MariaDB Server is a true open source project

The mission of the MariaDB Foundation is to ensure continuity and open collaboration in the MariaDB ecosystem. We facilitate the development of the MariaDB Server and the related connectors as listed on our GitHub account. Core to us is to enable and foster collaboration so that contributing is meaningful and produces results for everybody.

Here are some of the things we do to ensure true open source:

  • Publish code in real time, not just at release time.
  • Discuss and plan on the public mailing lists and on IRC.
  • Public bug tracker, transparent progress and priorities.
  • Respond quickly to pull requests on GitHub and to bug reports that have patches attached.
  • Keep documentation up-to-date, develop documentation alongside code and also encourage contributions in documentation.
  • Regular, free-to-attend developer meetups.
  • True open source, not just code dumps.

At the MariaDB Foundation we are happy to have achieved this quite well, as can be read in our yearly reports. Our developer meetup next week has almost 70 attendees signed up, which is a signal that we are going to achieve even more this year as an open source foundation. There are also areas where we need to improve – we don’t claim everything is perfect yet – but we are making good progress. Anybody using the MariaDB server is encouraged to contribute and help us make progress ever faster. There are many ways to contribute. Pick the one that fits you or your company best. It can be testing, fixing bugs, coding new features or even helping with visibility and adoption. Financial support is also welcomed.

Open and commercial are not opposites

The opposite of open is closed, not commercial. It is fully possible for something to be open source and commercial at the same time.

At the MariaDB Foundation we encourage businesses to use the MariaDB Server in any way they can. We also encourage companies to contribute to the server and build products that support the ecosystem. The bigger and the more diverse the community is, the better.

The MariaDB Corporation and the BSL

We’ve seen some upset reactions around MariaDB Corporation providing additional software that is not licensed via the GPL, like MaxScale, a next generation database proxy designed to support distributed environments. It is released with the Business Source License, which allows for all the code to be entirely open and usage under three servers to be free. When usage goes over three servers, the company using it must pay for that usage. After a specific time period (2 years in the case of MaxScale) the release moves to GPL and all usage is free.

This is an understandable business model aimed at building a profitable company that continues to invest in delivering more features and new products. MariaDB Foundation aknowledges the efforts of MariaDB Corporation to strike a balance on openness (which directly benefits all users) and long term business sustainability by charging a fee for usage at a business level (which benefits customers directly and users indirectly).

But most importantly, let me take the opportunity to drive in the key point from the MariaDB Foundation perspective: The BSL license has no effect on the MariaDB Server, which will stay GPLv2 forever. The BSL is not used by the Foundation and everything the Foundation staff contributes to is fully open source.