Mar 282013


This required more time if compared to Libreoffice versus Open Office, but it seem that the critical mass of users of another piece of open source software is moving away from Oracle, I’m talking about Mysql versus MariaDB.

Mysql is probably the most used open source database, it’s used in most of the more successful LAMP applications, such as WordPress, Drupal or Magento, after all the M of LAMP was an acronim for Mysql until today.

All started back in February 2013 when two large open source projects, Fedora and openSUSE, announced their intention to abandon the venerable MySQL database, now a property of Oracle, and adopt instead MariaDB.

In short MariaDB is a community-developed fork of the MySQL relational database management system, the impetus being the community maintenance of its free status under the GNU GPL, as opposed to any uncertainty of MySQL license status under its current ownership by Oracle. The contributors are required to share their copyright with Monty Program AB more information on this project on Wikipedia

But now let’s see how the different distributions have approached this change:


Information published on the Fedora wiki announces that the decision to change the database has been driven at least in part by the uncertainty in the management of MySQL by Oracle. “MariaDB, which was founded by some of the original MySQL developers, has a more open-source attitude and an active community. We have found them to be much easier to work with, especially in regards to security matters.,” the document says.

This was firstly announced in the Fedora mailing list:

The original company behind MySQL, MySQL AB, were bought out by Sun which was then bought by Oracle. Recent changes made by Oracle indicate they are moving the MySQL project to be more closed. They are no longer publishing any useful information about security issues (CVEs), and they are not providing complete regression tests any more, and a very large fraction of the mysql bug database is now not public.

MariaDB, which was founded by some of the original MySQL developers, has a more open-source attitude and an active community. We have found them to be much
easier to work with, especially in regards to security matters.

We would like to replace MySQL with MariaDB in early development cycle for Fedora 19. MySQL will continue to be available for at least one release, but
MariaDB will become the default. Also, we do not intend to support concurrent installation of both packages on the same machine; pick one or the other.

Oracle understands that Fedora switching to MariaDB it’s a first step to do the change also in Red Hat Enterprise, and this could lead to much less Mysql customers in the next future, so in a public email they proposed to integrate Mysql 5.6 instead:

We’ve been following the discussions to replace MySQL with MariaDB in Fedora, and would like to provide additional data to help the community make the most informed decision. Instead of switching**the default to MariaDB 5.5 we would like to propose that Fedora instead integrate MySQL 5.6. Switching to MariaDB would be going backwards, as their releases usually lag by at least 6 months. The differences between MariaDB 5.5 and MySQL 5.6 are quite significant, with major improvements in both performance and stability , as well as additional features and improved security.

The answer ? To make it short I’ll quote one of the email

Yeah about that Oracle’s track records indeed speaks for itself and I’m pretty sure all the Solaris developers agree to that

We kinda value openness and freedom here in Fedora land…



OpenSuse did something similar in it’s 12.3 release, in the feature list you can read

openSUSE has moved from MySQL to MariaDB as default. MariaDB was first shipped with openSUSE 11.3 back in 2010. Over the years it proved itself and starting with 12.3 openSUSE is replacing default MySQL implementation with MariaDB. This means that whole distribution is compiled against MariaDB and in ‘M’ in LAMP means MariaDB from now. As MariaDB is a drop-in replacement, you don’t have to worry about compatibility. Apart from that, MySQL Community Server is not going away and you can still replace MariaDB with MySQL if you want.
If you’ve never heard about MariaDB, you can read more about all the cookies they have on their website. Especially more storage engines, speed optimizations and some other added features.

So the default has become MariaDB but it’s possible to use Mysql community edition, if you really want it.
Should I point out that also Suse has an enterprise edition of its distribution ?
Perhaps it’s less used than Red Hat Enterprise but still it holds some shares of the market and so this change could means less Mysql users also for Suse Enterprise.


With a post on slackware blog the developers announced the switch to MariaDB

The big news here is the removal of MySQL in favor of MariaDB. This shouldn’t really be a surprise on any level. The poll on LQ showed a large majority of our users were in favor of the change. It’s my belief that the MariaDB Foundation will do a better job with the code, be more responsive to security concerns, and be more willing to work with the open source community. And while I don’t think there is currently any issue with MySQL’s licensing of the community edition for commercial uses, several threads on LQ showed that there is confusion about this, whereas with MariaDB the freedom to use the software is quite clear. Thanks are due to Heinz Wiesinger for his work on transitioning the build script, testing, and getting us all behind this move. He’s been working with MariaDB (and their developers) for several years now. Vincent Batts also had a hand in the early discussions here — he met Daniel Bartholomew of MariaDB on a train last year and got a copy of the source to play with to pass the time on the journey (ah, the miracle of thumbdrives :), and was impressed with not only MariaDB itself, but also with the welcome that Slackware was getting. We expect they’ll be responsive to any concerns we have. In the vast majority of situations, MariaDB is entirely compatible with existing MySQL databases and will drop right in with no changes required

Slackware it’s less used on servers, but it’s another distribution moving toward MariaDB.

Arch Linux

Arch Linux it’s in my opinion one of the most interesting distributions in these days, and it’s the candidate number one for my next Laptop, in a recent note on the Arch Linux website they announced the switch to MariaDB:

MariaDB is now officially our default implementation of MySQL. MariaDB is almost a drop in replacement, so an upgrade should be possible with minimum hassle. However, due to remaining compatibility concerns, an automatic replace is not done.

It is recommended for all users to upgrade. MySQL will be dropped from the repositories to the AUR in a month.


Sadly there isn’t at the moment an “official” package for Debian, but there is a lot of talk about this

Given how much pain MySQL causes the security team (due to the inability to get the code changes corresponding with a single security issue) opinions have been voiced to fully replace MySQL with MariaDB, but I don’t know of any definitive outcome of these discussions.

And there is an open discussion about packaging mariaDB for Debian, so I expect good news about this anytime soon, and in the while it’s possible to use MariaDB repository to install it on Debian


With these 4 distributions switching to MariaDB as default DBMS i see a brighter future for this project, and I must say that this pleases me very much.
Unfortunately, as seen for other projects the model proposed by Oracle is certainly not to develop Open sources products, and so I can only rejoice when a fork gets such a great success.

Next goal: move my Wordpess website to MariaDB.

Popular Posts:

Flattr this!

  2 Responses to “MariaDB is conquering the “desktop” distributions”

  1. I dont trust Oracle but I dont trust Monty and his self serving ways any more.

 Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>