MySQL Open Source Database Ranks Higher than Commercial Versions

12/22/2003 - Reasoning, the leading provider of automated software inspection (ASI) services, announced the results of an independent study it conducted of MySQL — the leading Open Source database. Based on an October poll that Reasoning conducted within the development community, the company focused its analysis on the 4.0.16 production version of MySQL. The announcement is the latest in an ongoing series of published comparisons of Open Source software to equivalent commercial software applications. The inspection results and a white paper of the study can be obtained free-of-charge by visiting

MySQL Code Comparison Findings
Reasoning’s inspection study shows that the code quality of MySQL was six times better than that of comparable proprietary code. A key quality indicator is defect density, which is defined as the number of defects found per thousand lines of source code. In its latest study, Reasoning found 21 software defects in 236,000 lines of MySQL source code. The defect density of the MySQL code was 0.09 defects per thousand lines of source code. Using a benchmark that covered over 200 recent projects totaling 35 million lines of commercial code, Reasoning found that the commercial average defect density of these projects came to 0.57 defects per thousand lines of source code.

"Reasoning’s conclusion that the MySQL database software quality is significantly higher than proprietary code validates the Open Source development method, in which large communities of programmers 'battle test' the software. This process results in extremely reliable code," stated David Axmark, MySQL Co-founder and Vice President. "We appreciate the proactive effort that Reasoning undertook with its study to bring these findings to our attention. Their report enabled us to quickly correct and eliminate the few defects that were found, which is reflected in the next version of MySQL that will be released this week."

“Many people believe that the Open Source model enables development teams to focus on quality versus adding features and meeting deadlines – and that this can lead to better quality code over time. We see Reasoning’s automated inspection services as an option that provides the best of both worlds to our commercial customers. It enables developers to continue building new features within their deadlines, while still achieving the quality benefits of peer reviews and code inspections,” explained Thomas Fry, Reasoning’s Director of Marketing.

Peer Review Leads to Better Software Reliability
Studies have long shown that source code inspection is the most effective technique for improving software quality. The Open Source model encourages several activities that are not common in the development of commercial code, including:

For these reasons, Open Source advocates claim that the Open Source model produces better quality software than commercial software development.

As an independent automated software inspection provider, Reasoning is in a unique position to validate and compare the software quality of many different projects from different organizations and industries. Reasoning’s automated inspection findings provide valuable insight to the development community, so it can continue enhancing the security, robustness and quality of its software. Reasoning’s automated code inspection results are objective and comparable across software applications, development methodologies, and coding styles, which has enabled Reasoning to build the world’s largest database of code quality metrics.

Software Inspections Yield Clear Business Advantages
According to Gartner, a software defect left unfixed until late in the development cycle costs 80 to 1,000 times more to fix than it would if it was dealt with earlier. By incorporating ASI early and at critical intervals in the software development cycle, companies can significantly cut the cost of finding defects, reduce downtime, and improve overall software quality. While ASI is not a replacement for ongoing QA, it can significantly reduce the time and expense invested in testing and improving overall quality. Developers benefit, too, as they can focus their skills on programming rather than debugging.

About Reasoning
Reasoning Inc. is the leading provider of automated software inspection services that help development organizations reduce the time and cost involved in finding software defects. The company's business is focused on organizations that develop Java, C, and C++ applications. Reasoning is headquartered in Mountain View, CA. Contact Reasoning at 650.316.4400 or at

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