Tonino Jankov, December 30, 2020
MySQL is a relational database (RDBMS) which first saw the light of day in 1995, created by Michael Monty Widenius and David Axmark. It was created when the market was dominated by Microsoft and Oracle’s proprietary (and pricey) solutions.
One of the factors behind MySQL’s popularity is undoubtedly WordPress, which today powers around 60% of the CMS systems or 34% of the entire web.
WordPress was created in 2003 by Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little, as a fork of another project. It was written in PHP, it was using MySQL as its database, and when it appeared, its adoption caught up like wildfire.
WordPress quickly became synonymous with the concept of open source software and so did its underlying server stack. DisplayWP has a nice chart of the minimum required MySQL version for every WordPress release.
One of the factors that boosted the adoption of MySQL was the GPL side of its licensing. Since it is compatible with Linux, it started being included by default in Linux distributions. Today it comes included by default with Ubuntu.
MariaDB had its first release in October 2009, with version 5.1.38 Beta, based on MySQL 5.1.38. It was a fork meant to “to ensure that the MySQL code base would be free forever”.
At the time of forking, the most common fear was that the acquisition was a hostile takeover with the goal of killing MySQL. That concern, at least partly, proved to be unfounded.
Again in 2009, Monty Program AB and Percona, a company providing premium MySQL services, established the Open Database Alliance. Their goal was “to unify all MySQL-related development and services, providing a solution to the fragmentation and uncertainty facing the communities, businesses and technical experts involved with MySQL.”
The idea was “to become the industry hub for the MySQL open source database, including MySQL and derivative code, binaries, training, support, and other enhancements for the MySQL community and partner ecosystem”
Looking back at it: it is possible that these steps have prevented a worse scenario for the famous database.