First, the crème de la crème of MySQL's developers and founders started leaving Sun. Then, Michael 'Monty' Widenius, MySQL's founder and, then Sun's CTO for its MySQL division, announced the release of the next version by publicly stating that the latest MySQL release contained "many known and unknown fatal bugs. That must have gone over well at Sun's HQ.
It probably wouldn't surprise you to know that Widenius has since left Sun. He's now working on his own community branch of MySQL, MariaDB. Its purpose? "To provide a community developed, stable, and always Free branch of MySQL that is, on the user level, compatible with the main version."
But, wait there's more. Patrick Galbraith, a senior MySQL developer, noted in his blog that we don't know "What will be the official development branch of MySQL," As it is, Galbraith continued, "There is now one fork and one major branch of MySQL [MariaDB] both are exciting projects-- and neither of them is coming from official MySQL/Sun."
The fork, which is officially sanctioned by Sun, is called Drizzle. It's being directed by Brian Aker, a senior Sun developer. Drizzle, according to the site is a "database optimized for Cloud and Net applications. It is being designed for massive concurrency on modern multi-cpu/core architecture."
What about MySQL itself? Darn good question.
Galbraith would like to know the answer too. He wrote, "My question is then: what is the official tree? The project lead is Monty, and if he is now saying 'MariaDB' is the official tree. Does that mean that the tree at Sun is now dead? Open source projects usually have their souls found in whoever personally leads the project, not in who owns the copyright of the name. Monty and Brian certainly are open source leaders, so my inclination is to follow them. This is not a slight to MySQL/Sun either, but a question that me as a both a user and developer of MySQL, as well as a former employee and team member of the MySQL development team."
I don't think he's going to get an answer soon. Both Sun, which just laid off 1,500 employees this week, and MySQL are in disarray.
I think the best thing that could happen to the 'official' MySQL is for IBM to complete its acquisition of Sun as fast as possible. That deal, by the way, no matter what rumors you may have heard, is still very much alive.
Once that's done, maybe we'll get to see what can be done by merging the best features of MySQL and DB2. Or, considering IBM's usual hands-off management approach to major open-source projects, perhaps Big Blue will just give its blessings to one or the other, or even both, of the existing MySQL branches and let them roll.