New MariaDB CEO Michael Howard described Microsoft's decision to bring SQL Server database product to the open-source Linux operating systems as a "sad reflection of where Microsoft is" as the big vendor gives up its proprietary distribution model and has to fight in the open source market.
Not being locked into a single distribution model, such as Windows, is a key selling point for the open source MariaDB solution, according to Howard. He says: "SQL Server and all proprietary fixtures will never have the ubiquitous distribution we have. Will never have the LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP) stack we have. The distribution they had through Windows they will never have again with database."
In other words, Howard believes the genie is out of the lamp for Microsoft now and the market will decide which database product they want to use now that the distribution to various operating systems is ubiquitous.
Howard says MariaDB has the advantage of being on the crest of a wave that is seeing more and more companies move to open source solutions. "The ultimate decision is around being locked into a proprietary infrastructure and most organisations are moving to open source, and that is strategic because of the [security] threats and [business] opportunities we all have."
Relying on the big vendors to respond to the fast-moving "algorithmic economy" just isn't in the best interest of businesses according to Howard. "We can't just rely on a single set of product managers or engineers in a single company that doesn't have perspective  so the special part about MariaDB and the open source mandate is we are inclusive of our own ideas and communities.
"Not to denigrate or criticise or deposition all the features they have, they are all great databases, but that's not what the world is looking for. It wants relevant features and innovation that reflects the opportunities and threats we are dealing with."
"A company of a given size will not be able to rely on a Satya [Nardella] or Larry [Ellison] to make decisions on their behalf. Look at Oracle and Larry missed the boat completely on cloud."
MariaDB may be growing fast, reaching twelve million users this year according to Howard, but they are still some way off the big three of Microsoft, Oracle and MySQL in terms of actual market share. Gartner places MariaDB as the best placed open source challenger to Oracle and Microsoft in its Magic Quadrant for operational database management systems.
In terms of actual market share Howard said: "The growth of MariaDB over last few years has seen us go from around 100,000 to twelve million, and that's in the last couple of years. We are no doubt the fastest growing database in the industry."
Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.