MySQL is still alive on IBM i

Over the past week I’ve received several emails, ranging in tone from panicked to angry, seeking clues to the fate of MySQL on IBM i. The database vendor Oracle—recent buyer of Sun Microsystems, and therefore of MySQL—has issued an end-of-life notice for MySQL distributions on IBM i.

IBM i’s primary database is still db2, but many in the community have grown to trust MySQL when deploying MySQL-based applications such as WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, and SugarCRM. Some have trusted MySQL enough to let it into their inner application sanctum, using the IBM DB2 for i Storage Engine (IBMDB2i) to share data between MySQL-based applications and traditional db2-based apps and languages (think RPG).

Now that trust seems to be shattered.

Fortunately, MySQL is an open source product. Zend is still distributing existing versions of MySQL for i, and even if Oracle ceases to create new distributions, someone else can pick up the slack.  An article in IT Jungle quotes IBM’s Allison Butterill and Ian Jarman as offering hope that IBM can find a way to maintain MySQL as an officially supported database, possibly with Zend’s help. It’s all speculation at this stage, but IBM seems to be considering the alternatives and wants to choose the right path.

Forgive me if I seem unduly sanguine about the situation, but many of us ran MySQL on the i before any of these official distributions existed. Back in 2005, the now-defunct site i5php.net hosted distributions of both PHP and MySQL that were compiled for for the IBM i (called the i5 at that time).

The dust hasn’t settled yet. Anything can happen. Yet I believe that MySQL’s open source licensing will, in the end, rescue it from Oracle’s decisions, allowing MySQL to remain viable on the IBM i—with the help of those who care.