MariaDB And Trademark

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.

Rename Maria Contest Winner!

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 …


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.

Rename Maria Survey Complete

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!

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

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.

Rename The Maria Engine Contest (Win Hardware!)

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

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

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!


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.”