Last week passed the 5th anniversary of the closing of Oracle's acquisition of MySQL. That also means that the 5 year term of the infamous 10 commitments to MySQL users that Oracle made to the EU commission expire.
Since I work for another database technology nowadays, I have made a point of not blogging about MySQL related issues anymore (and mostly do not follow MySQL close enough to say anything wise). But in 2009 I was so closely involved in the EU investigation into the Oracle-Sun merger, that I feel this is a topic I could write a retrospective on. For nostalgic reasons if nothing else... In any case, these commitments have very little practical relevance in 2015 anyway, so anything in this blog post is clearly more historical than about current state of anything in MySQL land.
5 years of MySQL
People often write a blog post when they reach some nice anniversary since they joined MySQL community. Well, for those old enough it usually means when they joined MySQL AB as employee. For me this was January 2008. Because I didn't remember the month correctly, I haven't blogged anything then, but decided to save it for a better opportunity - now.
TL;DR Starting this week I will be working for 10gen, selling MongoDB to the Nordics. This blog post is really long - even then it doesn't contain the most interesting stories, I'm not sure if they can ever be published. Sorry for the length, but remember you don't need to read all at once. This is my last MySQL post so save some of it for cold winter days!
2008 - Sun acquisition
Here are the slides of the talk I just gave at Froscon. (Video should be available soon.)
On Thursday I went to the Harmony conference arranged by Oracle User Group Finland to speak about Galera clustering. (They chose the topic based on my suggestions.) The slides are now available on SlideShare. I'm pretty satisfied with this talk myself, the slides contain the most important steps you need to know to get started, but also the internal architecture of Galera, how it works, and what kind of replication topologies and load balancing you would want to use with it. And benchmarks of course.
The past few years of MySQL conferences...
Every year since Oracle's acquisition of MySQL in 2009, there's been some uncertainty around the annual MySQL conference, which used to be co-organized by MySQL AB (in charge of content) and O'Reilly (conference logistics). As my career unfolded during those years, I've seen relatively close how the conferences of 2010 and 2011 happened. As there's been a lot of re-structuring in the community around various forks and new employers, I've felt that the annual conference was the one thing that kept us together, the one common forum where everyone would meet. For this reason I have been personally very engaged (as have many others) in helping O'Reilly get through the conferences of 2010 and 2011 and I'm very grateful to Tim, Gina and the rest of the O'Reilly team that they have provided us with this forum and gravitation point for the past two years.
During this years conference it was openly speculated that it would be the last O'Reilly MySQL conference. EnterpriseDB being the main sponsor at a MySQL conference... kind of gave you a hint. With Oracle constantly boycotting and refusing to sponsor the conference of its own community, the business justification for O'Reilly to keep going just wasn't there anymore.
So once again we were facing uncertainty of what to do next year.
When we have been discussing alternatives for the next MySQL conference, I always maintained there are 3 things from which people recognize the MySQL conference: time, location and name. So I was encouraging people to come up with solutions that would maintain those 3 variables as constant as possible.
In November a Mark Schonewille posted a blog on when you can't and cannot use the GPL version of MySQL together with your closed source application. The post was a result of actually talking to an Oracle lawyer which makes it valuable information. Unfortunately Mark's blog is now offline (it seems he didn't renew his domain registration?)
This is just a repost of the disappeared blog post. (The small print allows me to copy it verbatim.) There is no commentary from myself, except that what Mark wrote is the same I also heard Oracle say a year ago. That Oracle is being consistent on this point is very welcome and deserves to be kept available online.
Update 2011-06-23: Mark comments that his blog is still online, but at a new address: http://qery.us/tl
One of many things I really enjoyed working as a Sales Engineer back at MySQL Ab and Sun was that I was paid full time to encourage companies to use open source for their database layer. While Linux has already become the norm for the operating system on servers, and open source alternatives exist for app servers, it wasn't until a few years ago we really started seeing major traction of that in the database layer. And I was happy to be a small part of it!
I'm not really a salesy person. I mean I'm good at evangelizing something I believe in, addressing customer business needs and such. But you couldn't get me to lift a finger just to meet a quota, if I didn't really believe in the product. Which is what good sales guys can do. (Also known as "selling what you have in the truck".)
But thinking back at my time selling MySQL, I felt it was a great privilege to be paid a salary to travel to companies around Europe and spend a day with them explaining how and why to migrate from a proprietary database they had standardized on, to MySQL. And btw, we always met our quota too.
Glyn Moody has an interesting piece on Why Patents are Like Black Holes where he looks at the situation when a large patent holder goes bankrupt - or is about to. His point is that even if a company otherwise can go out of business cleanly, the patents often remain as a piece of "IPR" that can come back and haunt us like a zombie.
Also Matt Asay recently weighed in on the subject: