MariaDB Draft Trademark Policy Available

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A couple of weeks ago I mentioned in a post that Monty Program was working on a trademark policy for MariaDB, and we hoped to have something available for community review in early 2011.

Well, that draft is ready now. The draft is available in the MariaDB knowledgebase, and we are soliciting public feedback through January 2. During the first week of January any approved edits will be made to make a final version, and that final policy mirrored on mariadb.org and montyprogram.com.

Hopefully the intent of allowing the unhindered development of cool stuff related to MariaDB while protecting the value of the primary brand itself is made clear. Let us know what you think in comments to the KB entry. If you suggest edits, please be sure your reasoning is expressed plainly. Of course, glaring oversights or errors should be brought to our attention regardless of the open commenting deadline. But please make a little time in the next 2 weeks to give us some input.

Thanks!

MariaDB 5.1.53 And 5.2.4 Released

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This past Monday updates in both the 5.1 and 5.2 series of MariaDB were released. It’s a pretty big deal, as some issues have been solved that affect a large number of users. You should read the release notes for MariaDB 5.1.53 and for MariaDB 5.2.4 as well as the release announcement. The annoucement contains download links from worldwide mirrors.

Speaking of downloads, the 5.2 series has seen a remarkable increase in download totals. Several orders of magnitude, in fact. That’s usually a pretty good sign, so I’ll take it as such. It hopefully means more people are using MariaDB, and when talking about such matters with colleague Colin, he decided to get nosy with users. Satisfy Colin’s morbid curiosity, would you? Alright, mine too.

If you want to write an epic poem about your everlasting love for MariaDB, enduring hatred of it, or anything in between, you could sing it to Colin next week if you’re going to FOSS.in. Be sure to find Colin if you’re a MariaDB, MySQL, or general DB wonk.

Enjoy the new releases!

MariaDB And Trademark

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I’d like to wish Henrik Ingo well now that he has publicly announced his resignation from Monty Program. Henrik, I especially wish you all the best with the new member of your family.

I know you put a lot of effort into your presentation to the Monty Program board regarding transfer of trademark ownership, and you know (and I do not mind saying externally) that I supported transfer to a non-profit designed for such purposes. Our informal, non-inclusive vote in Istanbul aside, I think the company as a whole should put a lot of thought into such matters. I would always hope the board would do the same.

And it is my understanding that this is what is happening. Not that the board made a final decision to maintain trademark ownership, but that they decided more research and discussion are needed. And despite my knee-jerk reaction to go the Debian trademark route, I came to Monty Program from Canonical. Wiser legal and business minds have decided to retain the Ubuntu trademark for Canonical. Just as Red Hat has retained the Fedora trademark. So despite my inclinations I have to ask why others have chosen differently.

Trademark has value, and not just to investors. Spoofy domains exist for a reason. And I have to admit to trusting Canonical and Red Hat to protect their marks better than, again, Debian (SPI owns but does not manage).

This leads to two questions. First, who actually manages trademark issues? If organizations own but do not manage, in practicality if Monty Program transferred ownership of the MariaDB trademark, Monty Program would still be in the position of managing it. I have doubts about community-only enforcement of trademark issues (Debian people, you there?). So either way, people have to have faith in Monty Program handling their trademark management sanely. It’s not about ownership, it’s about management. Which leads to question two.

What is sane trademark management? Trusting a company to protect a mark is useless if you don’t trust the company. How far is too far, and who do you trust? Canonical and Red Hat both have clearly stated guidelines vis-a-vis use of their respective marks. Monty Program does not. So regardless of who actually owns the MariaDB trademark, MariaDB needs a trademark policy so that those who wish to use the trademark understand how the mark is managed.

Personally I think Canonical and Red Hat enforce their trademarks sanely. There does not seem to be much objection to the Ubuntu and Fedora trademark guidelines from the community at large. If MySQL made mistakes with regard to their trademark policy and management of it, I don’t think it’s fair to assume that Monty Program will necessarily repeat those same mistakes.

Of course, everyone has a different definition of “sane.” Monty Program employees, the company board, and the community have to decide what is sane for themselves. So I find myself in agreement with the board. We probably need more time to actually draft a trademark policy, and to discuss the real benefits and possible issues of any potential transfer. I’m beginning to think “the other guy does it,” or (“didn’t do it”) isn’t enough.

Fortunately, the need for a trademark policy has been known for some time. We are looking at various other projects’ policies, and will probably borrow liberally from our Free/open source peers. It is my hope that a draft trademark policy will be made available for community comment early in 2011, after employees have a chance to help create that initial draft. Colin and I have been driving most of this, and unless I have misunderstood some of the salient points, we have been told to create a draft that assures:

1). The MariaDB (and other Monty Program managed marks) always entertain fair use gracefully.

2). The MariaDB trademark is made available to users, hackers, companies and products as long as the usage doesn’t conflict with other usage, and the trademark licensor keeps a level of quality and follows well established open source conduct.

