Word from the CEO: Galera, XtraDB Cluster, and The Color of Open Source Money

This blog was adapted from “A Word From the CEO” in the May Continuent Newsletter.

Two years ago, at a Percona Live event, I had a keynote talk called the "Color of Open Source Money.” Yeah, I came to a 'surprising' conclusion: the color is the same. Open Source is not a business model. Open Source is not a selfless, noble Cause. Everyone plays to Win!

During that talk, I commented (to the AWS team's dismay and about half the audience's delight) that Amazon AWS was referred to by many people as a blood-sucking parasite. Why the honor? Due to obvious reasons. AWS tends to take over the best open source projects, close them down, add new functionality, and offer as software-as-a-service, all the while not necessarily contributing back to the original open-source project. This 'stealing' of the projects has forced the hand of many popular open-source projects to come out and publish the software under a more restrictive license, not allowing others to offer their software as-a-service.

Percona, the premier advocate for open source database solutions, has been up in arms against these open source license changes in a number of blog articles. Percona CEO, Peter Z., has always promoted that Percona is doing what is best for the customers. Naturally, this comes after what is best for Percona itself. Peter's marketing team recently came up with a great slogan: "They can't steal your ideas if you Open Source them first.” Hmmm, sounds good, right?

Talking about stealing, Percona has no shame taking over other open-source projects and re-branding them under XtraDB and similar names as if they are Percona solutions. In some cases this is of great benefit to the open-source community, so you have to give them kudos for that. But there are also some glaring examples where they have blatantly worked against the open collaboration idea behind open-source.

A prime example is Galera. One could ask why I care so passionately about Galera even if they are a competitor for Continuent's local HA solution? There are two reasons, one sentimental and one about fairness.

  1. Galera was born out of Continuent's first solution Continuent m/cluster, which was available from 2003 to 2007. Continuent chose to change its direction with our clustering solutions for some excellent reasons, more about that in a future Word from the CEO.
  2. The small team who created Galera, which resembles m/cluster but is its own improved version of the synchronous multi-primary MySQL cluster, used to work for me. I know them personally, and I have seen the sweat and tears they put into the Galera project. I see Percona shamelessly trying to take advantage of it.

If Percona truly would stand behind what is the best for the open-source community, they would have chosen to support this small Galera team in Finland. But as stated earlier, Peter thinks about Percona first. After that come the open source users. And they really don't care about the people behind some of these open-source projects they advocate.

Fair? You decide. If you are considering using Galera, please use the original version, or please use the version by MariaDB, which is actively supporting the Galera team.

And while you are at it, you may consider Continuent's Tungsten Clustering, which is in multiple ways a far superior solution compared to all of those.

Smooth sailing, steady as she goes!

Image Source: Mark Baker/AP

Eero Teerikorpi
CEO & Founder, Continuent

About the Author

Eero Teerikorpi
Founder and CEO

The founder of Continuent is a 7-time serial entrepreneur who has more than 30 years of high-tech management and enterprise software experience. Eero has been in the MySQL marketplace virtually since day one, from the early 2000s. Eero has held top management positions at various cross-Atlantic entities (CEO at Alcom Corporation, President at Capslock, Executive Board Member at Esker S.A.) Eero started his career as a Product Manager at Apple Computer in Finland in the mid-80s. Eero also owns and manages a boutique NOET Vineyards producing high-quality dry-farmed Cabernet Sauvignon.

Eero is a former Navy officer and still an avid sailor on San Francisco Bay and around the world. Eero is a very active sportsman: a 4+ tennis player, a rookie golfer, a very careful mountain biker, and an experienced (40+ years) skier, both slalom and cross-country.

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