The changes are in the areas of release policy and stability of MySQL Community Server and in the availability of MySQL Enterprise Server.
The changes start from the question: "How can we better target MySQL Community Server to the community and MySQL Enterprise Server to the paying customers?". Many of them originate from our ongoing discussions with the Linux Distributions, some of whom have been distributing MySQL Enterprise Server to their user base, since MySQL Community Server hasn't conformed to their needs of feature stability and release schedule.
Our intention is for MySQL Community Server to be very good, and for MySQL Enterprise Server to provide further value on top of that. The five changes, in short, are:
- New features and community contributions will go into the next development tree. The new features will not be applied to a current GA release, ensuring stability for the Community Server. At the time of writing, the development tree is MySQL 5.2.
- There will be at least two yearly Ã¢â‚¬Å“mature GAÃ¢â‚¬Â (currently MySQL 5.0) binary builds. They aren't scheduled, but usually triggered by grave security vulnerabilities.
- When a version of MySQL initially goes GA (as 5.1 soon will), the company will release binary builds of the new GA product every month for a period of several months until it reaches a point of suitable stability/maturity to be considered a "mature GA" release -- as described above.
- There will be four yearly Ã¢â‚¬Å“mature GAÃ¢â‚¬Â (currently MySQL 5.0) source releases, predictably scheduled, to be released once every quarter. These will be ideal for use by distributions shipping MySQL.
- The current Enterprise source tarballs will be removed from ftp.mysql.com. These will move to enterprise.mysql.com, and will be available for our paying subscribers only.
Let me expand upon the first and the last items.
Community contributions: As I know this is a topic important to our contributors and potential contributors, let me provide an example. I confess: We've been bad at incorporating new features. We haven't entered much more significant than SHOW PROFILE, and it took many months and several builds to mature. And we cannot continue with this practice of applying patches to a stable release, because new features will destabilise the release. That's what we've been hearing from both distributions and contributors. We're listening, and we're learning. By no longer going for the impossible (adding features to a feature frozen release), we hope to change this dynamic for the better.
Enterprise source code availability: I expect three questions, "Why?", "Does this conform with the GPL?" and "What keeps a paying customer from building and posting Enterprise binaries?". The rationale is to underline the positioning goal of "Community Server for community users, Enterprise Server for paying users". And the GPL requires us (like anybody else) to hand out the code to those whom we give the binaries, which in the case of MySQL Enterprise Server is just the customers. So it does conform to the GPL, something that we've verified with the FSF to eliminate any doubt. And as for the third expected question, the answer is "Nothing". Still, we feel that most business users will see the value of a MySQL Enterprise subscription that offers regularly-reliable software updates directly from the 'source', along with premium 24x7 technical support and proactive monitoring/advisory tools.
To finish off, let me repeat a number of basic facts which stay unchanged:
- both the Enterprise Server and the Community Server remain licensed under the GPLv2
- MySQL Enterprise Server has Monthly Rapid Updates (MRUs) and Quarterly Service Packs (QSPs), i.e. binaries delivered to our customers; building these binaries is a service for paying customers only
- bugs are first fixed in MySQL Enterprise Server builds, and while updates are delivered quicker and more frequently to paying customers, bug fixes are also added to the next source and binary builds of MySQL Community Server as stated above
- when scheduled, we build Community binaries for all platforms
- community binaries and sources are still available for download at dev.mysql.com/downloads
- all source trees are still available via BitKeeper
- the Enterprise Server is close to a full subset of the Community Server
With these changes that are intended to simplify life for the Linux Distributions that distribute MySQL, we hope to better serve the MySQL user base, while continuing to provide additional value to our paying customers in the form of more frequent, scheduled binary bug fix releases.
If you have any questions with regards to this, please do not hesitate to reply via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.