MySQL hopes the security features will win it financial, government and retail customers, some of whom add the capabilities themselves. "If we get the door slammed in our face in an account, this is one of the reasons it happens," Schumacher said.
In the nearer term, MySQL 5.1 is scheduled for general availability in the first quarter next year. Advances include table and index partitioning, which should boost data warehousing performance, and the option of row-based replication, which lets companies create more exact back-up replicas.
The big change in 6.0 will be the availability of MySQL's storage engine, Falcon. The most popular storage engine for MySQL has historically been InnoDB, but two years ago Oracle acquired InnoDB's developer, Innobase. Oracle continued to license the software to MySQL, but MySQL wanted an alternative.
Falcon will do crash recovery and roll-back operations faster than InnoDB because they are done from main memory, Schumacher said, but some InnoDB features, like foreign key support and full-text indexing, won't be supported until MySQL 6.1.
6.1 is due to go into beta in mid-2008 and start to ship widely in 2009. Improvements include better prepared statements and server-side cursors, Schumacher said.
Despite all the buzz a few years ago about native XML (Extensible Markup Language) support, Axmark said he's still waiting for a clear signal about what customers want. Until then it's not a big priority for MySQL, although there are some XML capabilities in 5.1, he said.