Bits and Chaos

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Between bits and chaos, a sysadmin stands.

Why open source is a superior development tool: the Zmanda backup tool for MySQL

Free and Open Source is a lot more than a bunch of licenses: it’s a development model, a culture and an ecosystem, that every day and in many different and sometimes unexpected ways shows its inherent superiority. Plus, it’s free, and we’re happy when someone decides to embrace it and surfing the wave to build the next great system.

This story started some time ago, when I searched for a MySQL backup system, and I found Zmanda MySQL Backup.

I have used it for almost one year now, and I’m completely satisfied: it take minutes to configure, I’m using 10% of its features and it already does everything I need. During this year, I restored from a backup several times, retrieving a single database or the entire collection, and Zmanda did its job perfectly. It’s the kind of software you put in production and forgot it because it works.

So long this one would be the typical open source story, where an open source tool is the primary choice in a OSS environment: if you don’t put your money in the database, probably you won’t pay for a database backup system, which is somehow a second line system. The story goes interesting when I encounter a bug in Zmanda, which is a conflict with the required version of Perl.

Now take look at the last messages from the thread: I filed the bug and 3:09 am (I live in Italy and the message time are US-based, I’m not a fanatical bug hunter), and a fixed release was out at 10:09.

It takes 7 hour from bug filling to package release.

It’s a open source tool, we are not paying customers, but we get from the nice and caring people of Zmanda a fixed release for a not critical bug in less than one working day. You won’t get the same level of service from a corporate multibillion software vendor, granted.

This is way OSS is superior: it put the good people working together to build and fix. Everyone adds a small part, but this endless process finally result in a masterpiece.

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Filed under: mysql, oss, , , , ,

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