Is CouchDB in Trouble?


From the ‘Not so relaxing news’ files:

An interesting mailing list posting caught my eye the other day titled, 

EOL for couchdb.

At first I did a double-take, couchDB is hitting end-of-life? How could that be?

As it turns out it is the CouchDB support that Ubuntu has that is going EOL and that’s very bad news for CouchDB in my opinion.

Long story short is that Ubuntu – with UbuntuOne and other efforts – is the reason that I first ever even heard of the CouchDB and now Ubuntu is giving up on it.

“For the last three years we have worked with the company behind CouchDB to make it scale in the particular ways we need it to scale in our server environment,” Ubuntu developer John Rowland Lenton wrote in a mailing list post. “Our situation is rather unique, and we were unable to resolve some of the issues we came across. We were thus unable to make CouchDB scale up to the millions of users and databases we have in our datacentres, and furthermore we were unable to make it scale down to be a reasonable load on small client machines.”

So to recap, CouchDB doesn’t scale enough and it’s also too big for smaller devices. CouchBase, one of the leading commercial sponsors behind CouchDB should be plenty worried.

To be fair, Ubuntu leaving an upstream project for their own needs is nothing new. You need to look no further than Mark Shuttleworth’s split from GNOME 3 with the Unity interface. The difference this time around though, is it’s not just the community that Ubuntu is splitting from, but the commercial relationship too. It’s one thing to have dis-agreements within an open source community, it’s another not to be able to get a commercial vendor to help tailor a solution that will work.

CouchDB is of course more widely used that just Ubuntu.  However, I would suspect that whatever Ubuntu does come up with as a solution for the Ubuntu 12.04 release will become a serious and significant competitor for CouchDB.

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