November 12, 2010

Can Firebird gain against MySQL?

MySQL is now really an Oracle product, price included. Which is a big chance for all other "really free" database servers, like Firebird and PostgreSQL.

MySQL is now really an Oracle product, price included. In fact the company announced cutting the lower-level license and support plans, basically raising the minimum price 4 times at 2,000 USD per server. Not cheap for a database most people think it is free, while it is free only for open source projects (OK, the story is more complex but I blogged and debated this already a few times, don't want to get back to it: In short, if you write and distribute a vertical client/server Delphi application against this database it is likely that you or your customers will have to pay for the MySQL license). 

Not only this announce is bad because of the extra money many MySQL users will have to pay, but also because it shows a clear signal Oracle wants to kill the cheap competition... and you never know what's next. Perception is important, and the effect of this move is quite bad. By the way, they also removed the transactional engine from the free "community" offering for open source projects [well, seems I was misled on this by an article I read]. I just migrated my Delphi open source accounting package (the Italian GO) to it, will probably have to revert back...

Read for example the long blog post " The Decline of MySQL ". I know my longtime friend Zack Urlocker (and MySQL product manager) will disagree, but I guess things are not looking at the best in the long run, while in the short run the company is likely to raise some money.

Now, this could be a very good opportunity for all of the other open source database servers (and also some of paid ones!), particularly the most popular ones like Firebird and PostgreSQL. I'm particularly fond of Firebird (the InterBase offspring) and use it in many projects and did a lot of consulting to Delphi developers using it. Can this be the rise of Firebird? MySQL with its huge popularity has certainly obscured it, so it could be a good time to act.

Which means promoting Firebird more and making sure it works at best with one of the environments that has pushed it a lot, that is, Delphi. If Delphi now has an official Firebird driver for dbExpress, that is not enough and more could be done in terms of interoperability, cross-breeding, and cross-promotion. Owning InterBase, I can understand Embarcadero is quiet on this, but at times it seems to me that the Firebird community forgets how many Delphi developers use their database and like it a lot!

PS. Meanwhile the Firebird Conference 2010 is under way in Bremen, Germany. Too bad I could not make it.



Can Firebird gain against MySQL? 

If you meant InnoDB news were wrong. MySQL "Classic" 
is not the "Community Edition". The "Classic" is a 
paid license aimed at embedded read-intensive 
databases for ISV and VARs.
MySQL users should stop being isteric. Probably they 
should start to ask themselves *why* MySQL ended up 
in Oracle hands. And start to look at MySQL site. Not 
just download a free edition <g>

Postgres and Firebird have a chance, but they have to 
exploit it. Postgres badly needs far better LOB 
support, while Firebird needs to overcome some old 
limits of the Interbase architecture (they already 
doing, but they have to deliver). Meanwhile even 
Embarcadero have a better chance to sell Interbase if 
they really work on it and set price below Oracle 

And all of them should ask themselves why Oracle can 
set those prices and keep on selling.
Comment by Luigi D. Sandon on November 12, 23:11

Can Firebird gain against MySQL? 

Dear Marco,

as much as I like your postings, my feelding is that 
you sometimes undermine / muddle the content by 
having too many spelling mistakes in the text. Here's 
a corrected version. Please just earch for "((" to 
find my corrections. I am not a native speaker of 
English, but tried my best to fix the obvious errors.

Thanks for you efforts!

Comment by Olaf [] on November 13, 05:40

Can Firebird gain against MySQL? 


thanks for the corrections. You are right, I should put 
more time into reading my posts... but the blog is 
taking so much time and at times I work it too late at 
night. (I omitted the corrections from your feedback).


thanks for the corrections and further ideas.
Comment by Marco Cantu [] on November 13, 07:26

Can Firebird gain against MySQL? 

Luigi - For sure it is on OEM page.

Still the Enterprise edition starts with USD 2k for 
up to 4 sockets which in the end every computer. So 
the alternative is then the OEM license ... 

