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The Ups and Downs of MySQL AB 210

Posted by Hemos
from the pick-the-battles-to-fight dept.
Wannabe Code Monkey writes "Forbes has an article about a recent MySQL deal with SCO and the reaction from the open source community: "It's been a rough week for Marten Mickos, the chief executive of open source database maker MySQL AB. First his most dreaded rival, Oracle acquired a company that supplies a key piece of MySQL's software, a move that could make life difficult for Uppsala, Sweden-based MySQL, which has the most popular open source database. If that wasn't bad enough, Mickos is being denounced as a traitor by noisy fanatics in the open source software community because last month he dared to make a deal with SCO Group, a company reviled by fans of Linux and other open source software.""
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The Ups and Downs of MySQL AB

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  • I'm confused. Even if SCO acquires a component, isn't the final F/OSS release of that component still F/OSS per the GPL or whatever license it was released with?

    Take said component and keep refining it.

    If this is a future worry, adapt the license so that other OSS components remain OSS if future versions are commercialized.
    • by BVis (267028) on Saturday October 15, 2005 @11:32AM (#13797383)
      If taking SCO's money is what keeps the product viable, and if the final product is still F/OSS, who really gives a hoot? SCO's money spends just as easy as anything else, and the OSS community hasn't lost anything.

      We don't live in a world of moral absolutes. Businesses sometimes have to be practical at the expense of muddying the moral waters. I'm sure that if they could have avoided even taking SCO's calls they would have, but taking the money enables them to be a going concern.

      Besides, the more SCO spends, the faster they will inevitably go out of business, so that can only be a good thing, right?
      • We don't live in a world of moral absolutes.

        Agreed. But when SCO starts making money through this partnership and then turns around and uses that cash to attack the same community that SCO despises, does that make any sense?

        SCO not only burned bridges, they set the entire landscape on fire. For a leading player in the F/OSS movement to then hook up with them is very disturbing. Should we expect MySQL developers to suddenly be paid by SCO? What would SCO expect in return?

        When I heard the news, I se

    • by team99parody (880782) on Saturday October 15, 2005 @11:35AM (#13797406) Homepage
      The problem is that MySQL's business depended on a dual-licensing model where they selling a proprietary-licensed version of MySQL. Sure, they could keep using the GPL'd InnoDB in the GPL'd version of MySQL; but they can not incorporate the GPL'd InnoDB in the proprietary MySQL.

      Ironically, if Oracle insisted that future supported versions of InnoDB only be released as a GPL'd work - it could be one of the greates things for MySQL-the-GPL'd-product and one of the worst things to MySQL-the-company.

      • The problem that MySQL DB is having right now is that it's too dependent on one company: MySQL AB. And that company is proving that it is not stable enough to count on.

        If I were a MySQL DB user, I would be planning for an outcome that did not require MySQL AB, because the company might not be in the same form a year from now. Possibly even choose something else that has a stronger community behind it, or at least a stronger company behind it.

        MySQL has a big community, but it's organized not around itself, b
    • by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Saturday October 15, 2005 @11:44AM (#13797452)
      MySQL AB has all the licenses to MySQL.

      They release it under a dual license.

      Now they're accepting SCO money to "partner" with them to develop MySQL so it works better on SCO's server software.

      Now, do a quick search for SCO & IBM & "Project Monterey". See the parallels? And SCO has sued THREE partners/customers over code use.

      The question will come down to what contracts cover what money being spent in what ways to write what code and who owns what rights to what code.

      Personally, I see this as just a way for SCO go try to get possession of the MySQL code base. Only an idiot would sign a developmental contract with SCO after everything that's been revealed from the court cases.
      • MySQL AB has all the licenses to MySQL.

        Just a terminology nit: MySQL AB neither has nor needs any licenses for MySQL. MySQL AB *owns* MySQL. They hold the copyrights, and issue licenses to others.

        Now, do a quick search for SCO & IBM & "Project Monterey". See the parallels? And SCO has sued THREE partners/customers over code use.

        Yeah, MySQL AB might want to think twice about doing business with a company with such a track record except for two things. First, based on the way MySQL AB's bu

        • by twiddlingbits (707452) on Saturday October 15, 2005 @12:53PM (#13797771)
          "No matter how insane the SCO management is, lawyers aren't going to take on a case they're not going to get paid for."

