MySQL, Windows, and building community

I saw this today in Ilia’s blog.  In a nutshell, Kaj’s announcement explains that this is the first source-only release of MySQL Community Edition, version 5.0.33.  He points out "I expect the next Community release, 5.0.35, to be available as source
and binaries for the same platforms as MySQL Enterprise Server and as
the previous MySQL Community Server binary release 5.0.27. Until that
point in time, the 5.0.27 binaries will be the ones listed on the
normal MySQL 5.0 download pages at"
  That is, this won’t be the last of Windows binaries (for now at least).

Knowing the MySQL community and new MySQL users pretty well, this is a step in an interesting direction.  Last time I heard some numbers from a MySQL staffer, roughly half of the MySQL downloads were for Windows.  On the other hand, there are not many enterprise customers running MySQL on Windows.  So who are these people who are downloading MySQL for Windows?

I know who a lot of them are: they are the same people that buy our book.  People who are learning about MySQL.  These guys are never going to a) buy the Enterprise edition, or b) compile it themselves.  What they do do is swell the userbase.  If many developers know how to use your product, more companies will adopt it.

Some may say that it doesn’t matter that these people are a few versions behind and that’s fairly much true.  I am mostly commenting here because these seems like a step in a particular direction, just as splitting the licenses into Community and Enterprise was another step in this direction.  If things continue in this direction, we may one day look back and say "That was where they started to go wrong."  I hope I’m wrong.

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