Many of us in the Free and Open Source software community have seen a
trend regarding Oracle's stewardship of Open source software that it
inherited when it purchased Sun. In particular there were two fairly
large public project blow ups that resulted in OpenOffice splintering,
and the Hudson community (almost?) completely moving to an independent
fork called Jenkins.
It has been brought to my attention that MySQL may have gone this way
as well, but in a much more subtle way. This started about a year ago,
and has only recently really become obvious.
A few notable fellows from the MySQL ecosystem have commented:
(read the comments on this one, very informative, and most of the
commenters are extremely important non-Oracle members of the MySQL
And the CVE's are extremely vague:
"Unspecified vulnerability in the MySQL Server component in Oracle MySQL
5.1.x and 5.5.x allows remote authenticated users to affect availability
via unknown vectors"
Links to here:
Which links to here:
Which requires an account (which I created). I did try to login but got
some kind of failure..
"Failure of server APACHE bridge:".
The bzr commits for the latest MySQL releases also reference log bug#'s
that are thought to belong to the private oracle support system, not
accessible to non-paying customers.
This is all very troubling, as in a Linux distribution, we must be able
to support our users and track upstream development.
So what should we, the Debian and Ubuntu MySQL maintainers and users,
do about this?
Well there is a Jenkins to MySQL's Hudson, a LibreOffice to their
MariaDB 5.3, in release-candidate now, is 100% backward compatible with
MySQL 5.1. It also includes a few speedups and features that can be found
in MySQL 5.5 and Percona Server. It is developed 100% in the open, on
launchpad.net, including a public bug tracker and up to date bzr trees
of the code.
I'm writing to the greater Debian and Ubuntu community to ask for your
thoughts on a proposal to drop MySQL in favor of MariaDB. Its clear to
me that Oracle is not going to do work in the open, and this will become
a huge support burden for Linux distributions. The recent CVE's had to
be hunted down and investigated at great difficulty to several people,
since the KB articles referenced and the internal Oracle bug numbers
referenced were not available.
This will only get harder as the community bug tracker gets further out
of sync with the private one.
There is some need to consider acting quickly:
Ubuntu precise, the next LTS release of Ubuntu will be hitting feature
freeze on Feb. 16. The release, due in April, will be supported with
security updates for 5 years. That may be 5 long years of support if
MySQL continues to obscure things.
Debian wheezy is still quite far off, but it is critical that this be
done and decided by the time the release freeze begins.
So, here is a suggested plan, given the facts above:
* Upload mariadb 5.3 to Debian experimental, with it providing
mysql-server, mysql-client, and libmysqlclient-dev.
* For Ubuntu users, upload these packages to a PPA for testing
applications for compatibility, and rebuild testing.
* If testing goes well, replace mysql-5.5 with mariadb in both Debian
unstable and Ubuntu precise. If there are reservations about switching
this late in precise's cycle, ship mysql-5.5 in precise, and push off
Ubuntu's transition until the next cycle.
Before I strike out on this path alone, which, I understand, may sound
a bit radical, I want to hear what you all think.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Clint Byrum <clint@stripped>
Ubuntu Server Team
Debian MySQL Packaging Team
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