The creator of MySQL has formed an organization that is committed to providing a truly FREE open source database, called MariaDB. This project is driving force behind the Open Database Alliance, whose goals are:
The intent of the Open Database Alliance is to unify all MySQL-related development and services, providing a solution to the fragmentation and uncertainty facing the communities, businesses and technical experts involved with MySQL. Still under development, the Open Database Alliance is open to all businesses, organizations and individuals interested in helping create a new, centralized resource for MySQL and to ensure that it remains a top quality, high performance open source database.
This effort is similar to the Fedora Project and should provide an avenue for MySQL developers/devotees looking for a fully open source alternative to the offerings from the Sun/Oracle folks.
Some of the key benefits from MariaDB are a focus on performance and stability – there is a thread pooling scheme and very aggressive bug fix schedule. This project should provide a real opportunity for folks interested in contributing and using truly open source toolsets.