Off-topic-survey: Opinions about future of Postgresql(MySQL)?
Date: 2004-08-15 12:16:16
Message-ID: (view raw, whole thread or download thread mbox)
Lists: pgsql-admin
...and on Sat, Aug 14, 2004 at 12:21:57PM -0400, Christopher Browne used the keyboard:


> > In MySql's case they're pouring all of their talent into MaxDB. Why,
> > because SAP is backing that and their making money.  Give MySql a
> > couple more years and it will become stagnant.
> Are you certain that's what is taking place?  
> Consider it stipulated that what people say on web sites may be mere
> marketing fluff, but consider that the things that have gotten added
> to MaxDB(tm) are pretty limited:
>   a) They added the ability to use the same network protocol used
>      by MySQL(tm);
>   b) They introduced a way to replicate between MySQL(tm) and
>      MaxDB(tm) databases.
> They make _no_ claims about there being any future to MaxDB(tm),
> whereas a big chunk of the marketing of MySQL(tm) discusses
> enhancement plans.
> It seems more likely to me that the opposite is taking place, namely
> that MySQL(tm) is the product getting all the "talent," whilst
> MaxDB(tm) is stagnating.

FWIW, I attended this lecture from Patrik Backman of MySQL AB in november
of last year, and given the fact not much has changed since then in terms
of their release schedule, I dare assuming their strategic plans, which
were the main topic of that lecture, weren't that fluctuous either.

What they explained about MaxDB was the following: they took a vow with
SAPDB to continue developing MaxDB under the MySQL AB standard dual license
model, which means they can't really simply "take it off the opensource
shelf", because they have contract issues to deal with. Namely, the dual
license model was one of the terms under which SAP would provide them with
all the intellectual and material rights to SAPDB.

Their long-term development plan is as follows:

    1.  first of all, port the feature set that enables protocol stream
	feed from MySQL to MaxDB, in order to enable smooth migration and
	replication (including some features and concepts from MySQL
	gutter to make interoperation really nice) - this is the phase
	we're currently in

    2.	port the missing functionality from MaxDB to MySQL in order to
	enable creation of a "MySQL proxy for MaxDB", which would make
	it possible for one to communicate with MaxDB using standard
	mysql client tools, such as mysql, mysqldump, mysqlimport and
	mysqladmin; this would in turn make it trivial for existing
	SapDB/MaxDB customers to migrate between the products

    3.	now, as they're definitely not stupid, they realize maintaining
	two products would be an overkill, so their end goal was set to
	be one single codebase, which would then be used (in a manner
	similar to their MySQL/MySQL-Max/MySQL-Pro fork) to create a
	number of "products" with different feature sets, segmented to
	potential markets they targetted at that time

This one single product would brobably be based on the existing MySQL
codebase with features incorporated from MaxDB, as it's clearly suicidal,
thinking that they would be able to "fix and arrange" something as big
as SapDB and all of its legacy code.

Their basic philosophy regarding their existance in the market of open-
-source databases doesn't change too much though - see below.

> MySQL(tm) got its initial "market penetration" because it got promoted
> by free software advocates as a "free" database, and because it was
> freely usable for web hosting.

> In contrast, MaxDB(tm) simply hasn't got that "buzz" behind it.  MySQL
> AB will have to spend heavily on marketing and sales reps in order to
> get sales, and with Oracle and IBM being billions and billions of
> dollars more entrenched, I just don't see that going anywhere.

MySQL AB realize that the VAST majority of their market exists for one
simple reason - the MySQL server is deadbeat simple to install and configure,
and their basic feature set is large enough for most of the users that need
only the most basic functionality in a database server. And that is also
what helped them in being able to focus primarily on performance of simple
queries: they never had to deal with concurrency, cross joins, foreign key
constraints, hell, even subselects, much less all of the "fancy features"
as Patrik called "the stuff our users don't really need".

They do realize they can't just change brands because it would eventually
kill the gravity MySQL already has in the market, so they set MaxDB as
being sort of an "intermediate" product, which is probably going to be
made obsolete by the growing MySQL server.

> That points to why I find it unbelievable that MySQL AB is throwing
> all their talent at MaxDB(tm).  I can't imagine that a company whose
> own "flagship" is as leaky a product as MySQL(tm) could expect to turn
> around a piece of software that SAP AG, with _enormously_ greater
> resources, found it futile to continue maintaining.  There are
> scenarios that make sense, but not that one.

Indeed, that is what seems to be the case.

    Grega Bremec
    Senior Administrator
    Noviforum Ltd., Software & Media

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