Monday, 8 September 2008

Has MySQL lost the plot?

Ever since 5.1 went to release candidate status some months ago, we've been keenly awaiting GA status so we can deploy on our production servers with some more confidence. Truth be told, we would probably have deployed one of the beta releases were it not for some of the truly scary bugs listed in the change log - I mean come on guys, how on earth can you let a database get to release candidate status when it gets DESC and ASC mixed up when ordering results? That really threw me and then reading the change logs you see a whole host of issues that do not inspire confidence and make it seem as if the engineering team is trying to do to much at once - Maria (wtf did that come from), Falcon, 6.0 alpha, keeping 5.0 stable, moving federated tables in and out of the release ... it all looks a bit out of control to me and I wonder if this is a consequence of the loss of innodb to Oracle, Sun's involvement, Monty's imminent departure, ... it doesn't bode well for the future.

If I were Sun right now, I'd freeze ANY work on anything other than 5.1 and actually get it released. I'd maintain the freeze on anything else for 3 months to ensure that 5.1 bugs that crop up are nailed quickly and during that time I'd be having a lot of strategy discussions about where MySQL is going and why ... and then I'd streamline the development so that they're focussing on one problem at a time - and not dozens.

It all smells a bit like FFMPEG, a truly great (potential) video decoding / encoding engine that is ruined by poor project management and the inability of the group to focus on fixing bugs instead on building codecs that no-one really needs. Heck they don't even do formal releases now and have basically given up on any degree of control. It's a crying shame, if those in charge got together and said, right, for the next 6 months we implement no new features, we just concentrate on making what we have now work properly, they would have one of the best open source projects on the web - as it is, FFMPEG seems doomed to wallow in the backwaters of things that are great for hobbyists, but of little use elsewhere.

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