          WRONG..it's called a Contingency case, they win they get paid, they lose they get nothing. This approach is very common in personal injury lawsuits.

          The SCO case is a hybrid of this where Boise-Schiller took company stock as part of the fee, they win and the price goes up and they clean up, they lose SCO goes under they get only the cash part of the compensation.

          Anyone getting involved that deeply with SCO must have a screw loose, SCO is just crazy enough to sue mySQL in hopes of keeping themselves alive a bit longer even after they lose to IBM (and appeal of course).
      • Now they're accepting SCO money to "partner" with them to develop MySQL so it works better on SCO's server software.

        uhhhh...

        From GrokLaw's interview with Marten Mickos: [groklaw.net]
        no money went to SCO from MySQL, so MySQL is not supporting SCO financially

        So, MySQL isn't accepting SCO money.

        From The official Press Release [mysql.com]:
        As part of the agreement, the companies will work together on a range of joint marketing, sales, training, business development and support programs that will benefit customers th

      • Many of us in the FOSS community didn't really care about this "partnership" between MySQL AB and SCO until Mickos tried to defend it as a moral thing to do in the name of dialog (see Groklaw for an interview to this effect, and a prior article on a speech he made to that regard).

        It is one thing for EnterpriseDB to enter into such a partnership and say "this is about helping our customers. Don't read more into it than that" and MySQL entering into a partnership and saying that this is about dialog and help
  • Bah! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TerminaMorte (729622) on Saturday October 15, 2005 @11:31AM (#13797380) Homepage
    If that wasn't bad enough, Mickos is being denounced as a traitor by noisy fanatics in the open source software community because last month he dared to make a deal with SCO Group, a company reviled by fans of Linux and other open source software."
     
      Next on Forbes: How much negativity can we pack into one sentence? Find out!
  • by anandpur (303114) on Saturday October 15, 2005 @11:31AM (#13797381)
    http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=200510112 11450706 [groklaw.net]

    * no money went to SCO from MySQL, so MySQL is not supporting SCO financially
    * it was SCO seeking out the partnership, not the other way around
    * MySQL had stopped supporting SCO in 2004
    * MySQL did not put out the press release about the partnership. Mickos did provide a quotation for the press release however. Here's the press release in question, taken from MySQL's web site. http://www.mysql.com/news-and-events/news/article_ 948.html [mysql.com]
    • I don't give a damn about his points, they are irrelevant.

      Since SCO paid money to MySQL and offered development assistance to MySQL .. How do we know they will not try to pull a stunt of saying MySQL stole ideas or misappropriated their money to incorporate new features into MySQL?

      This is my biggest concern. I no longer feel safe using MySQL. There is now a risk of getting sued by SCO down the line. Anyone who thinks this is not far fetched .. so is the Linux suit .. and once they lose that they need anothe
      • From Grandparent:
        no money went to SCO from MySQL, so MySQL is not supporting SCO financially

        From you:
        Since SCO paid money to MySQL and offered development assistance to MySQL

        did you READ the GP post?! Let me reiterate. no money went to SCO from MySQL .

        Say it with me, you and all the other people who posted the exact same claim below:
        no money went to SCO from MySQL

        Also, NO CODE was shared. No development assistance is being shared. The ONLY thing the companies are sharing are marketin

        • You're kidding right? All three things say the same thing. The Great-Grandparent says "no money went to SCO from MySQL", the Grandparent says "Since SCO paid money to MySQL" then you say "Let me reiteratre, no money went to SCO from MySQL". Well yeah that's right, and everyone agrees with you

          Say it with me, you and all the other people who posted the exact same claim below: no money went to SCO from MySQL

          We've already been saying it with you, you're just apparently not reading things correctly.

      • Honestly as much as I hate their companies I rather use Oracle *puke* or Microsoft SQL Server *vomit* than MySQL at this point, because i dont have to worry about being sued.

        Honestly, how can you even consider that your only option is to go from MySQL to SQL Server or Oracle. Have you ever heard of PostgreSQL? It would make much more sense to replace MySQL with PostgreSQL, and then complain about having to move up to Oracle if PG doesn't work out for you. I won't bother to re-list the same features a
      • Ummm, if SCO loses the IBM suit they will also lose the counterclaims and IBM will literally eat them alive. This is because if they lose the suit, that means they lied and IBM will be sure to win their Lanham Act claims. That is if Novell doesn't get the first helping. All leftovers will go to Red Hat. Why do you think they are delaying so much in the IBM suit?

