Thursday, 15 December 2005

Florian accepts the award

By now, Florian has accepted the EV50 "European Campaigner of the Year" award. In his Slashdot journal, he comments on why he didn't first accept it:



If Microsoft sponsors a series of political awards and two of the ten prizes go to vocal opponents of software patents, then one would usually think that it's an amazingly positive outcome. That's just what happened with this year's edition of the EV50 Europeans of the Year. Michel Rocard, one of our key allies among the members of the European Parliament (MEPs), became MEP of the Year. I received the Campaigner of the Year award for my NoSoftwarePatents.com campaign.

However, what the organizers proclaimed as the result of the poll is extremely difficult to comprehend.

There are strong indications that our audience represented a solid majority of all people who participated in that EV50 poll.



Florian goes on to describe various Internet campaigns. The common denominator of these campaigns was to recommended people to make their opinion against Software Patents heard through voting for Florian. Over 100.000 emails were sent. Many prominent websites, including Slashdot, promoted Florian.



In theory, it's still possible that our supporters didn't represent a majority of the electorate.

It beats me how I could have won over Bono, the frontman of U2, in a category of six candidates, while allegedly having lost to Luxembourg's prime minister Jean-Claude Juncker in a field of fifty for the main award.

All in all, one would be hard-pressed to find a plausible explanation for the outcome of the EV50 vote. There are some theoretical answers, but they aren't too likely. The organizers decided that total intransparency is in their best interest, so we're left in the dark as to what exactly happened.

Since the European Voice continued to list me as the Campaigner of the Year, I decided to accept that award anyway, and I've meanwhile asked them to donate the prize money to the FFII on my behalf.



For German readers, heise.de has an item on the same topic.

Monday, 5 December 2005

Announcing MySQL 5.1 alpha: Partitioning & Co.

MySQL 5.0 has been downloaded over four million times: two before GA, and two after GA. We're proud of these numbers. But life does not stop at MySQL 5.0.

So we have now announced the first public version of MySQL 5.1 alpha. Remember, alpha at MySQL means that we're still adding features.

One of the hottest new features is partitioning. Partitioning allows distributing portions of individual tables across a filesystem, according to rules which can be set when the table is created.

In effect, different portions of a table are stored as separate tables in different locations - but the user still sees the partitioned table as a single table.

If you have datasets of several terabytes, we would be very happy if you help us out with some testing.

Wednesday, 30 November 2005

Florian declined becoming "European Campaigner of the Year"

Yesterday was the day that the European of the Year award was published in Brussels. Florian was awarded the European Campaigner of the Year title. European Voice reports:


Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker is the European of the Year

Brussels 29 November 2005: The Prime Minister of Luxembourg Jean-Claude Juncker was declared "European of the Year" at an awards ceremony in Brussels hosted by European Voice this evening. Juncker, nominated for bucking the trend on the European Constitution, secured a yes-vote from his citizens after voters in France and the Netherlands had rejected the treaty.

European Voice, published by The Economist Group, is the leading European weekly newspaper. A distinguished panel of opinion leaders from across the EU - including three former Heads of State - selected the 50 nominees. The winners were chosen by the general public in an on-line poll and via paper ballot forms in the European Voice. Polls closed on 11 November.

Michel Rocard, MEP and ex-Prime Minister of France, won the award “MEP of the Year” for leading the charge against the software patents directive. Calling it a struggle for the “freedom of invention”, Rocard turned the discussions into a debate about the future of technological innovation.

Another key player in the fight against the software patents directive was campaigner Florian Müller, who won “Campaigner of the Year” for his instrumental efforts in killing off the whole proposal.


But Florian declined his award. In an email, he writes:


On Tuesday evening (29 November 2005), the EU-focused newspaper European Voice (www.european-voice.com) presented the "EV50 Europeans of the Year" awards in Brussels.

The EV50 awards (www.ev50.com) comprise nine category awards and the grand prize for the overall "European of the Year". A jury selected 50 nominees. After the announcement of the nominees on 22 September, the worldwide public was asked to submit votes in an Internet poll until 11 November. Additionally, the European Voice published a paper ballot for those of its readers who preferred to submit their votes non-electronically.

I was proclaimed as the winner of the "EU Campaigner of the Year" category award for my work on the NoSoftwarePatents.com campaign. In that category, I was competing with five other nominees, including U2 frontman Bono and another rock star, Bob Geldof. The rules were such that the overall winner could not simultaneously win the category. Initially, I accepted the category award, not enthusiastically but because I did not want to cause any impression of an emotional overreaction by immediately declining it. I awaited the presentation of the remaining awards. After the overall "European of the Year" award had been given to Jean-Claude Juncker, the prime minister of Luxembourg, the organizers wanted to take a picture of all ten winners with their trophies. Before the photograph, I gave the award trophy back to Mr. Dennis Landsbert-Noon, the publisher of the European Voice, and left.

I told Mr. Landsbert-Noon that I had, after serious consideration, "decided not to accept the award", and that I will issue further statements after obtaining legal advice.

Obviously it was a difficult decision to decline a category award that has been won by famous people, most notably the late Pope John Paul II in the year 2002. I was fully aware of the fact that this action would potentially affect decisions by other award juries in the future as well as my relationship with the organizers and sponsors of the EV50.

My greatest concern was that by declining the EU Campaigner of the Year award, I would disappoint the many who have voted for me and those who have supported our tremendously impactful Internet campaign for votes.

However, it was in my opinion the only appropriate action, and I will soon explain the reasons to do so. In the meantime, please understand that I will not be able to answer further questions on this subject.

