Rename The Maria Engine Contest (Win Hardware!)

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Since we started work on MariaDB, the drop in replacement for MySQL, there has been a LOT of confusion about MariaDB the database versus Maria the storage engine.

Thus, Monty Program is running a “Rename Maria” contest. Click that shiny, beckoning link for more information.

As an incentive to click that link, the prize is a spiffy Meerkat NetTop computer from our friends at System76!

The contest runs through May 31, so jump-start that clever brain of yours and send in your suggestions!

Monty Program Update

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Here’s a somewhat shorter post than the last just to give an update on what’s been happening at Monty Program.

As I said in a previous post, we had a company meeting in Reykjavik in late February. Fortunately, geological hiccups only started after we left.

About a month later the entire company was reunited at the O’Reilly MySQL Conference. Monty Program was a platinum sponsor of the event, as we stepped forward to ensure the conference happened when it seemed likely that Sun/Oracle would not be doing so. To their credit, Oracle came through in the end, and sponsored the conference.

As usual, the annual O’Reilly MySQL conference was a whirlwind of activity. Monty Program employees (myself included) were well represented on the speaker’s list. Monty himself gave an opening keynote one day. O’Reilly has posted an assortment of videos on YouTube, and if you couldn’t attend (or even if you did) they are worth a look.

We had a booth in the Expo Hall, and the turn-out was great. A LOT of people stopped by to chat, to offer encouragement, and to grab some free t-shirts and stickers. Thanks to our friends at System76 we were able to hold a raffle for a slick Meerkat NetTop computer. The System76ers are old friends from my Canonical days, and they have been a great supporter of the MariaDB community and Monty Program. Of course, all System76 machines run Linux, and in a supremely ironic twist the raffle winner was Chad Mumford, a Development Manager at Microsoft! I really hope Chad enjoys the Freedom (note caps) his new NetTop offers. ;)

Monty will be in the US again at the beginning of June to speak at Open Source Bridge in Portland, OR; an event we are again proud to sponsor this year.

Monty, Colin Charles, and I will be at OSCon in mid-July, as well as the Baconized Community Leadership Summit, which we are also sponsoring. Although I’ll miss Open Source Bridge this year (conflicts with my birthday), there’s something that keeps calling me back to PDX.

Monty Program will also be represented at the Linux Foudation’s second annual LinuxCon North America.

I will be at LinuxCon 2010

Monty will again be speaking at this event. We hope to have a MariaDB booth (not a Monty Program coporate thing, but a community booth) so if you plan on attending LinuxCon and want to help out in the booth, let us know! Any and all MariaDB community members are welcome to staff the booth.

Are you going to Open Source Bridge, the Community Leadership Summit, OSCon or LinuxCon? Don’t be shy!

MariaDB Update

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In February of this year the first -STABLE release of MariaDB was pushed out the door! Based on MySQL 5.1, MariaDB 5.1.42 has seen incremental point releases since the initial drop. Currently MariaDB 5.1.44b is our -STABLE release, and is available from the Monty Program website as well as all our mirrors. Debian and RedHat packages are available for most popular architectures.

This initial release incorporates a lot of community patches, bugfixes, new storage engine options and some new features. With MariaDB 5.1.4x you now have XtraDB, PBXT and FederatedX as optional storage engines. There are extended statistics for slow query logs. We have optimized table elimination, a pool of threads feature and enhancement, and much more. For a complete breakdown on what’s new, be sure to read the release notes. The MariaDB Manual should also be required reading. Also, be sure to read the log of contributions to see where from where community contributions were sourced.

We’re also at work on MariaDB 5.2 and 5.3. Both of these future milestone releases have open branches in Launchpad. MariaDB 5.2 is already in beta, and, like 5.1, downloads are available and there are Release Notes.