        Everyone seems to forget that IBM has 20 some odd claims against them from IBM, Novell and Red Hat.
    • by tyler_larson (558763) on Saturday October 15, 2005 @12:24PM (#13797641) Homepage
      The backlash against MySQL for dealing with SCO is harsh, probably unwarranted, but, most importantly, very effective at conveying the desired message: don't talk to SCO. Don't even return their phone calls.

      SCO, you remember, is a UNIX company--they don't write all their own software, which is why their OS is POSIX. They absolutely rely on cooperation with the community to make their product marketable.

      Now, they're blacklisted. Companies and projects that use community-driven models (or even market to such organizations) are clearly and unequivocally forbidden to associate in any way with SCO. It's just not worth risking the sort of backlash that hit MySQL.

  • Gosh, SCO have not run out of money yet? I thought the Web site implied they have: http://www.linuxstolescocode.com/ [linuxstolescocode.com] (hint: see error page).
  • a key piece ?? (Score:2, Informative)

    by six (1673)
    Although InnoDB is quite a niece piece of work, I wouldn't call it a key piece of the MySQL server software. It is just one of the *many* storage backends supported by MySQL, and it's not by far the most used (99% of the MySQL installs i've seen only use the internally developped MyISAM storage engine which btw is the default one ...

    And btw, people who need transactions and advanced features tend to use postgresql instead of mysql+innodb ...
    • yep (Score:5, Insightful)

      by kpharmer (452893) on Saturday October 15, 2005 @12:22PM (#13797632)
      > Although InnoDB is quite a niece piece of work, I wouldn't call it a key piece of the MySQL server
      > software. It is just one of the *many* storage backends supported by MySQL, and it's not by far
      > the most used (99% of the MySQL installs i've seen only use the internally developped MyISAM
      > storage engine which btw is the default one ...

      I think that's primarily due to all the legacy 3.* mysql databases out there: not because people are running 4.01 and want to keep using myisam.

      There are legitimate times to use myisam, but aside from read-only reporting (which mysql isn't very good at), or very high-volume read-mostly content management that's about it. Backends for tools like bugzilla, for wikis, etc should be on innodb:
          - it's easier to develop the app (don't have to reinvent transactions)
          - the application code is more portable
          - you avoid data corruption problems problems with buggy do-it-yourself transaction code
          - you get to rely on declarative referential integrity to help ensure that 100% of the data in the database complies with the rules of the model

      > And btw, people who need transactions and advanced features tend to use postgresql instead of mysql+innodb ...

      true - anyone who knows enough about databases to know why they should be using transactions also knows why they should be using views, stored procedures (occasionally), triggers (occasionally), and have an optimizer capable of joining 5 tables without a performance hit.

      If mysql looses innodb they are in very deep trouble. Before they licensed innodb, MySQL AB insisted that:
          - 99% of the programmers didn't need transactions
          - that "real programmers" could easily write that code themselves in the app layer
          - that all quality checks (pk/fk constraints) belonged in the app layer anyway
      Once they licensed innodb they changed that tune completely
          - declaring themselves an "Enterprise Database"
          - the only database people needed
          - bragged about their fast paced development (even tho it was purchasing not development)
          - buried all their previous comments about transactions not being necessary

      So, now that they've been admitting that transactions are vital - won't they look stupid loosing them? At that point, why put *any* database on mysql? Postgresql/Firebird/SQLite are all *freer* anyway. And it isn't like MySQL is going to suddenly come up with a replacement to Innodb - that's the code they couldn't write themselves before, it's the most complex code in mysql, and they apparently don't have people capable of writing it.
    • Re:a key piece ?? (Score:3, Informative)

      by Just Some Guy (3352)
      I wouldn't call it a key piece of the MySQL server software.

      I would, because it was responsible for most of the "new" features MySQL was bragging about.

      And btw, people who need transactions and advanced features tend to use postgresql instead of mysql+innodb .

      You misspelled "will have to" (excepting Firebird et al).

