Twitter has announced the release of its code improvement work on MySQL back to the open source community. On the Twitter Engineering blog, the company reaffirmed its belief in “sharing knowledge and that open source software facilitates innovation”.
Because Twitter receives a ridiculous amount of daily traffic (over 200 million tweets per day), the social media website pushes MySQL well beyond what would be considered acceptable limits for any database server. What makes MySQL appealing to Twitter is that the company can modify the source code to coincide with whatever needs the website has.
Over the years, Twitter has done just that, and the company has now decided to open up that custom work to the wider community and has released it under a BSD-style license on GitHub. The project carries the description “MySQL fork maintained and used at Twitter” and is something that Twitter will likely continue to maintain throughout the life of its website, or as long as it continues to use MySQL.
Having said that, the project also carries a disclaimer stating that it is “not intended to be used directly outside of Twitter”, but is rather for the purpose of sharing code and information. In other words, the code itself may not work correctly on other sites, but sites that have traffic volume issues like Twitter may benefit from the shared information and even mimic Twitter’s approach.
The ultimate goal is to improve MySQL as a database server that millions of sites use, and that can now happen more easily as Twitter shares code with upstream and downstream vendors.