With -STABLE releases comes interest from distros. Thanks to Brian Evans’ work, there are now official official Gentoo ebuilds for MariaDB. Thanks Brian! Community member Michal Hrušecký did the work getting the MariaDB source into the openSuSE build service, and has added the resulting packages to the unstable DB repos.

As a Debian(+derivative) user, let me point out that “needs packaging” bugs have been filed for both Debian and Ubuntu. Our buildbot system creates packages, so if you’d like to do package review and sponsorship for Debian, Ubuntu, Fedora, or any other distro, let us know!

In addition to inclusion in distros, community member Mark has made VM images available. Mark also built the binary packages for Solaris/SPARC and Debian/SPARC. Awesome.

The MariaDB community rocks. Thanks to everyone that contributed their time and effort!

One easy way to contribute is to run a buildbot instance for us. My Monty Program colleague Kristian Nielsen has created a fully-automated buildbot system that churns out binaries and packages from source. The work he has done is nothing short of inspirational. And the good news is that it’s all open for your project’s use. Of course, if you have exotic hardware and want MariaDB on it, run a buildbot instance for us so that everyone benefits. We’re also in need of source and binaries ready for *BSD ports and package trees. Step up!

Monty Program developers and the MariaDB community are rocking some great code, and we’ve got stuff out the door. What we need is more volunteers to ensure we make it into distro repos, ports and package trees, and that we have buildable source on every OS and platform imagineable.

Get involved!

Incoming!

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Wow, it’s May! Time has flown.

It has been a while since I gave an update on MariaDB progress and what we’re doing at Monty Program, and so there’s a lot to catch up on!

In February the employees of Monty Program had a company meeting in Reykjavik. This was prior to the eruption of Eyjafjallajokull, so if you were affected by the eruption, I guess you can blame us. :)

In April we attended the O’Reilly MySQL Conference, where many employees gave talks and others staffed our booth in the Expo Hall.

At the end of April my wife and I took a (well-deserved) 10 day vacation in the Dominican Republic. It was a much needed battery recharge.

I mention these events because I was responsible for planning them in the first two cases, and offline for the third. Meeting and conference planning is really time consuming, so I offer this as a reason (or perhaps an excuse) as to why I have not been a more active blogger.

That changes now. I’ll be making a series of posts designed to bring you up-to-date on what’s happening with MariaDB and Monty Program. To readers of the Planets to which I am syndicated (GNOME, Ubuntu, MySQL, etc) I apologize in advance if you considering my multiple posts “spammy.”

RIP Ed Roberts

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Ed Roberts, one of the founders of MITS and a pioneer of the personal computer revolution, died yesterday.

I remember seeing the Altair 8800 on the cover of Popular Electronics as a kid, and being amazed that a computer could be so small. It seemed like Star Trek was coming to my living room. I was hooked and my journey had begun.

Being in Albuquerque makes this even more poignant. This is where it all began, and now part of it just ended. Thanks for the push, Ed. It’s been a great ride thus far!

Google’s “New Approach To China”

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This announcement is a big one. Wow.

Happy Holidays From Monty Program

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Santa baby, an RC release under the tree, for me
I’ve been an awful good boy
Santa baby, and hurry down the chimney tonight

Santa honey, a pro competition ruling too, hey EU
I’ll wait up for you dear
Santa baby, and hurry down the chimney tonight

Think of all the fun I’ve missed
Think of all the 5.0 users gettin’ pissed
Next year I could be oh so good
If you’d check off my Christmas list
Boo doo bee doo

Santa honey, I wanna break and really this posting’s
A mistake
I’ve been an angel all year
Santa baby, and hurry down the chimney tonight

Santa cutie, there’s one thing I really do need, some speed
In bzr branch checkouts
Santa cutie, and hurry down the chimney tonight

Santa baby, I’m filling my stocking with a commit for SELECTs
Sign your ‘X’ on the line
Santa baby, and hurry down the chimney tonight

Come and trim my source code tree
With some optimizations written just for me
I really do believe in you
Let’s see if you believe in me
Boo doo bee doo

Santa baby, forgot to mention one little thing, packaging
I don’t mean GZips
Santa baby, and hurry down the chimney tonight

Hurry down the chimney tonight
Hurry down the chimney tonight

(Apologies to Eartha Kitt.)

