14 November 2015

The Price of Apostasy

No surprise: I've no respect for the NoSql crowd, being as how they're hell-bent on reactionary 1960s client code/file paradigm. Ugh. Before: COBOL. Now: java (and still, in the Fortune X00, COBOL). Before: VSAM. Now: MongoDB (et al).

Comes this bit of irony.
But one thing was missing from that enterprise messaging, perhaps because it went missing from MongoDB's Enterprise product: joins.

That wasn't the plan. The plan was originally to charge for joins (or $lookup, as MongoDB is calling the functionality). Yet MongoDB's ever-watchful (but not always paying) community resisted.

MongoDB's capitulation is, of course, a testament to the company's willingness to heed the voice of its community. However, it's also a testament to just how hard it is to make money on free software: "Here's a new thing but you can't have it!"

Of course, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but come on. Stick to your guns. It appears the 20-somethings who actually use MongoDB like the huge flat-file non-structure that enables their infinite employment. Good on them.
This means that MongoDB, like every other open source company, needs to figure out ways to sell something other than open source, and feature-level differentiation, for the reasons stated, won't do. Not for the stuff that really matters, anyway. Otherwise the community build, meant to be an on-ramp to enterprise payola, instead becomes a roadblock to adoption.

Well, PostgreSQL has been doing the Open Source thing for a couple of decades, and supports a number of customization shops. One might also argue that MicroSoft has taken the open-core paradigm with its purchase (and debatable integration with) Revolution Analytics R. Also, I'm among those who deny that java is truly open source. One might argue that applications written with it are, but Leisure Suit Larry controls the language lock, stock, and barrel.

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