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MySQL Fork "Drizzle" Shows Signs of Life

09.30.2010
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While other Sun projects such as OpenSolaris and OpenOffice.org were driven to make forks (Illumos and LibreOffice respectively) under Oracle's new leadership style, MySQL forks are not in the same position.  Oracle seems to be relatively committed to the MySQL community, but this hasn't stopped older forks from moving forward.  One fork of MySQL that was started over three years ago is just now reaching beta quality according to the developers.  This is the Drizzle project, which just released build 1802 - now referred to as Drizzle 7.

The new version of Drizzle includes a much better 'drizzledump' tool, which now has the ability to migrate databases from MySQL to Drizzle without any intermediate files.  If it detects a MySQL server it automatically converts the data and structures into Drizzle formats.  If it's connected to a Drizzle server it will simply perform a normal dump.

Drizzle 7 also introduces Sphinx-based documentation.  In addition, Drizzle has a new feature that allows it to understand MySQL's network protocol.  This should make it pretty simple to run MySQL applications with Drizzle after a few minor changes.  These features will reach full stability sometime around February 2011.

Drizzle has been slow in its path to beta status, but it was actually ahead of Oracle's current version of MySQL in some ways because Drizzle started using InnoDB as the transactional storage engine before MySQL.  Drizzle also supports a variety of scripting languages for stored procedures - much like PostgreSQL.  Drizzle is distinguished by its focus on modularity for sections of its functionality. 



Drizzle was conceived in order to produce an SQL database that was optimized for cloud and web applications.  Developers scraped out all of the non essential code from MySQL and then re-factored the remaining code and migrated it to C++.  While Drizzle was initially supported by Sun, most of its core developers are employed by Rackspace now.