New open source MariaDB drivers for C and Java
SkySQL and Monty Program have announced the open sourcing of native C and Java drivers for MariaDB – drivers which will work with Oracle's MySQL and other MySQL-derived databases. The drivers were developed as an internal SkySQL/Monty Program project and are being released as LGPL-licensed software. The companies hope that the existence of the new LGPL drivers – an alternative to the existing GPL drivers – will increase the size of the MySQL/MariaDB ecosystem. The native C driver is a drop-in replacement for the GPL-licensed MySQL Connector/C driver with the same API. The Java driver is a JDBC driver and therefore conforms to the Java specifications for database drivers.
GPL-licensed drivers have been available for FOSS developers to use with GPL-licensed applications, but the drivers were not usable with commercial, proprietary applications. The LGPL licence is designed for libraries that can be used in proprietary applications. The LGPL requires that users of applications distributed with LGPL libraries must be able to replace the LGPL libraries with alternative libraries, maintaining the user's software freedom to, for example, fix the code of the LGPL library. Curiously, SkySQL and Monty Program refer to the LGPL as a permissive licence, a term rarely used to describe the GNU family of licences.
The new drivers are available from SkySQL and Monty Program who aim to monetise them by offering paid-for support services for the drivers. They can be downloaded as compiled binaries for CentOS 6, Debian Squeeze and Windows for the C driver and as a Jar file for the Java driver, or, of course, as source code. Further information on the drivers is also available in the AskMonty KnowledgeBase.