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Being a Good Open Source Community Member: Why we hesitated on MySQL 5.7

The open source community is great, largely because it is powered by the passion of its members. Much of that passion is rooted in Doing What’s Right™*, but often there are lengthy discussions about what specifically that means. I want to talk a bit about one particular part of the open source community, and how it has made cPanel as a company react.

Why we hesitated on MySQL 5.7

In January of 2015 we released cPanel  & WHM version 11.48, and with it came support for MariaDB to cPanel & WHM. We made this choice intentionally, as we watched the industry shift away from MySQL and to MariaDB. We anticipated MariaDB being the eventual replacement for MySQL. In addition to the industry shift, we were primarily motivated by two specific things.

First was security transparency. In our research, we found that though MySQL seemed to be good about fixing security problems, they did so without being as transparent as we are accustomed to in the open source community. We were delighted to find that MariaDB followed the patterns we were used to when disclosing security fixes.

The Second thing centered on feature additions and improvements. While this is certainly no longer the case, MySQL itself had stagnated when it came to performance and the inclusion of highly demanded features. With the changes that MySQL has since made, one might speculate that the popularity of MariaDB and Percona really helped with this, but it’s difficult to say without being part of their decision making process.

Why we’re changing our minds

Since we started pushing people to MariaDB, we’ve seen a shift in how quickly MySQL is reacting. MySQL now consistently matches or outpaces MariaDB when it comes to development and releases, which in turn is increasing the demand on us for providing those upgraded versions of MySQL by our users. We have been working over the last year to make our platform more appealing to developers, and our current lack of support for the cutting edge technology in MySQL is inconsistent with that goal.

One simple example of what we mean there would be this; when MariaDB 10.2 became stable in May 2017 it included many features found in MySQL 5.7. However, MySQL reached stable nearly 18 months earlier in October 2015.

What’s Next?

As of cPanel & WHM version 70, we will include support for MySQL 5.7, and we will continue adding support for new versions as well. We still see value in promoting and supporting MariaDB, so we will also retain support for MariaDB for the foreseeable future.

The people using and building database-driven applications are doing so with MySQL in mind, and are hesitant to add support for MariaDB. Responding to our community’s desires is one of the most important things to us, and this is something that we are hearing asked for from our community consistently.

We will also soon discontinue the building and shipping of our own MySQL RPMs (like we have done already with MariaDB) relying instead on the versions provided upstream. That will help ensure that we’re shipping things as soon as possible.

What questions do you have for us? Ask ’em below, find me on twitter, or send me an email

This post composed exclusively to deadmau5 4×4=12

* Trademark displayed only for comic effect. I’m pretty sure there’s no actual trademark on this phrase.

benny Vasquez

scripter, crafter, cPanel's Manager of Community Engagement. Facilitating communication between cPanel's amazing development team, and cPanel's amazing community. Find me on twitter: @cpaneldev

18 responses to “Being a Good Open Source Community Member: Why we hesitated on MySQL 5.7”

  1. benny Vasquez says:

    A quick google shows that DigitalOcean’s community has a pretty comprehensive guide ( https://www.digitalocean.com/community/tutorials/how-to-prepare-for-your-mysql-5-7-upgrade ), but I don’t have any personal experience with that guide.

  2. I’m not a designer/developer. Is there a dummies guide to making sure my sites are ready to support 5.7?

  3. benny Vasquez says:

    Nope! Nothing special besides making sure your websites are all using software that supports the new version. This is also a good document to review! https://dev.mysql.com/doc/refman/5.7/en/upgrading-from-previous-series.html

  4. Anytihn special we need to do to do the mysql upgrade and make sure all is good

  5. benny Vasquez says:

    In that case, I agree! You should be able to upgrade to MySQL 5.7 in the same interface.

  6. AntiSock says:

    If there’s currently no way back from MariaDB to MySQL isn’t it safer to upgrade from MySQL 5.6 to 5.7?

    In our case; we’re supporting a mixture of old CMS’ plus new WP and Drupal and would like to go with the option with the least risk of incompatability, which I’d have thought was MySQL 5.7

    Thanks in advance.

  7. benny Vasquez says:

    So sorry for the confusion! While we plan to maintain support both MySQL and MariaDB, we still want to encourage the use of MariaDB.

  8. AntiSock says:

    Why do the Release Notes for WHM 70 recommend upgrading to MariaDB even though MySQL 5.7 is default?

    https://documentation.cpanel.net/display/70Docs/70+Release+Notes#id-70ReleaseNotes-MySQL%C2%AE5.7support

  9. Wow, very helpful. Just hope MySQL stays on top now 🙂

  10. redesigned says:

    So happy to have MySQL 5.7 support. Thanks for all the hard work!

  11. Jay Sherman says:

    Now, I’m wishing I hadn’t migrated to MariaDB when it was made the default. At the time, I read about how much better it would be than MySQL.

    It would be really nice if we had either a script or a UI to make the migration to MySQL due to the advantages listed above. I’ve added a feature request https://features.cpanel.net/topic/we-need-a-method-to-migrate-from-mariadb-to-mysql to that end, though it’s still in review.

  12. benny Vasquez says:

    I’m sorry, I meant to say: I’m sure the version number will change at some point in the future. Likely, unless we encounter a reason to change it, MySQL will remain the default.

  13. Tony Kammerer says:

    Current default is MariaDB (I believe), so why change default to MySQL 5.7 when unsure if MySQL or MariaDB will be default down the road a little further?

  14. benny Vasquez says:

    The default as of version 70 will be MySQL 5.7. It will likely be changed at some point, but what it will be changed to will be strongly dependent on what’s happening at that time.

  15. Tony Kammerer says:

    Which will be the default for the near future, and will that be changed in the more distant future?

  16. benny Vasquez says:

    Unfortunately that’s not the plan right now. The two have diverged too much to allow for migration both ways, but it’s something I’d love to see us offer!

  17. Bobby Fisher says:

    This! I am surprised this wasn’t mentioned in the post.

  18. Scott Neader says:

    Thanks for the info, as always! I’m curious if there will be any ability to switch from MariaDB back to MySQL, if we’ve already made the jump? The more the two diverge, the probability that switching is going to be problematic, I’m sure.

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