The MySQL people did a good job, this is out of doubt 
and this should be honored. I personally found the 
compromise of about 500 or 6000 USD affordable for 
everyone. This is the sad thing. Now there is no 
compromise and it will make nothing better, because 
MySQL from a very non technical point view comes 
close to SQL Server from the applications involved 
and the developments done.

Being to optimistic into direction of Firebrid ... in 
the context of OEM it can make sense. It will have to 
proove, for me it looks a lot better than before. 
Also here the progress is out of doubt.

Honestly why they simply do not put the Enterprise 
Monitor to USD 2000 support contract. It leaves for 
me in summary a bad taste. This does not look 
straight, because this bundeling has  nothing to do 
with the SLA provided. For sure there is a dependency 
of features required and the SLA's quality.

The quality of the Oracle DB (ok is has legacy this 
comes with the years some solutions are simply a 
response to the existing and the big enterprise 
scenario where it origins) is still superb and MySQL 
is getting better and is stable here I agree with LDS 
maybe the pricing scheme really reflects the reallity 
but does not help in the end a company that bought an 
application and did not decide for the database. 
(What was BTRIEVE in the past ...and is Pervasive SQL 

This scanario is in the middle but exists in many 
places. One could argue it is the vendors 
reponsibility and I agree on this as this is the job 
too. OEM licencing in the fashion of Oracle is a 
pain, anything that goes beyond what the application 
provides and nothing else, in practice is the 
opposite of what relational datbases are used for ... 
getting rid of propretary application specific file 
formats .. this is the hidden and long forgotten 
business value.

Anyway Oracle is a company that decided to sell ... 
they are very pushy in this corner ... In reallity in 
Austria it is better to go to one of our bigger 
Oracle partners ... this direct marketing approach is 
not recognized very positive here it is more seen as 
nasty. It is very centralistic ... little in the 
fashion of IBM Hardware resales optimization ... pay 
for maintenance but do it on your own.


Comment by Michael Thuma on November 13, 09:51

Can Firebird gain against MySQL? 

About prices, I wonder Oracle does not offer MySQL as 
a "named user" licenses as well. Unless that's 
something you can "contract" with then, but I really 
don't know. Oracle Standard Edition One comes at $180 
per named user, which makes it cheaper for internal 
deployments in small organizations up to ten named 
user - and that's a perpetual license, not a yearly 
fee (you still have to pay yearly support, if you 
want patches). It is true that MySQL is often used as 
a web site backend where one is usually forced to buy 
an unlimited user server license, but not 
exclusively. But no one noticed that, hinting that 
most of the MySQL "community" has only one kind of 
deployment in mind, IMHO, but not that many Delphi 
application use. For small installations it may be no 
longer the database to use, and that's another 
opportunity IB/FB - and Postgres - can tackle, if 
they move fast enough. Also they are lucky the new 
MySQL Workbench is IMHO a very bad designed 
application - another step backwards, but the lack of 
good management tools out of the box is another issue 
they should address, especially against not 
Oracle/MySQL but SQL Server (Express), especially 
since the free edition has now a 10GB limit (still 
one processor and 1GB RAM) and can fulfill many 
relatively small organization needs.
Comment by Luigi D. Sandon on November 13, 14:32

Can Firebird gain against MySQL? 

Can it compete!

At least I can say on my last 2 Medion PC bought from 
Aldi the Firefird comes installed for the application 
that allows transferring photos to Aldi and get 
posters back or whatever ... I have deleted the app 
but kept the Firebird.

Anyway. Firebird. I only can share my experience with 
Firebird under Linux, this is really fast. Having the 
opportunity via the tools library to backup and 
restore the DB from the application is sthg. very 

The problem I think with the DB decision is ... why 
to take sthg. that does not cover tomorrows needs and 
migrate then. You must believe the database does it 
tomorrow. For anything else one must consider 
procedures as well as other proprietary stuff has to 
be avoided. Very dependent on the scenarion. On the 
other hand I know 2 comapnies that run on Firebird 
since version 1.x and it was ok for them, but they 
had administrators.

