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Google offers its own changes to MySQL

Google offers its own MySQL modifications for public use and hopes the open-source database project will adopt them.

Google long has been known to be a user of the open-source MySQL database software, but the search powerhouse this week published its own changes to the project.

"We think MySQL is a fantastic data storage solution, and as our projects push the requirements for the database in certain areas, we've made changes to enhance MySQL itself, mainly in the areas of high availability and manageability," Google software engineer Mark Callaghan said on the company's blog on Monday.

High availability refers to the idea of keeping computing services working even if the server they're running on fails. Switching a service to a backup machine is called failover, and although the technology is decades old, it's difficult to implement.

The changes haven't been accepted into the mainstream MySQL project, but Google would like them to be, Callaghan said.

"We would love for the some of these changes to be merged with the official MySQL release, but until then we felt strongly that anyone should have access to them, thus we have released the changes with a GPL () license for the MySQL community to use and review," he said.

MySQL previously wasn't eager to accept outside contributions, but the company now is trying to encourage more outside participation, Chief Executive Marten Mickos said in an interview Tuesday.

The GPL permits anyone to see, modify and distribute the underlying source code of a software project. Changes must be published as soon as they're distributed, but they need not be if they're just used internally by a programmer, company or organization.