MySQL, MariaDB and relative asymptotics

In 2002 I wrote a book on MySQL. At the time, I was working crazy fulltime hours for IOL and I was exhausted by the end of the process. I’ve been approached quite a few times since to write an update, or to write other related books, but have never had the energy, time or interest. The most recent approach, by a publisher I won’t mention, was for a hilariously obscure topic. I’ve deleted the email, so can’t recall the exact topic, but it was along the lines of “Asymptotic Relative Efficiency in Python”. Not only have I hardly used Python, but I’m relatively inefficient in asymptotics. It did make me wonder about the quality of the rest of their books.

It’s obviously taken 10 and a half years for the memories to fade because although I’m as busy as ever, I’m considering an update to the book. I’ve been watching MySQL’s progress with interest, from the company’s purchase by Sun to the Oracle takeover.

With concerns about the direction of MySQL under Oracle, MariaDB is gaining widespread prominence, and it’s been good to see that Fedora and OpenSUSE are the first two Linux distributions to announce that they will move towards replacing MySQL with MariaDB.

MariaDB is a drop-in replacement for MySQL, but contains a number of enhancements and has been reported to perform better. Wikipedia were the first high-profile entity to begin switching, and their move has probably triggered similar moves elsewhere. MariaDB is administered by the non-profit MariaDB foundation in a much more open and transparent manner than MySQL currently, and employs some of the original MySQL developers.

Where Fedora goes, Red Hat follows, and it’s only a matter of time before MariaDB is widely available as a standard on most server setups.

Although I still use it myself regularly as a reference, the old book is quite dated now, so it’ll be interesting to get to grips with all the enhancements that MariaDB offers.