Let your betatesters pay !

Slashdot totally misinterpreted Jeremy's post about MySQL starting to build features first for their customers. As a business model , this sounds like a good way to get revenue , customers want certain features that are valuable to them , so why not let them pay for it .

The question however is how your development cycle works. Often this method of keeping code first for your paying customers , and when "the feature has been paid for" give it to the opensource community , is the wrong one.

What it comes down to is that you neglect the release early , release often and the peer review , many eyeballs see more bugs, fundamentals that made opensource projects big and stable. You are in effect stepping back to a proprietary model where you have to rush your deadlines because you have promised customers such and such feature, hence letting your customers do your beta testing.

It’s not like it’s the first time MySQL pulls this trick. They already did that when building a Carrier Grade edition for Cluster. That indeed also was a product where they had customers paying for unstable beta products.

The peer review process is one of the things that insanely attracted me in Open Source, the code that you get is not some piece of overrushed code where a developer made a dozen shortcuts because he had to make a deadline, but a piece of code that has been reviewed by many , discussed, and then eventually allowed into the project.

Releasing beta level code to customers and eventually to opensource means you miss out on a lot of the features a true opensource project has.

Often the reason why Open source minded organisations still chose for this approach is to get revenue to be able to hire more developers/ support peope and improve the product faster. But it's a vicious circle, because your product isn't up to the standards you are used to you need more people to support it.

However in the MySQL case , a mostly user community, lesser user development contributions, this could make sense.