Save MySQL: Getting Some Facts Straight

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I’d like to clear up some misconceptions that have appeared in comments on various blogs, social bookmarking, and other fora in response to Monty’s recent call for action. Many of these have been repeated ad infinitum and it’s time to set the record straight.

1). Monty sold MySQL to Sun.

Monty founded MySQL Ab along with David Axmark. True. He and David then decided they’d like to pay their bills, and so to generate revenue, they decided to seek outside investors. As neither of them is highly experienced with such matters, they hired Mårten Mickos, who became CEO of MySQL Ab. At that point, Monty’s role in day-to-day business decision making dropped to almost zero. If any one person “sold MySQL to Sun,” it was Mårten.

This is not to say Mårten acted against Monty’s express wishes. Monty had great hopes for Sun’s stewardship of MySQL, and only became disillusioned after some time actually working for Sun. Mårten did the job Monty and David hired him to do, and in no way should my sentiments be construed as “blaming” Mårten. But saying it was Monty’s decision to sell to Sun is patently wrong. It was Mårten’s decision in concert with the outside investors he had courted.

2). Monty should live with the consequences of the sale.

Let’s use an analogy here.

Let’s say that Red Hat‘s investors and stockholders approve a deal to sell Red Hat to Google. (And just for fun, let’s assume one of the results is rebranding Red Hat Enterprise Linux as Red Goo. It’s my analogy.)

I think Mark Ewing and Bob Young would probably be satisfied with that decision, especially if it paid them well. This was the case with Monty and the sale of MySQL Ab to Sun.

Now let’s say that after a few years, Google is acquired by Microsoft.

Would Mark and Bob be pleased about the possible prospects for Red Goo? Would you tell them, “This is what happens when you sell a company?” Or would you, quite rightly, start being concerned about the future of one of the most important Linux distributions? And would you feel that Mark and Bob had reason to voice their concerns and try to do the best they could to serve their community of users, developers, and customers?

Even if you thought Microsoft had the best intentions for Red Goo, it doesn’t mean Mark and Bob have to agree with you. Even if you believe that Oracle has the best intentions for MySQL, that doesn’t mean Monty has to agree with you.

3). Monty got PAID! He’s rich, man! He sold MySQL Ab for a BILLION!

Monty has more money than me. He probably has more money than you. But remember, MySQL had investors. MySQL Ab had Mårten. To think Monty received US$1Bn is foolish. To think he received even a tenth of that is a mistake.

Yes, Monty got a payday. But it wasn’t what a lot of people think it was.

4. Monty sold his business, and now he just wants to get it all back for free!

Part one? True. Part two? Not so much.

Monty’s business was sold. He has now started a new business (Monty Program) and employs a lot of the former MySQL coders, as well as strange Free Software wonks (that’s me, for those of you keeping score at home). We all work on MariaDB, a fork of MySQL that does not have a pay-for “Enterprise Edition” and that actively seeks great contributions from the wider open source community.

Let’s say that Oracle buys Sun, and completely trashes MySQL. Who benefits?

Monty Program.

MariaDB will immediately become the de facto replacement in most Linux distros and in the minds of most people.

Let’s say Oracle has to sell the MySQL unit as part of the remedy for the EC’s concerns. Monty can’t buy it. As I said, he’s got money, but not that kind of money. And who would get hurt if Oracle sells it or does a great job stewarding the project in the future?

Monty Program.