3). The marks will always be available, via a “public promise” approach to ownership transfer (should ownership not have been transferred from Monty Program previously). Failure of the company, or failure of the company to deliver, ends exclusive mark ownership.

4). Everyone understands what “fair use,” “made available,” “beneficial ways,” and “public promise” mean above, and to where mark ownership will revert. We have yet to really define what will trigger the switch. That will be presented in draft form, also, I am sure.

MariaDB will only survive if people hack it and use it, and are able to say they hack it and use it. We want this. Our trademark policy will reflect it, and assure that Monty Program can’t run off with the mark, or let it wither and die. But training, professional certifications, hardware certifications? These require trademark management. It’s probably a primary factor in the lack of official Debian certs. And no offense meant to you Debian, trademark management isn’t something I want to do, either. Good management starts with a sane policy. And we will have a policy soon.

I don’t think MariaDB and/or Monty Program are that far off-course. And I’m too involved in making MariaDB succeed to quit now.

Ian Clatworthy Howl-a-thon

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I was saddened to hear news today of the passing of Ian Clatworthy. Although I did not know Ian well, he was a great co-worker during my time at Canonical. Ian was fun, passionate, easygoing, affable and tolerant. He was also a great coder, and always ready to dive into bzr source to scratch user itches.

We all need to process news like this in our own ways, and sometimes just a good emotional release is in order. In all seriousness, today I remarked in #bzr

[mneptok] TODO: tonight when the moon is high in the sky, go and let loose a prolonged howl. think of igc.

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that I got a few “+1″ sentiments. And that got me thinking …

Please do step outside in the darkness and give a howl at the moon for Ian. Especially if you’re an Ubuntu member with a blog syndicated to Planet Ubuntu. Then, write a blog post with just “Ian Howl +1!” as the content. Hopefully, together we can get Planet Ubuntu showing nothing but oddball Free Software people howling at the moon in tribute to a fallen comrade.

I didn’t know Ian well enough to say, “Ian would have wanted this,” but I did know him well enough to know he’d get a mighty big grin out of the idea.

So, without further ado …

Ian Howl +1!

Rename Maria Contest Winner!

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After two months of submissions, Monty Program employee review, community voting and Monty’s final decision, we are happy to announce that the Maria storage engine will henceforth be known as …

Aria!

Congratulations to Chris Tooley who suggested the name. Chris said about Aria in his submission, “Maria without the ‘M’, plus aria is a pleasant musical term.” Chris is now the proud new owner of a System 76 Meerkat net-top computer. Thanks to our good friends at System76 for providing this nifty prize.

Hopefully, in time, “Aria” will also be a pleasing database engine term. And now we will not have the confusion between MariaDB and Maria.

OSCon And The CLS

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Later today I head off to PDX to attend OSCon and the Community Leadership Summit. Will you be there? If so, and you’re a GNOMEist, Ubuntu user or especially if you’re involved with MySQL or MariaDB, find me!

If you’re at OSCon and have any interest in databases, be sure to attend the MariaDB Bof. Yes, yes … we’ll have black vodka.

Rename Maria Survey Complete

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We have now closed the online survey for the Rename Maria contest. Thanks to everyone that participated, the voting exceeded our expectations!

We will now present the top five candidates to Monty for his final vote, and we’ll announce the winner on Monday, July 19, coinciding with the first day of OSCon.

Stay tuned to find out the new name of the Maria storage engine, and who won the Meerkat net-top!

Rename Maria Contest – Phase 3 – Take The Survey!

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Just over a month ago Monty Program announced a contest to rename the Maria storage engine. We had a LOT of submissions, probably due in part to the fact the winner of the contest gets a shiny new Meerkat net-top computer from System76.

Phase 1 was getting the community to give us submissions. During Phase 2, the submissions were collected and voted upon by the Monty Program employees. This reduced the hundreds of submissions to a manageable fifteen choices. Phase 3 is now upon us, where we ask the community to go and choose their favorite ideas from the fifteen semi-finalists. The top five results will then be submitted to Monty for a final vote during the fourth and final phase.

You can click here to take survey. The survey will be closed at 23:59 UTC this coming Friday, July 9. We plan to announce the winner on the first day of O’Reilly’s OSCon event on July 19.

So, what are you waiting for? Go vote for a new name!

Community Leadership Summit 2010

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The Community Leadership Summit 2010 is July 17 and 18, just before OSCon. Monty Program is proud to again sponsor this important event, and I’ll be there along with Monty and Colin Charles.

It was a great event last year, and there’s no reason to believe this year will be any different. It’s free to attend, so if you’re going to OSCon, live in PDX, or are involved with building a community you have no excuse for not being there.

Well, you’ll have to listen to Jono, so I guess there is a price to pay. But it’s nothing years of therapy and a trans-orbital lobotomy can’t fix …

I tease. I tease because I love.

DebConf 10

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I’ll be going to DebConf 10 in New York City in early August! I’d love to hear from SQL/NoSQL users, package maintainers, developers, etc that also plan to attend. Black vodka BOF, anyone?

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