Drizzle is a newly announced fork of the open source MySQL project. The developers of the project are taking MySQL back to its roots as a light-weight web application database by removing many of the features introduced in MySQL 5. The fifth version of MySQL was in development for years as some users demanded features such as views, stored procedures, transaction handling, clustering and more. The early releases were bulkier and not as stable as the ultra-popular version 4 of MySQL, and now somebody has forked the codebase into a new project to take the database server back to what it was.
For most web application developers, only a basic database system is required. The original popularity of MySQL was because of its simplicity and ease of use. Postgres was always a full-featured open source database server that offered all the enterprise features of competing commercial systems. MySQL was a lighter alternative which was easy to install and learn, but a lot of that simplicity was lost as the development of MySQL progressed towards competing in the enterprise.
Drizzle would seem to have an instant user audience and developer base amongst those longing for the old MySQL. These developers are likely low to medium-end web application developers using a scripting environment and don’t require or don’t need an advanced database system. MySQL was a key part of the default LAMP stack that pioneered simple web application development which went on to open a whole new market. While MySQL 5 can be componentized and customized, developers seeking a smaller and lighter-weight database can revert to Drizzle, at least until the MySQL team see the demand and offer something themselves.