Word on the street -- and from the MySQL Conference and Expo, apparently -- is that Sun Microsystems has decided to reserve certain MySQL features for paying customers. Blogger and tech consultant Jeremy Cole says:
MySQL will start offering some features (specifically ones related to online backups) only in MySQL Enterprise. This represents a substantive change to their development model -- previously they have been developing features in both MySQL Community and MySQL Enterprise.
From the tone of reader comments following Cole's post, you'd think MySQL and Sun had announced the end of the world -- or at least the end of MySQL. But I don't think so. As ZDNet's Dana Blankenhorn points out, the split between the community and enterprise editions of MySQL happened before Sun was even part of the equation, and the company has been wrestling with the idea for longer than that.
And Computerworld reports former MySQL CEO Marten Mickos has indicated features that start out only in MySQL Enterprise may end up in the community edition. It's not that MySQL and Sun have abandoned the community. But they are a business. They have employees to pay and money to make and shareholders to keep happy.
In Blankenhorn's words, "users who don't like the choice are free to leave."