I strongly suspect that this only happened because of the leak and that all the discussions about "HARRY_READ_ME" were influential in this decision. It will be very interesting to observe just how the process will develop and whether they take on board the suggestions of many of us who've looked at the code about the choice of a database or of language use.
The really good news is that we ought to be able to build some kind of third party hooks onto the database so as to identify the problem stations and so on. The one interesting thing that I note is that we are not, as far as I can tell, seeing a release of the sea data - only the land data. I'm going to email them to verify whether this is the case or not because it would seem to be quite important regarding the global temperature.