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Mon 9 Feb 2009 02:00 PM

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Time for an alternative?

In recent days the database world has been slightly shaken with the MySQL co-founder and CEO resigning from their posts. Is it time for another database choice?

MySQL is a structured query language that works with server side programming languages such as Pre-Hypertext Processor (PHP) to access and display data in a readable format on a web browser. In other words, much of the information you see on the web, such as blog posts, articles, dates, comments and so on is stored in a database.

Sun Microsystems owns the MySQL project and allows certain versions of the software to be freely downloaded and used. Those willing to pay receive a premium version and customer support.

One of the reasons why the blogosphere has expanded at the rapid pace it has is partly thanks to the open source version of MySQL being used in conjunction with popular online publishing tools such as Wordpress. The database software is the engine-room for those who seek to express their views and opinions; and there isn’t really an alternative database software out there that is as readily available.

Because the software is so widespread, it comes as a concern then that the project's senior vice president Marten Mickos and founder Monty Widenius resigned last week Friday.

Marten Mickos was chief executive of MySQL before Sun bought his company for about US $1 billion last year. Subsequently, Sun has merged the MySQL group with another software division and named another executive to run it. Furthermore, according to the Reuters news agency, MySQL founder Monty Widenius has been quoted on his personal blog last week Thursday as saying he was leaving because of differences with Sun's management over development of the open-source database.

It's too early to tell if these issues will result in the project veering away from its open source model. But if talk of problems regarding the project is making the news, then there needs to be cause for concern.

Perhaps it’s now time for a new open source structured query language to arise and offer developers an alternative to help keep the web developing at its current rapid pace.

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