Archive for the ‘Open Source’ Category
There’s lots of buzz lately about the so-called “open-core” business model of Marten Mickos’s new employer. But this is nothing new. Depending on how you define it, InnoDB is “open-core,” and has been for a long time. The InnoDB Hot Backup (ibbackup) tool was always closed-source. Did anyone ever cry foul and claim that this made InnoDB itself not open-source, or accuse Innobase / Oracle of masquerading as open-source? I don’t recall that happening, although sometimes people got suspicious about the interplay between the backup tool and the storage engine. Generally, though, the people I know who use InnoDB Hot Backup have no gripes about paying for it.
What is the difference between open-source with closed-source accessories, and crippleware? I think it depends on how people define the core functionality of software. Some might say that backup is core functionality for a database; and others would point to mysqldump and say that InnoDB isn’t crippleware as long as there is some alternative.
I think InnoDB is an interesting case that illustrates what can happen when commercial and GPL play together. Part of that story is the appearance of XtraBackup, an open-source competitor to InnoDB Hot Backup. Everyone’s subject to the rules of the game, unless they restrict the “core,” which would make it non-open-source to begin with.
The Maatkit article on Wikipedia was removed some time ago, after being deemed not notable. I believe this is no longer the case. It’s hard to find a credible book published on MySQL in the last few years that doesn’t mention Maatkit, there’s quite a bit of blogging about it from MySQL experts and prominent community members, and the toolkit is certainly in wide use — it’s important enough that notable companies are supporting its development. It’s available through every major Unix-like operating system’s package repository. On Debian, it’s actually part of the mysql-client package, so if you install MySQL, you automatically get Maatkit too. I believe it’s probably the second most important set of MySQL command-line tools; the most important, of course, is the set of client applications that is included with MySQL itself.
But my opinion on this topic is beside the point. I’m the creator, and I’m biased. The Maatkit Wikipedia article should be created by independent people, not the project’s founder. If you think that Maatkit belongs on Wikipedia, I encourage you to help write that article.
Some of the utilities we were adding to Maatkit really did not belong there. Yes, this included some of the functionality in the now-retired mk-audit tool. We really learned a lesson about what it’s possible to support, design, spec, code, and test in a single tool.
I’ve moved those tools to a new project, Aspersa. Some folks are revolting and calling it Asparagus, because apparently that’s easier to say. Aspersa is the name of the common garden snail, which turns out to be a fascinating creature. It is also slow. Draw your own conclusions.
This project is more of a home for simple scripts and snippets — a simple place I can grab all the little utilities I use to make my life easy. There is a “summary” tool that largely replaces mk-audit’s functionality outside the database, and I plan to add a “mysql-summary” tool to summarize the database.
I don’t plan to make “releases.” You get the tools with wget directly from SVN trunk. There is no separate website, and little to no documentation, but there is a mailing list, and you’re invited to join and contribute.