    • Re:a key piece ?? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by CodeRx (31888)
      The purchase of Innobase by Oracle is a big problem for MySQL AB. If they really want to be a grown-up database vendor, they are going to have to eventually write their own MVCC backend. And they can't easily fork off the GPL InnoDB as they make the vast amount of their money by selling non-GPL licenses of MySQL.

      There are other backends for MySQL, but MyISAM doesn't work well with multiple readers+writers due to table locking / lack of MVCC, doesn't offer transactions, etc - and the BDB backend, the close
      • It's interesting how many times people, like MySQL users, can convince themselves that nothing can hurt their product. They have wrapped themselves completely around a company with $20M in VC, and they assumed it was stable enough. Some people said that they shouldn't depend on a single small company, but that was mere theory. Now it's reality.

        Even if nothing bad happens, and they find a way to work it all out, this should awaken the MySQL users to the fact that they are vulnerable. Realistically, it would
    • Re:a key piece ?? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Bulmakau (918237)

      Although InnoDB is quite a niece piece of work, I wouldn't call it a key piece of the MySQL server software. It is just one of the *many* storage backends supported by MySQL, and it's not by far the most used (99% of the MySQL installs i've seen only use the internally developped MyISAM storage engine which btw is the default one ...

      Hmm. Not true.
      There are indeed several (not many) storage engines with MySQL. However the two most used are InnoDB and MySQL. And InnoDB is usually used when MySQL is not a

  • SCO is losing business and not gaining any more business. Why would Marten take the chance of alienating his user base for the sake of a few more bucks from SCO, risking his entire business? It's not like the database field isn't competitive.
    -russ
  • by IANAAC (692242) on Saturday October 15, 2005 @11:52AM (#13797487)
    I honestly don't know anyone who could actually say that with a straight face.
    • Larry Ellison (Score:4, Insightful)

      by EraserMouseMan (847479) on Saturday October 15, 2005 @12:14PM (#13797594)
      Don't like Microsoft? Well wait till Larry Ellison starts playing hardball. This man is ruthless and there aren't many people who disagree with that statement. His goal is to be the richest man in the world. Gates is still just a nerd at heart. MySQL only indirectly competes with Microsoft. But MySQL is directly competing with Oracle. Sooner or later they will probably find themselves in the gun-sites of Larry and it won't be pretty.

      MySQL knows this and that's why they recently declared that they never intend to go after Oracle's customer base. Because they know if they even so much as think about it Larry will eat them for lunch.
      • Re:Larry Ellison (Score:3, Insightful)

        by HiThere (15173) *
        Gates is not and never was a nerd. I'll admit he appears, and may be and have been, socially inept. Also he was more interested in technology than the typical MBA. That's about as far has honesty will allow me to go.

        OTOH, he has bought himself a dynamite PR firm that uses the image of him as a nerd. This doesn't, however, make it an honest or accurate image.
      • Re:Larry Ellison (Score:2, Insightful)

        by NineNine (235196)
        Oracle has been a massive, powerful company (#2 software company on the planet) for a long time. Geeks focus on MS because they all of MS running on their PC's. Database people have known about Oracle for a long, long time. People who don't know, simply don't know. It's always been that way.

        And let me tell you right now... no database people would consider MySQL an Oracle rival any more than a NASCAR pit chief would be concerned about the new Honda Civic that may give his custom cars a run for t
      • In the race of evil I don't think Ellison wins against gates. It's a close one for sure but gates is certainly more evil then Ellison. All ellison has done is to buy competitors (sometimes hostile) and compensates their shareholders with lots of money. Gates shoves a competing product down the throat of everybody using windows and drives a company into bankrupcy.

        Yup Gates is still more evil.
      • Gates is still just a nerd at heart.

        I don't think Bill Gates is the one at Microsoft that we should worry about - it's Steve "#@#*@(# kill Google!" Ballmer that is of most concern.
      • Re:Larry Ellison (Score:3, Informative)

        by IANAAC (692242)

        MySQL only indirectly competes with Microsoft. But MySQL is directly competing with Oracle.

        I don't personally believe you're correct on either account.

        Have you ever actually tried converting a MySQL app (written by any Joe-Schmoe) to either MSQL or Oracle? It's a damn near Herculean effort. MySQL is so non-standard WRT the rest of the SQL world most orgs would consider it not worth their time.

