The current release of MySQL shows the problems free and open source software projects face that put business first and community second. Michael “Monty” Widenius critizes in his Blog the current developement model of MySQL and recommends not to use the current release 5.1 of the database system.
The reason I am asking you to be very cautious about MySQL 5.1 is that there are still many known and unknown fatal bugs in the new features that are still not addressed.
Monty gives a some reasons why the MySQL development department again got a quality problem with the release. Some of them are:
- MySQL 5.1 was declared beta and RC way too early. The reason MySQL 5.1 was declared RC was not because we thought it was close to being GA, but because the MySQL manager in charge *wanted to get more people testing MySQL 5.1*. This didn’t however help much, …
- We have changed the release model so that instead of focusing on quality and features our release is now defined by timeliness and features…
- The MySQL core developers have been split into too many teams and only a small part of the core developers have been working on MySQL 5.1 to get the bugs fixed. Some of the core developers have also recently left the MySQL organization which is a serious issue as there is not many of of them.
- Too many new developers without a thorough knowledge of the server have been put on the product trying to fix bugs…
- Bug fixing and development processes are not systematic and not persistent.
- We have not been giving the MySQL community enough opportunities to test MySQL 5.1 (too few releases). … the MySQL current development model doesn’t in practice allow the MySQL community to participate in the development of the MySQL server …
- Internal QA on the MySQL server was started very late in the process. Now when the process have started to show results, the found bugs have largely being ignored as fixing these they would delayed the MySQL 5.1 GA date.
- The MySQL server team have a bug fixing policy where a bug that has existed a long time has a lower priority ‘because people know about them’. This is supposedly one of the reasons why the Bug#989 mentioned above has not been fixed.
As I said in my talk at the MySQL users conference, I think it’s time to seriously review how the MySQL server is being developed and change the development model to be more like Drizzle and PostgreSQL where the community has a driving role in what gets done! (http://monty-says.blogspot.com/2008/11/oops-we-did-it-again-mysql-51-released.html)
What can we learn for the LXDE project here? The consequences are clear. During recent months we have already worked hard to improve the tools and infrastructure for the growing LXDE community and we will continue to do it. The community must take a leading role in development of software systems in order to keep the system on the bleeding edge.
Companies are always welcome to join development and focus on their business models. Projects like LXDE have a roadmap that is following long term goals instead of short term profitability. We are inviting more people to join the LXDE development, test LXDE and support and contribute – for faster and more energy efficient software. Please check out our contribution page at http://join.lxde.org.
Mario Behling is a German born serial entrepreneur. He founded the lubuntu project, and as the co-founder of FOSSASIA he supports communities to develop open technologies for social change. Mario presently works on SUSI AI from his Singapore base.
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