MySQL drops support for BerkeleyDB

Open-source database maker MySQL AB has quietly dropped support for BerkeleyDB, the embedable database Oracle acquired in February.

From the current beta version of MySQL 5.1.12 going forward, MySQL will no longer allow BerkeleyDB to serve as one of its storage engines, according to a posting on MySQL's Web site late last month.

MySQL is one of the few databases that lets users choose among different engines to store data in a format best suited to their needs. The default engine, MYISAM, and InnoDB are seen as the most widely-used by MySQL users.

BerkeleyDB, which Oracle acquired when it bought SleepyCat Software in mid-February, is actually one of the less popular engines for MySQL, according to users. It has been deployed more than 200 million times, including in the Linux and BSD Unix operating systems, the Apache Web server, OpenLDAP directory and OpenOffice productivity suite.

Speculation had emerged at the time that Oracle, in buying both InnoDB in late 2005 and BerkeleyDB earlier this year, was trying to gain an advantage on small but fast-growing rival, MySQL. That view was reinforced when MySQL said at its annual user conference in April that it would create its own storage engine, code-named Falcon, and encourage other companies to create more alternatives.

But Brian Aker, director of architecture for MySQL, wrote in a blog posting that getting out from under Oracle's yoke isn't the main issue.

"Right now, we don't spend energy on keeping [BerkeleyDB] up to date. Which makes us look bad, and it makes Oracle look bad," he wrote. "The BerkeleyDB engine used a forked version of the Sleepycat code and someone really should fix the engine so that this is not the case."

Aker noted that if an outside party were willing to keep BerkeleyDB up-to-date and compatible with MySQL, "it might even be open for us to consider shipping it like we do other third-party engines."

Oracle did not return a request for comment. The company is expected to announce the release of version 4.5 of BerkeleyDB on Wednesday.

Aker also wrote that MySQL's coming storage engine, Falcon, "is a different solution" from InnoDB. "I am sure that there are users of InnoDB who will continue to want to use the InnoDB engine and I see a stream of work coming out of Oracle showing that they are committed to the maintaining of this engine."

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