Currently we are looking at a short period of 2 DBs 
getting better but for me the times of having to 
consider use this mode or this mode when running your 
statemens ... this does not really make life easy. 

The world is different - the performance of query 
does not only depend on its execution plan. The 
problem is the whole database status and different 
approaches to tuning. Here honestly I don't know if 
both MySQL as well as Firebird are the real thing.
Comment by Michael Thuma on November 13, 15:14

Can Firebird gain against MySQL? 

Luigi. Thank you did not know that the named licence 
is this low and honestly then this is for me still the 
better option. The only drawback in the past the 
standard was poor mans partitioning, but partitions 
are not playing this role anymore and will do less in 
the future as a mechanism for speeding up queries. I 
will have to look at the current bundeling ... but I 
have the personal oracle licence (for developers) this 
is for one man but with all the features...fits 
definitly for developers purposes (the cost for 
maintenance is low it decreased).

Oracle is not expensive as well the Windows Server is 
not. There is one thing you get with the Oracle, they 
have a well layered approach to in the end target also 
knew kinds of storages very quick. For some people it 
is little strange to link the dbms system under Linux 
... but it works.

Oracle and tools ... :). A sad story over decades.
Comment by Michael Thuma on November 14, 10:13

Can Firebird gain against MySQL? 

Not to ignore the desktop computing market, but
Firebird needs to conquer the web development market.
For Firebird to capture MySQL marketshare, two things
are important:

1. The PHP web scripting language needs better support
for Firebird, at least to the same level as MySQL,
thus encouraging more developers to use Firebird with PHP.

2. At the same time, web hosting companies should make
Firebird a choice of available databases, encouraging
new development projects to use the PHP-Firebird stack.

The obvious cost-benefits of Firebird as a cheaper
(free) alternative to MySQL will be hard to ignore and
this is a good opportunity for free databases like
Firebird and PostgreSQL to make gains.

Steve Faleiro
Comment by Steve Faleiro on November 14, 10:26

Can Firebird gain against MySQL? 

 Anyway ... it will not require a MySQL to enable 
Firebird. They have a solid support of almost all  OSes 
and inteface technologies a valid roadmap and a next 
version already in the pipe. As long as they keep it 
simple the Firebird will not grow into a monolith 
Firebird is simple to use and easy to setup. This helps 

MySQL you cannot move away so simple ... :) Marco. The 
opportunity cost for moving from free to free no chance. 
It can only be new things.

The next database to replace is the Oracle and the SQL 
Server and this will take time.
Comment by Michael Thuma on November 14, 15:47

Can Firebird gain against MySQL? 

 Where about mariadb? monty and others earlier
developers of mysql are focusing on that database and
over comming with many new features.
maybe oracle has shot in his own head with this
prices, because mariadb suport all features of mysql
and much more
Comment by Breno [] on November 14, 19:19

Can Firebird gain against MySQL? 

I have been using Firebird for quite a while and
believe that it delivers a solid single-site database
for small to medium sized companies.
To gain additional grounds, several conditions must be
1 - Better development tools support, 
2 - Massive funds to dedicate developers hence
shortening release cycles
3 - Massive funds for marketing Firebird as a serious
database for enterprises.
1 - Better development tools support:
We have used Firebird as a result of using Delphi.
Rare are those using it with different development
tools. Like it or not, adoption of Microsoft's visual
studio surpasses by far Delphi. Just look at career
posts for dotNet versus Delphi. It is close to 100/1
ratio if not more. We tried using Firebird with
dotNET. We faced numerous problems. We had two choices
of providers, both remained in the beta zone for ages,
showing that not much development efforts were made.