        A complete re-write is in most cases necessary. On the other hand, Any other reasonably SQL compliant DB

  • by DjReagan (143826) on Saturday October 15, 2005 @12:07PM (#13797558)
    "It was classic Groklaw, ripe with paranoia and nonsensical conspiracy theories, and replete with loads of self-righteous huffing and puffing about morality."

    Hello Pot? This is Kettle.
  • by g_dunn (921640)
    If the community decides MySQL is now the work of the devil, it's not like there aren't other solutions out there, among them just using current MySQL versions. The project will just branch off from the last open source release before the switch to Evil Commercialization (TM). The license does support this, doesn't it? I must confess, I'm not exactly sure what license MySQL uses for it's releases.

    There are also plenty of other SQL options out there. Postgres is one I use for various things, and I've fou
    • by mcrbids (148650) on Saturday October 15, 2005 @02:51PM (#13798288) Journal
      If the community decides MySQL is now the work of the devil

      I could care less about "the community" - but I decided long ago that MySQL wasn't worth it. I've been using/promoting PostgreSQL for years, and have written some rather large projects (EG: 100+ tables, millions of records) with it very, very happily.

      Advantages of Postgres:

      1) Many, many MANY features in common with "enterprise" database products,

      2) Open License lets you do pretty much anything you like, commercial or free.

      3) Good documentation

      4) Very solid - in 6 years of use, I've only had a problem ONCE with postgres on a machine with bad memory.

      5) Helpful community support.

      6) Comes pre-installed with most server-based distros. EG: RedHat

      MySQL's advantages

      1) Sounds good as part of "LAMP"

      2) Uses "easier" administration, EG: "connect DBNAME" instead of the more terse "\c DBNAME". (but requires more typing)

      3) Licensed under the GPL. (which restricts your use in any commercial product you distribute)

      4) Fewer features means there's less to learn (???)

      I switched to PG years ago, and I've never looked back.
  • by tclark (140640) on Saturday October 15, 2005 @12:10PM (#13797577) Homepage
    The article's author is just spouting more of his standard nonsense. Lyons doesn't get free software and he's pissed at those of us who do get it. Clicking on a link to a Lyons article never seems to justify the effort spent on the click.
  • Jones and others' talk of "hypocrisy" and "treachery" is childish and ignorant. If they think that their facile SCO-hating and witch hunting as the clown Darl McBride inexplicably attempts to bash his company's brains out against the wall of IBM is somehow doing more for FLOSS than Marten Mickos has [economic-majority.com], they are completely deluded.
  • If SCO want to throw some money at MySQL for commercial support, then so what?. It might hasten SCO's demise, and the money can be used for bug fixing instead of lining some lawyer's pockets.
  • by matchboy (519044) on Saturday October 15, 2005 @12:41PM (#13797720) Homepage
    Dear MySQL,

    Ever since you and joined forces [slashdot.org], my PostgreSQL hosting and consulting business has gone up. On top of that, several existing customers have begun asking how they can migrate their applications from MySQL to PostgreSQL. While I am happy to hear that you finally got yourself some stored procedures and other advanced features... it saddens me that you're doing business with a company (SCO) that thinks that one of your business models is unconstitutional. You are tainted now. However, I really just wanted to say thanks for the extra work that have you provided me. It's no secret that being a professional PostgreSQL consultant is going to be a highly valuable skill in the coming few years...there is already a shortage [ittoolbox.com]. Thanks for sending people to the world's most advanced open source database server!

    Former MySQL fan,
    Me
  • Agenda? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by burnin1965 (535071) on Saturday October 15, 2005 @12:41PM (#13797722) Homepage
    ...noisy fanatics in the open source software community...

    ...die-hard open-source zealots...

    ...it's a holy war...

    ...ripe with paranoia and nonsensical conspiracy theories, and replete with loads of self-righteous huffing and puffing about morality...

    ...open source crunchies...


    Hmm, I'm sure this guy isn't working from an agenda, he is definitely not thinking from some squewed hair brained bias, then again....

    ...Open source fans hate SCO for drumming up trouble...


