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"MySQL is a pretty poor database" says ex-MySQL developer

When someone quits the current job, most do this silently and keep the reasons to themselves. But sometimes the frustration had to be kept inside for too long, so a public outburst is just what you need after you finally quit a hated job.

Logo of MySQL, an Oracle, Inc. company
MySQL Logo, an Oracle, Inc. company

MySQL is a pretty poor database, and you should strongly consider using Postgres instead

Steinar H. Hunderson

Steinar H. Gunderson lashed out on his personal blog last Sunday. He had been employed at Oracle, Inc. for five years and was working on the MySQL database as a developer. According to him, he felt as if he was walking into a parallel universe when he first started, with a lot of people clapping at themselves:

Coming to MySQL was like stepping into a parallel universe, where there were lots of people genuinely believing that MySQL was a state-of-the-art product.

While he was digging into the code and attended orientation about the MySQL internals, he was literally shocked how "primitive everything was". Especially the internal executor seems to be a very "crazy" coded piece of software. But Steinar remained positive – at first – seeing the "bad code" as plenty of room for improvement. Even the management seemed to be "strongly supportive" to improvements on a large scale.

After having worked on MySQL 8.0, which he was proud of and named it a much better product than 5.7, he started to see that there are not enough resources to actually turn MySQL into a better/competitive product.

MySQL 8.0 […] is a much better product than 5.7 was

Does that mean that MariaDB, the MySQL challenger, is better? Actually no; according to Steinar the code in MariaDB is as bad:

Don't believe for a second that MariaDB is any better

While starting to question the (slow) pace of the improvements – Steinar mentioned that the MySQL optimizer in 8.0 now runs in a early 2000s design and that the development seems 10 years behind – he also faced internal company-brainwashing, where Oracle kept telling its employees that only geniuses work at Oracle and that Oracle is "WINNING IN THE CLOUD".

At the end, Steinar decided to leave his job at MySQL and has now joined the Google Chrome team.

Claudio Kuenzler
Claudio has been writing way over 1000 articles on his own blog since 2008 already. He is fascinated by technology, especially Open Source Software. As a Senior Systems Engineer he has seen and solved a lot of problems - and writes about them.

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