2 - Massive funds to dedicate developers. Developers
have to live! Although the Firebird development team
comprises of extremely competent software gurus,
without income, those gurus cannot dedicate their time
to keep on adding important features. Keep in mind
that MySQL has two basic types of databases: MyISAM
and InnoDB. Numerous applications do not require
multi-generation database architecture. Try adding 1
million records in Firebird and compare it to the
MyISAM MySQL database. MySQL is blazing fast.
With the increase Oracle made to the MySQL licenses,
Oracle plans either injecting funds in MySQL
development and evolution or simply, to deter users
from using it, therefore, killing it.

3 - Massive funds for marketing Firebird as a serious
database for enterprises:
Sadly, most decision makers never heard of Firebird.
When deciding between applications using Firebird and
either MySQL or SQL Server, they will definitely favor
the later set. For Firebird to be used, it must be
promoted in universities. This can consist of using it
to teach SQL to students. Currently, Oracle and
Microsoft have been subsidizing school licenses, in
order to have students (future decision makers) learn
and use their tools and databases. 

Without the above, it is highly unlikely that Firebird
will grow and take away part of the MySQL user base.
The debate is similar to the one of open source linux
distributions versus the supported paid versions. 
Comment by Salim on November 16, 21:22

Can Firebird gain against MySQL? 

 Very good post my view on it. Maybe having a DB based
on managed code ... I think 
we all have understood ... nice but you have now 
still SQL Server in kind of CE and Express... and as 
you mentioned Access (the service library of Anydac 
now has the repair built in and had support for 
Blackfish SQL too). Honestly one needs a lot to 
overcome Nexus DB.
Comment by seo melbourne [] on November 17, 05:46

Can Firebird gain against MySQL? 

 In case of Firebird success, there will allways be 
some "Ellison" trying to swallow it. 
Comment by Igor on November 22, 14:01

Can Firebird gain against MySQL? 

Salim stated on the 14h of November, that if 1 million
records were added, MySQL would outperform FireBird...

So is it correct to suggest that FireBird will be
slower with more data (eg: 20 million records) ?

This is going to be a deciding factor for me to choose
between PostgreSQL and FireBird.

Any tips please... 
Comment by Khalid [] on October 26, 07:40

Can Firebird gain against MySQL? 

I think you dont know GPL, since it is distribuited
under GPL license, you can use it freely, since you
dont charge the data base, so you can charge your
software e let every one know that the databse is
free, then you can use de opensource pakage of mysql
without worry about legal issue.

And once it is open, even if oracle wish there  are
thousand of source of this code legaly copied unde
GLV, if they close the project I think that unde 5
minuts a branch of "libreMySql" will popup :D dont
worry, use it and contribue to the opensource comunity.
Comment by Daniel Roque on January 7, 14:48

Can Firebird gain against MySQL? 

The MySQL development project has made its source code 
available under the terms of the GNU General Public 
License, as well as under a variety of proprietary 
agreements. MySQL was owned and sponsored by a single 
for-profit firm, the Swedish company MySQL AB, now owned 
by Oracle Corporation. 
Comment by Edgar [] on July 4, 00:16

Can Firebird gain against MySQL? 

MYsql is just so expensive. Firebird for the win! 
Comment by Travis [] on July 22, 19:23

Can Firebird gain against MySQL? 

In 2013-2014, Google migrated from mySql towards
mariaDB (since Java's Oracle purchase). So, today
(june 2015), the question should rather be: "can
Firebird gain against mariaDB" (which includes
relationnal integrity)?

My answer is that they do not play in the same area:
-FireBird 2.5 is a good RDBMS (relationnal, acid,
manage roles, transactions, speed recovering, UDFs,
alerts, ...). But, its lack is that there is no big
company to promote it, except the Delphi and Lazarus
community: good for LAN networking developments.
-There is too much mySQL and mariaDB
databases\applications now on the web: so, there are a
lot of ressources and it's appreciable: good for
internet developments.

(sorry for my poor english)
Comment by Eric on June 7, 14:57

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