Now, I like getting a paycheck. I want Monty Program to succeed so that my wife and I aren’t eating out of cat food tins at the bus station. But I also like principled people that care, really care, about the projects they love. And that’s why Monty is potentially hurting our business prospects by raising his concerns with the European Commission. He cares about the code he has worked on for 27 years. He cares about the companies that have built a business on that code. And he cares about the users of that code; be they Fortune 50 companies or your teenage brother running WordPress.

Part of me wants to slap Monty. I want our company to become the standard. Now.

Part of me wants to kiss Monty. He’s the kind of dedicated and thoughtful steward any project deserves.

Paul McCullagh discussed this thoughtfully on his blog this week.

5. Anyone can fork. You did. What’s the big deal?

Two words. “Embedded solutions.”

A lot of companies have embedded MySQL into products they sell. They’re not interested in releasing their entire software stack under the GPL. They buy licenses from Sun (and formerly from MySQL Ab) to allow them to embed MySQL into their products and not have to release all their source.

MariaDB, or any other fork, will never be able to offer this. Ever. We forked the GPL version, and so will anyone else. Your code depends on our code and you’re selling it to any interested party? You have to GPL every bit of code you sell.

I said it in my last post, and I’ll say it again. Forking saves the code. It does not save the business.

And as I also said before, and will reiterate, if Oracle is so certain that forks are the answer, why didn’t they just do that months ago and save themselves the headache? They could have forked MySQL, taken MySQL off the table, and avoided this whole EC inquiry. They didn’t. Think about that.

6). Just use Postgres.

Sure. Go tell Google that. Or Amazon. Or eBay. Or Craigslist. Or any ISP depending on cPanel to ease customer usage of internals.

Postgres is a great project. It delivers a a fantastic database server. I have a lot of people in the Postgres community I consider friends. So does Monty. And you know what, those people would be among the first to tell you that migrating to or from one database to another is not an easy task for large deployments with thousands of lines of customized code. They’d also tell you that Postgres is superior to MySQL for some things, and MySQL is superior to Postgres for others.

“Just switch to Postgres,” is not a solution for many people, primarily businesses that have built their products on top of MySQL.

Now, can we move beyond these issues to the larger issue at hand? If you think Oracle’s proposed acquisition of MySQL is probably going to turn out badly for the Free Software and open source communities, read Monty’s blog post and act. If you think it’s a tempest in a teacup, I respect your right to your opinion. Please respect Monty’s right, and if you wish to engage people on the subject, keep the preceding points in mind.

MySQL Needs Your Help, Now!

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My boss Monty has issued a call to action. It looks like the European Commission is set to rule on the Sun/Oracle merger, and Oracle has used its clout with its customers to generate a mass-mail campaign. So now it’s time for the Free Software community to do the same.

First, let me again say that I am employed by Monty Program, and so this request is not coming from a wholly disinterested party.

Second, the idea that Oracle should not acquire MySQL without limitations or conditions has been championed by such luminaries as Richard Stallman. While Eben Moglen wrote a missive on behalf of Oracle, his idea that any fork using GPL code has the exact same business opportunities Oracle has is, plainly, absurd. It shows a deep misunderstanding of how MySQL’s dual licensing has worked to build a viable business from Free Software. In short, Stallman “gets it,” Moglen does not.

Third, if Oracle believes the “anyone can fork it” argument, why did they not drop this whole matter months ago, saving themselves millions in revenue, and just fork it themselves? ZDnet published an article a month ago saying, “The longer this takes, the more money Sun is going to lose,” Ellison said at the time, insisting he wouldn’t spin off MySQL. Do I believe Larry Ellison is an astute businessman? You bet I do. So the fact he isn’t prepared to believe his own company’s “anyone can fork it!” mantra tells me something. It should tell you something, too.

Forking code saves the code. It does not save the business. Full stop.

Finally, read Monty’s post and act! Thanks!

Life Without Walls

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About a year ago Microsoft started an ad campaign with the tagline “Life without walls.”

A little help here, Microsoft? In a “life without walls” where exactly does one install Windows?

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