Not a show stopper? In what universe?

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03 January 2006

In the January 2, 2006 edition of InfoWorld there’s a short article about the recent release of MySQL 5.0. I’ve used MySQL, and there are even people building CSLA .NET based applications with MySQL backend databases. Kudos!

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But the article makes this comment about the new stored procedure support in MySQL:   “The stored procedures were generally stable in my tests, but this being MySQL’s first implementation, there were a few bugs. For example, I had some trouble with the server freezing up when I tried to open some of my larger procedures. Although not a show-stopper, this behavior could be a problem if you have a busy database.”   I had to read this several times to be sure I had it right. The “server freezing up” is “not a show-stopper”?!?   Suppose Oracle or SQL Server would “freeze up” when you opened a large stored procedure? On a busy database or not I’m guessing no sane person would say that this was “not a show-stopper”.   It is not a show-stopper because the expectations of a released open source (<?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />OSS) product just aren’t in the same league with “real” software? If so, then OSS really is just a joke. But I don’t buy this argument, because MySQL is used as “real” software by many companies, and thus it should be held to the same standard as any other database engine out there.   Or is it not a show-stopper because of media bias? Because the media tends to cut OSS slack they’d never dream of cutting proprietary software? Because if they scrutinized OSS software at the same level they do proprietary software everyone would see just how little difference “open” really makes in terms of quality or security?   I think this latter argument holds a lot more water. Americans like the underdog, and OSS is the underdog compared to any proprietary system out there. So the media throws objectivity out the window and cuts them a break. OSS is held to a lower standard, even so far as that having your database server freeze up is a trivial concern.   What a shame, since this sort of reporting will ultimately be a lead weight around the ankles of OSS. OSS will never get real respect unless it is treated as being in the same league with the rest of the software in the world. And that starts with the media…