Peter Marklund

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Interview with MySQL CEO

InfoWorld is featuring an interview with MySQL CEO Marten Mickos.

MySQL is by far the most popular open source database and it is distributed by the MySQL company in Sweden. The database software has a so called dual licence which means that if you modify the software you must either pay the 550 Euro licence fee or share your modifications with the rest of the world (presumably you can also do both). Not surprisingly, only a small fraction of all MySQL installations (4000 out of an estimated 4,000,000) are contributing the licence fee to the MySQL company.

Last year when developing web applications on top of MySQL and JBoss for Nordic Wave in Stockholm I was very frustrated by MySQL not having referential constraints and soon convinced my colleagues to shift to the PostgreSQL database. Rumors have it that the MySQL database is ACID compliant these days. I recently talked to the OpenACS project leader Don Baccus about why we don't use MySQL, and as the interview with Marten Mickos confirms, MySQL is still lacking fundamental database features such as views, triggers, and stored procedures. Allegedly, if all goes well, MySQL will have these features in production in version 5 sometime next year.

Mr Mickos doesn't forget to mention that he is from the same community in Finland as Linus Torvalds (the father of Linux). He says that the tradition of community and openness in Scandinavia provides fertile ground for open source. This fertile ground however didn't keep the authors of the Statskontoret Open Source Report from calling Sweden "Microsoft Country" and point out Germany as a role model in terms of open source adoption in the public sector. Let's hope that Marten is right though and that the nordic countries are waking up now and will be catching up. The media coverage and interest in open source that I have noticed over the last year suggests that this is actually the case.