"Business Source" not in SkySQL's MariaDB plans
Patrik Sallner, CEO of SkySQL, has told The H that Michael "Monty" Widenius's "Business Source" is not part of SkySQL's plans for MariaDB. "It is by no means something that has been or will be applied to MariaDB, especially not the server", Sallner told The H. SkySQL and Widenius's Monty Program recently merged.
Widenius has proposed an alternative model for monetising open source software by only allowing paid customers access to the software and source code for a period of time, say three to five years, and then later releasing that code as open source. The idea has been criticised for being counter to open source principles. It's a model which some had also suggested was going to be applied to MariaDB, but speaking with The H, Sallner said MariaDB is not only GPLv2 licensed but the code from which it is derived, MySQL, is owned by Oracle – "MariaDB server is and will be open source and the foundation was set up to govern that... we can't apply any other licence to it other than GPL".
"What we're looking at, where we're exploring business models," said Sallner, "is around tooling for the database server". SkySQL has a number of supporting applications which are due for launch which work with both MariaDB and MySQL. "I'm not too keen to experiment with an unproven business model or licensing model on something essential", he added, noting that the company was still exploring options "to find the right balance between breadth of adoption and monetisation." The current assumed position is monetisation through support subscriptions with an open source licence model, but Sallner wants an "exchange with a broad enough group of people to find out what model they prefer."
Widenius's "Business Source" model might be one such potential model but Sallner would not be drawn on whether it was in the running; he added that he thought Widenius's idea was "to start opening a discussion" in order to get more feedback to see what applications might work with a "Business Source" model. Widenius has explained more about his ideas in a comment to some of the criticism where he admits the model is not open source, but, "provides for most of the end users many of the same benefits as Open Source". It is, some critics say, unclear if that is the case.