It is not a secret that we’ve been kicking the tires and playing with JIRA for project management. After using it since the beginning of the year most of us like the feel of it and we’ve decided that it makes sense to start using it more.

As you know, the MariaDB project has many fragmented resources. We report bugs in Launchpad. We store our plans in worklog. We’ve never used the Launchpad Blueprint feature for this very reason. We don’t use Launchpad Answers because we have the Knowledgebase.

With this move to hosted JIRA (yes, this is an important link: http://mariadb.org/jira) we can report bugs, have future plans, and also give users a roadmap which is pretty cool. One nifty feature is that in the past two releases, we had a roadmap and we didn’t slip in terms of a schedule. We had on time releases and that’s awesome!

So what does this mean for you? To report bugs, you will now do so on JIRA. To make feature requests and talk about our future plans, you will also now use JIRA.

We plan to deprecate Worklog and Launchpad bugs by 30 June 2012. Launchpad will however continue to host the source code for MariaDB.

What will happen to bugs already reported on Launchpad? We have migration scripts ready for this and when we press the button bug reports will nicely migrate over to JIRA. After that is done we’ll place a notification on the MariaDB bugs page in Launchpad about reporting new bugs in JIRA.

What will happen to feature requests and ideas already in worklog? Worklog will be put into a read-only mode and there will be notifications about the move to JIRA. Whenever needed we’ll copy & paste worklog items into JIRA.

What does it mean to the openness of the MariaDB project? It’s not affected at all. The MariaDB project will remain an open community friendly project and as a bonus it will be easier to follow what is going on in the project since you don’t have to jump between several tools to get the complete picture.

The consolidation to JIRA provides the means to report and track project status easier than before, which allows the MariaDB team, community members and other to better coordinate and prioritize work.

As a side note, JIRA (and other software by Atlassian) has sometimes been criticized in the open source world because of its commercial nature and many are unaware of the fact that Atlassian do offer a free Open Source Project License to open source projects, which is what is being used with MariaDB.

As another side note, I’m not going to dive into comparing features in e.g. Launchpad with features in JIRA. I do know it would be possible to use blueprints for feature specifications etc. in Launchpad. The most important aspect in my mind is that you pick a tool that you like the feel of, has the features you need and tightens collaboration between developers, project managers, community members and other persons involved in the project.

In short, this is all about three project tools becoming one.

We’re quite happy that we’ve released four major releases that are production ready (better known as generally available or GA in the MySQL world) in the last 26 months. That is just a little over two years, and a whole lot of features. In that same time, MySQL has seen one GA release (MySQL 5.5) and we’re all eagerly awaiting the upcoming MySQL 5.6.

You’ll note that we built MariaDB 5.1, 5.2, and 5.3 based on the MySQL 5.1 codebase. A significant number of features went into MariaDB 5.3 (our biggest GA release to date), with the biggest changes in the optimizer in over a decade. There were also many replication based changes included like the now famous group commit for the binary log. Our Knowledgebase has a summary of MariaDB 5.3 features.

Work on MariaDB 5.3 started long before MySQL 5.5 went GA. It was a huge task to move all these 5.3 features into MariaDB 5.5 and at the same time merge MariaDB 5.5 with MySQL 5.5. It caused a significant delay in us getting a release of MariaDB 5.5 out there as production ready software. By now it must be clear that we included all changes in MariaDB 5.5 from 5.3, 5.2, and 5.1. We spent the time developing new features and keeping it current against current versions of MySQL.

We released MariaDB 5.5 in April and we have always aimed for short release cycles where possible to keep up with rapidly changing distributions. With this in mind many have been thinking about the release cycle from now onwards.

What will the next release of MariaDB, which we are working on, be called? We want to release our new features in a GA version soon and not wait for MySQL 5.6 to reach GA quality. But if we release a GA version before MySQL 5.6 is GA, it will be very confusing to call our release 5.6. In addition, this time there are no free version numbers between 5.5 and 5.6 like there were between 5.1 and 5.5 when we could use 5.2 and 5.3.

We are thinking of calling it MariaDB 10.0. It will include stable GA-ready features from MySQL 5.6 (these will be backported), as well as encompass some of our plans for the next release. It will be based on the MySQL 5.5 codebase. Then we plan to release MariaDB 10.1, MariaDB 10.2 and so on.

What happens when MySQL 5.6 is GA-ready? We’ll release a MariaDB version 11.0. It will include all the features of MariaDB 10, and encompass the features from the MySQL 5.6 codebase (that weren’t already backported into MariaDB in a previous release).

Does this mean we are veering away from being a backward compatible branch to MySQL? Of course not. We will be feature complete. We’re just in the lull of time between MySQL releases, in a similar fashion to what we did for MariaDB 5.2 and MariaDB 5.3. Astute followers will note that there is no MySQL 5.2 and 5.3.

Essentially this is just a change in the numbering scheme. A change which allows us to release more often than MySQL does. You are invited to contribute to the conversation on the maria-discuss mailing list.