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Slackware to include MariaDB instead of MySQL from now on...

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One of the nicest things about Slackware is that you can decide between its -current, and stable branch releases. In fact, most longtime slackers just follow the -current branch and maintain mirrors from which they deploy Slackware in the Enterprise. this means that you effectively have a rolling release instead of a static, although well maintained, version release.

There's a couple of really big news items reverberating and propagating throughout the Slackware community today. One of those items is the announcement, just about an hour ago via the Slackware changelog, that from this moment forward, MariaDB will be included as part of the Slackware base; while the Evil EllisonCo's MySQL has not just been handed its hat, but shown the door...

The other big news item, isn't really something else, but rather that, in breaking with tradition, Patrick decided to post the announcement from the changelog directly onto the homepage of Indeed, the relative weight of this major change in what is actually bundled with Slackware is newsworthy to considerably more than just those who follow -current and the Slackware changelog.

This follows a lot of discussion on LQ, polls, and suggestions from other various places - we haven't used or deployed any Slackware machines (Or CentOS or Debian or Gentoo machines for that matter) with MySQL now for well over a year - we use MariaDB or Percona instead.

So from this date forward, anyone who installs Slackware -current will have MariaDB instead of MySQL - and that's a good thing!

Perhaps one of the things that made this decision easy for Patrick to make has to do more with the release of MariaDB 10.0.x than the fact that the Evil EllisonCo now mans the helm of MySQL destiny. For those who don't already know, Monty (The creator of MaxDB, MySQL, and MariaDB - all named after his children) left the project when it was still part of Sun Microsystems, prior to it's acquisition by EllisonCo. Things just continued going downhill from there, although not with regards to the viability or suitability of MySQL on a strictly technical level.

Although other distro's have been sending out rumblings that they will replace MySQL with MariaDB with their next release, Slackware once again demonstrates that it is a pathfinder and pioneer on the leading edge of coming trends and the future of Linux computing by jumping into the water headfirst, following much observation by Patrick Volkerding as to the wishes of the Slackware community.

For his part, Patrick makes sure to point out that it wasn't so much a matter of licensing, or the capabilities of the product itself that led him to give MySQL the boot, but the wishes of the Slackware community and the warm reception members of the core Slackware team have received from the folks at MariaDB. But there's more...

With the release of MariaDB 10, Monty made the difficult decision to finally take his fork of MySQL off into a direction that furthers the design goals of improving upon MariaDB without such strict adherence to the canon of ensuring that MariaDB is a drop-in replacement for MySQL. The MySQL codebase has changed significantly in ways which make such a mission increasingly difficult, and there's a lot of goals that simply weren't going to be attainable for MariaDB were he to continue to live in the shadow of MySQL simply as "a MySQL clone". 

Indeed, MariaDB was already more than that, but one has to remember that it is also a fork, and one of the reasons people fork software projects is because the developers have a need to take that software into a direction that cannot be acommodated within the existing development environment; and MariaDB was indeed forked from MySQL well before the Evil EllisonCo acquired Sun Microsystems.

Some of the reasons cited by Monty for the bump in version numbers from MariaDB 5.5 to MariaDB 10 include code differences that were already part of MariaDB 5.5 that are only just now being included in MySQL 5.6, for example, and the moving about of huge chunks of code in MySQL made maintaining close code bases extremely difficult when MariaDB development had already largely left MySQL behind - in some cases by a minor version or two.

For an excellent read from Monty's perspective on these points, he offers up this article here:

For an excellent reason why you're going to be seeing most major Linux distros ship in the future with MariaDB rather than MySQL, it's because Slackware did it, so it must be okay ;)

At least we're confident that a year from now we'll have to correct various people's pronunciation of this technology much less (My Ess Que Elle - is the correct pronunciation, BTW), because MariaDB is unambiguous in that regard. 

Happy Slacking!