Not quite open source

I found a couple of posts over on Planet MySQL today about some new announcement from the dolphin-herders. Apparantly, the Sun/MySQL combination is now starting to push at least some features for Enterprise customers only. AFAIK this isn't entirely new, since they've had some tools previously only available to enterprise customers, but I guess this would be a first for actual server code. (Though the way patches are moved between Enterprise and Community never really made sense to me, that's probably because I didn't study it in enough detail)

From what I can tell, this puts MySQL more towards the situation that PostgreSQL has with EnterpriseDB (and their now renamed product Postgres Plus Advanced Server) and some other companies. This is a proprietary product that sits on top of an open source foundation that is PostgreSQL. Now, EnterpriseDB initially marketed this product as opensource - which was incorrect, and they got quite a bit of bad press about it. The question is, what will Sun/MySQL do now. Will they continue to market their Enterprise product as Open Source, which it obviously isn't, or will they change that?

It is also interesting to note that this would not be possible if MySQL was licensed as pure GPL. With the current model, this is only possible for Sun/MySQL to do, and no other company. Unlike PostgreSQL which is BSD licensed, and allows any company to create this kind of proprietary derived product. If I was a contributor to MySQL (which I'm not), I would consider this quite unfair. But that's what you get with the dual licensing model used by MySQL, and this is why contributors have to sign away their rights to Sun/MySQL. It's not surprising to me that this happens, and it's one of the reasons I haven't liked the MySQL licensing model from the start. The other side of the coin would be a pure GPL license, which would not allow anybody at all to create a proprietary derived product - but that's a whole different debate to take on...

So is this a dealbreaker? Well, I don't know exactly which features they are talking about in this case (since I'm not a Sun/MySQL partner), but there was talk of it being things around backups. IMHO, such extremely core functionality really should be in the main product - which is how PostgreSQL has it today. But more importantly, if this is the new path Sun/MySQL is going to be heading down with their products, I can see how that will be a problem for a number of their customers.

And if you're one of them - you're always welcome to cross over and join us over here by the elephant...