Oracle Making MySQL Less Open
Written by Kay Ewbank   
Monday, 20 August 2012

The philosophical gulf between Oracle and the MySQL community seems to be growing wider.

In a blog post, Sergei Golubchik of MariaDB points out that Oracle has begun withholding information previously made public.

Sergei starts with the point that in the latest release of MySQL (5.5.27), none of the bug fixes are accompanied by test cases, saying:

“For many years MySQL was using its own testing framework, called mysql-test. The first version was written as early as 1999. Over the years it has accumulated a lot of tests. Tests for new features and regression tests — those that guarantee that a bug, once fixed, will never ever show up again. We had pretty strict policies about it in MySQL AB (and, later, Sun Microsystems) — every new bug fix always had to come with a test case for the bug. And because these tests were always run on many platforms for every push (by the continuous integration tool called Pushbuild — developed in-house by Kristian Nielsen) we were reasonably sure that any bug, once fixed, will stay fixed forever. I’m not with MySQL anymore, but I still cannot imagine that Oracle would weaken that rule. So, it must be something else then.”

The 5.5.27 release includes an extension to the mysql-test-run script that changes it to look for test cases in a new directory, within the Internal folder structure for mysql. Sergei asks whether this means that test cases are no longer open source, and says that when he asked Oracle, he didn’t get a reply.

The MySQL test cases have been used by developers extending MySQL, and by Linux distributions which add their patches to the base MySQL.

Alongside the removal of the test cases, Oracle has also stopped making the revision history of the product available. This groups changes to the source code into change sets, one change set per a distinct feature or a particular bug fix, so it’s possible to see who changed a specific line of code, when, and why. Oracle has also stopped updating the revision history on public MySQL trees on launchpad.

The changes are causing annoyance for more than just the team at MariaDB, with developers posting on the High Availability MySQL blog complaining:

“MySQL is much harder to make better when tests are missing and bzr is no longer updated”.

Oracle’s history isn’t conducive to being open, so the question is, is this a move to try to force the MySQL community to eventually give up and go away, or is it just Oracle being Oracle-like.  

More Information

MariaDB blog - Disappearing test cases

High Availability MySQL blog - less open source

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