    Oh, so thats what it is to demand money from people so they can keep what is rightfully theirs. And here I thought the correct term for demanding money from people to leave them alone was extortion. And looking back through history it seems the hard working people of this planet usually get pretty steamed up over extortion and have taken down or defied criminal and governmental organizations who commited extortion crimes. And I do believe that extortion is still a crime so SCO is not "drumming up trouble" they are running an extortion racket.

    burnin
  • This guy has given you a fast, stable database, that you can run and use for free as you please. And now because he has committed himself to making a version for SCO, you feel entitled to giving him crap? Okay... the Linux d00ds of today really need to try working for a living sometime.
    • > This guy has given you a fast, stable database, that you can run and use for
      > free as you please. And now because he has committed himself to making a
      > version for SCO, you feel entitled to giving him crap? Okay... the Linux d00ds
      > of today really need to try working for a living sometime.

      ah, no - more like:

      This guy has played a bait & switch with a database - at first giving it away for free, then changing the licensing (using linking definitions that contradict GPL's FAQ) to hook users i
      • So, he's given you a fast and stable database for free. Or what part of what you just said contradicted that?

        The way I remember it, free software is a lot about contribution. So if you're not contributing code to MySQL or sending in bug fixes, shut up and be glad they're giving you a free database. If you don't like it then don't use it, it's really very simple. But if you're not a contributor, you really have no platform from which to moralize.
  • Forgive me, but is SCO even a player in the server market?

    I have used dozens of POSIX OSes including SCO and although SCO had a good market share at one time have they not lost it? Does anyone actually run SCO in a production environment any more? Why would they not switch to Solaris (x86/AMD64), OpenBSD, FreeBSD or one of many Linux distributions?

    SCO lost it as they priced it too high, poorly maintened it and it was intrinically a slow pig. When they got UNIXWare they botched this too as it's developm

  • Guys please... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Spy der Mann (805235) <spydermann,slashdot&gmail,com> on Saturday October 15, 2005 @01:47PM (#13798010) Homepage Journal
    MySQL AB (the company behind MySQL) will just modify some code to add SCO Unix support. I mean, MySQL has windows support, Apache has Windows support, and Windows is "teh evil", so?

    A much more important matter is Oracle buying InnoBase. (hint: InnoBase != MySQL AB). But then again, InnoDB is GPL. So, as long as they're GPL, we can still use them for GPL products.

    Now the REALLY scary thing is this dual licensing stuff and MySQL requiring you to buy a license for MySQL if your product is not GPL. I'm still confused regarding the legal interpretation of it, this is a very scary issue, and the /. crowd remains silent about this. So, they're not scandalized about this dual licensing issue and the touchy circumstances , and what "linking" means regarding this (any legal info would be appreciated). But oh, MySQL modifies some code to add SCO Unix support, and the world as we know it is disappearing suddenly?.

    I don't give a **** of what MySQL AB does with SCO (the GPL won't change, will it?). What worries me is the future of InnoDB and if i'll be able to use a MySQL client in my non-gpl'ed, for-profit (i.e. to earn a living) C++ or Python software without having to fear lawsuits from MySQL AB...

    In fact, I think there should be an article on this subject (not that I've STFW'ed, but links would be appreciated).
  • Mickos is being denounced as a traitor by noisy fanatics in the open source software community because last month he dared to make a deal with SCO Group

    I expressed a very calm concern to MySQL that partnering with SCO in any fashion gives them an illusion of legitimacy that SCO does not deserve. How does that make me a "noisy fanatic"?

    Or does anyone expressing disapproval of the SCO deal qualify for that label? Isn't that being a little Republican? Along the same vein as accusing anyone not supportin

  • They're the ones giving SCO money, and yet if SCO offers MySQL AB money to make MySQL better perform on SCO's platform, MySQL gets the heat?

    Be consistent at least:

    • McDonald's
    • Burger King
    • Pizza Hut
    • Ground Round

    all pay SCO license fees. That's all I could Google, but they must have more.

  • I can't speak for others, but when I read that MySQL got cozy with SCO, I added ripping out MySQL and replacing it with Postgres to every server I manage and to never install MySQL again to my to do list.

    I'm sorry MySQL, but you should have known that there would be many people that would not take this well. If not, you've been living in a hole.

    Too bad as I liked your product. But since in my case it isn't irreplacable, so long and thanks for all the queries.

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