MySQL proliferation

Long time no post but thats some stuff lingering in my head for a while looking at the mysql ecosystem lately.

For a long time I had to stay with MySQL-4.0 (sick I know) but there’s a lot of software to adapt to the new version(s) but lately I’m pushing it more and more into mysql 5.0.
MySQL 5.1 would be also interesting and even MySQL-5.4 … but thats where the trouble starts.
MySQL-5.4 came out of the dark, no one expected it and it gave numerous improvements … though its still in beta.
With that release (or at least around this time) MySQL started to change its release model to something new where the version numbers matter far less and where there should be regularly released. Well, Oracle has bought Sun which owns MySQL … so we will see what the next “release model” will be.

On the other hand there are some “forks” of mysql out there which offer more improvements or at least they are supposed to do this.
For one there is XtraDB which is supposed to be just a replacement for the InnoDB-plugin now … while it had more patches to the main mysql server before as far as I remember – so its not really a fork, just another storage engine.
Edit: just found a newer release – its called “MySQL with Percona patches”

Then there is MariaDB which should be a “… community developed branch of the MySQL database that uses the Maria engine by default.” (quote from the linked page) which is developed by Monty Program AB and the OpenDatabaseAlliance.

Being “only” a collection of patches and builds of MySQL with patches is OurDelta.
I’m pretty sure that there are more forks or patch collections out there, please forgive me if yours isn’t listed.

But here is the question. Which MySQL version / patchset / fork should one use?
Previously it was just the question of using the commercial enterprise or the community version. Now I’m just confused.

Next problem is the distribution on linux …
Nearly all my servers are using Gentoo as the linux distribution but have you ever looked at the status of mysql in there?
The latest “stable” version is dev-db/mysql-5.0.70. dev-db/mysql-community-5.1.21_beta is in there, but not marked as stable (5.1.39 being the last one on the mysql homepage), 5.4.x is nowhere to be seen, same for XtraDB, MariaDB … . I don’t blame it on the maintainers – who should keep up with that flow of releases, different branches and/or forks. I also heard rumours that all the latest versions are failing numerous tests for the maintainer(s) and therefore won’t go in.
If I want to use a recent stable version or one of the enhancements I will have to do my own builds instead of using the great gentoo infrastructure for that. I could, sure, but time is low and I would get far further if I could use the regular way to install (and update) software on Gentoo. I don’t have a full blown infrastructure team to keep the systems going.

If I wouldn’t have too many software using raw database calls in php or perl I would seriously consider switching to some other database, PostgreSQL or the like. I heard even Maurice considering switching to Postgresql in the future and supporting the Postgresql layer for Phorum.

If there is no one stopping this proliferation of the mysql ecosystem and providing reliable and regular stable builds of a tree, I think Oracle won’t have to worry about MySQL anymore. There will be not too much left of its userbase and community.
But maybe its just me, painting things black, who knows ;-).

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