We’re adding plugin support to MySQL 5.1. While reviewing the task description and the patch today, I realized that this must be one of the coolest features of a database server, and noone else to my knowledge did something like that. We of course have had support for user defined functions for ages and other databases have similar functionality, but the thing I was looking at today can let one load and use much much bigger and more useful things.
A storage engine, PAM, fulltext search extensions, a custom query parser – a few of the examples given in the task. Of course for storage engines we were able to add a custom one as early as in 3.22, but to do that now one has to visit a Users Converence and listen to Brian’s talk.
But the main difference is that “plugin” is such a sticky and well-known word that you don’t need to explain the concept any more: anyone who once used WinAmp knows what “plugin” is.