Parts of the world are already celebrating Christmas Eve and it’s time to relax and spend time with family and friends. Even if you don’t celebrate Christmas this is when there is time for less work. Here are a few words to round off MariaDB’s current state and where it’s heading.

This year culminated in MariaDB 5.3.3, the release candidate of 5.3. This is a significant release that makes years of work available by default in the database server. Earlier releases still required features to be explicitly switched on, but thanks to thorough testing assuring the quality of the new functionality we have now enabled them. It’s still called a release candidate which means it’s ready for general usage, but we want more user feedback before calling it stable. Make yourself familiar with the MariaDB 5.3.3 release notes.

Most of the new features and functionality of 5.3.3 are performance related making it possible to suddenly e.g. make use of subqueries, which previously has been a rare sight in MySQL® based applications due to the limitations that has existed. This is now addressed in MariaDB and we encourage you to start using subqueries. You will actually get a result to your query in a reasonable time.

Another nice addition in 5.3.3 is the new GIS (Geographic Information System) functionality. MariaDB introduces spatial functionality in accordance with the OpenGIS specification. If you have the need for GIS functionality in your application try MariaDB.

We had some challenges with the packaging of the authentication plugins and our release schedule was affected. Watch out for MariaDB 5.2.11 and MariaDB 5.5 in early 2012.

During 2011 we saw a huge increase in MariaDB popularity. We saw MariaDB being selected as the database for really critical systems (stay tuned for case studies of some of these systems). We saw some of the biggest IT companies making initial bets on MariaDB. A better basis for MariaDB’s 2012 couldn’t exist!

Thank You and Happy Holidays!

We have lately been talking about some upcoming features that we feel are important to MariaDB users, because the corresponding ones that will be provided with MySQL will be incompatible with MariaDB and closed source.

We’re happy to announce the following:

  • The next version of MariaDB, version 5.2.10 will include an open source PAM Authentication Plugin. MariaDB 5.2.10 is scheduled for release next week.
  • A Windows Authentication Plugin is in development and QA currently and will be part of MariaDB 5.2.11, which is scheduled for release before Christmas.
  • MariaDB 5.5 will include both of the above plugins and an open source thread pool implementation. The soon-to-be-launched first version however will not include the thread pool.

Stay tuned for more information as soon as we start launching the above features.

Mission critical services relying on MariaDB should be aware that SkySQL has familiarized themselves with the new features and are ready to support all of the above options.

As you may know, since version 5.2.0 (released in April 2010) we support Pluggable Authentication. Using this feature one can implement an arbitrary user authentication and account management policy, completely replacing built-in MariaDB authentication with its username/password combination and mysql.user table.

Also, as you might have heard, Oracle has recently released a PAM authentication plugin for MySQL. Alas, this plugin will not run on MariaDB — although the MySQL implementation of pluggable authentication is based on ours, the API is incompatible. And, being closed source, this plugin cannot be fixed to run in MariaDB. And — I’m not making it up — this plugin does not support communication between the client and the server, so even with this plugin and all the power of PAM the only possible authentication method remains a simple username/password combination.

But writing authentication plugins is easy, I said to myself. I will do my own authentication plugin! With blackjack and hookers.

Continue reading