MySQL reserves Key features for paying customers

Open source database server MySQL is facing a new uprising within its customer base over plans disclosed this week to reserve some key upcoming features, and their source code, for paying users of its namesake database. Officials at Sun Microsystems Inc., which acquired MySQL in February, confirmed that new online backup capabilities now under development will […]

Open source database server MySQL is facing a new uprising within its customer base over plans disclosed this week to reserve some key upcoming features, and their source code, for paying users of its namesake database.

Officials at Sun Microsystems Inc., which acquired MySQL in February, confirmed that new online backup capabilities now under development will be offered only to MySQL Enterprise customers — not to the much larger number of users of the free MySQL Community edition.

The plan was detailed during meetings at MySQL's annual user conference in Santa Clara, Calif., during which Sun also delayed until late June the release of a MySQL 5.1 upgrade in order to iron out some remaining bugs.

This is the second dust-up between MySQL and its users in the past eight months. Last August, an earlier decision to stop making the MySQL Enterprise source code openly available to users without paid subscriptions drew criticism from some members of the MySQL community.

Red Hat Inc. and many other open-source vendors test new features by first offering them to nonpaying users, who also get access to the source code for those features.

MySQL's software reportedly is used by tens of millions of individual users, and its corporate customers include Google Inc., Yahoo Inc. and some of the most popular Web 2.0 sites. Cheerfully acknowledging in an interview with Computerworld last year that only one in a thousand MySQL users paid for the software, then-CEO Marten Mickos said that the company had no plans to make some of its products and source code proprietary.

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