I remember many years ago when I first started to program, and began learning about databases, the first database server I tried was MySQL. What I read about it claimed that MySQL was the best performing database server available, plus it was multi-platform, free and Open Source. What could be better?
Last year MySQL split into two products, the free open source community version, and a paid-for enterprise version. While the paid-for version wasn’t free, the source code was still available… until now.
It hasn’t been made very public, but MySQL now no longer provides a source tarball for the enterprise version of MySQL unless you’re a paying customer. It would seem there has been a trend in the OSS (open source software) that I’m not so sure I’m fond of. I remember the day when open source was more or less synonymous with free. That’s not so much the truth today. More and more OSS companies that used to provide all their software for free now provide an enterprise paid-for version and a free community version. Red Hat, for example, was the first Linux distro I ever tried out, I remember spending a couple days to download it, and it probably took me a couple more days going through different websites figuring out how to install it. And of course the best part of it all was that it was FREE!! Then Red Hat switched to RHEL (Red Hat Enterprise Linux) which is NOT FREE, and Fedora (the free version) forked off it. SuSE is another Linux distro that has split into a free and a paid-for version.
As the IT Director of an NPO with a small IT budget, FREE OSS is my best friend. I can provide enterprise-level software for my network without an enterprise-level budget. Now I’m beginning to wonder, will I still be able to in years to come?
OK, so these are the consernce, but the truth is OSS is driven by the community, not the corporations. As OSS grows in popularity more and more companies are going to try to profit from it, but the community will still be here, and the community will continue to provide great free open source software for us and our users to use. So IS THE END OF FREE OSS NEAR? ABSOLUTELY NOT!!!
They may take MySQL, but they will never take our FREEDOM!!
LONG LIVE OPEN SOURCE!!