I also have an anecdote to tell that many will find amusing. Mr. Michel Rocard, a member of the European Parliament (MEP) and former prime minister of France, received the "MEP of the Year" award for his work on the software patent directive. In his acceptance speech, he mentioned Microsoft's sponsorship of the EV50 awards several times. While Microsoft supported the proposed directive, Mr. Rocard wanted to very clearly exclude software from the scope of patentability. Mr. Rocard had a special message for Microsoft and EU commissioner Charlie McCreevy: "You will discover that we were right."

Mr. Rocard could additionally have mentioned that Burson-Marsteller, a PR and lobbying firm with offices in many cities including Brussels, counts Microsoft (as well as other corporations with a similar position on software patents) among its clients. Burson-Marsteller was involved in the organization of the EV50.

Note that the 50 nominees were chosen by an independent jury, which through its choices demonstrated its independence.

For general information on the EV50, journalists are recommended to contact the organizers. A number of presidents, prime ministers, parliamentarians and EU commissioners were personally present at the EV50 dinner.

Best regards,

Florian

Wednesday, 23 November 2005

Worried about the FFII

In an article, Heise.de (one of Germany's most reputable IT websites) pinpoints some internal trouble in the Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure FFII ("Association of SWPAT opponents stands before a Palace Coup"). The FFII threatens to split into several factions, with current president Hartmut Pilch being challenged by "the comparatively young programmer" (in Heise's words) Jonas Maebe from Belgium in next week's presidential election in Brussels.

I am worried.

First of all, the FFII was instrumental to the defensive victory against SWPATs this summer in the EU. MySQL AB was a prime sponsor and backer of the NoSoftwarePatents.com campaign, but without FFII, we would never have won.

So whatever happens with FFII in their elections in Brussels is important, to say the least.

As such, it's a bit surprising that the "winníng side" from this summer's European Parliament battle are experiencing this kind of organisatorial upheaval. I'd be less surprised if the EICTAs of the world would have palace coups, considering the amount of lobbying money their membership put in without getting anything in return.

But back to FFII. In the best interest of those of us working against software patents would be


  • unanimity in FFII

  • good strategic thinking by FFII

  • lots of good, visible press work by FFII

  • good channels to companies willing to fund FFII

  • representation in the EP by FFII




but it seems we at least won't be getting unanimity, and some of the other items are also at risk.

Personally, I haven't interacted with Jonas, so I have little to say about him (except that, should he be elected, I hope to establish a good working relationship with him). As for Hartmut, MySQL AB has had good experiences inviting him and sponsoring his travel when he spoke with MySQL CEO MÃ¥rten Mickos and Red Hat's Michael Tiemann on SWPATs at OSCON in the US last summer. Our discussions have also always been productive, whenever exchanging information and pursuing ideas.

On top of this, what worries me with the FFII is the meagre PR work coming out at this point in time. If I google for news item on FFII, I get one (1) item. If I do the equivalent search on "Florian Müller", I get forty-eight (48) items. This is out of proportion.

I am a member of the FFII (now counting 90.000 members), but I am not in a position to come to Brussels on 29 Nov 2005 (*), so I won't be able to influence the decision -- as the over 89.000 members who cannot go there won't be able to vote.

(*) The place and date I hope Florian Müller will be elected "European of the Year"

Concentrating on internal fights is seldom productive. Especially when there is an external threat, in this case SWPATs.

Will OS DBs oust Oracle & Co.?

In an interesting survey on COMPUTERWOCHE.de, the readership of this German IDG business periodical (141.000 decision makers every week!) is being asked "Will Open Source Databases oust Oracle & Co.?". Right now, they've still only got 354 respondents, of which 42 % say Ja and 56 % say Nein. Interesting!

Sunday, 13 November 2005

WANTED: North American MySQL Community Relations Manager

Do you know a potential MySQL evangelist with a lot of passion for Open Source? Able to talk to key Open Source projects, understanding both technology and people issues? An outstanding track record in written skills -- published articles in print and on the web, and perhaps even published a book or two? Excellent oral presentation skills, able to go to conferences, give talks and come back with a network even larger and more well-connected than before?

We describe the job in more detail in Jobs at MySQL AB.

Our current Community Relations team consists of (in chronological order of recruitment to the team) Arjen Lentz in Brisbane, Australia, Lenz Grimmer in Hamburg, Germany, myself in Grankulla, Finland and our newest member Colin Charles who shares his time between Melbourne, Australia and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

As you can see, we dearly need somebody in North America, who can meet physically with the many interesting Open Source startups in Silicon Valley and elsewhere in the US.

If you know somebody, talk to me!

Saturday, 12 November 2005

Open Source Database Consortium

The database market is experiencing some changes. All major database players now have either a no-cost database, or even an Open Source database. A month ago, that was still not the case.

Personally, I think it's a good thing when there are new, lower-cost database alternatives offered to customers. However, Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) is about much more than "cheap". Market research (such as Evans Data) so far indicates that "lite" versions haven't gained much traction. I believe the reason is that most users are looking for a full-featured database product, not a handicapped trial version.

As a footnote related to the power of OS DBs, Business Week reports about the Evans Data survey as follows, 21 October 2005:



Mainstream database software companies that have been watching open-source upstart MySQL in their rearview mirrors must be having some uncomfortable thoughts right about now. According to a user survey released Oct. 20 by market researcher Evans Data Corp., open-source database deployments in corporations are up 20% in the past six months, and use of MySQL is up 25%. Forty-four percent of corporate software developers surveyed said they use MySQL software. In the coming months, MySQL's growth rate could hockeystick.




The Open Source Database Conference in Frankfurt earlier this week provided me with an excellent opportunity to interact with other providers of FOSS databases. More precisely, with the help of Georg Richter and Zak Greant, I had invited a number of FOSS DB developers to a dinner last Tuesday 8 November 2005 opposite the NH Mörfelden hotel in Frankfurt (where the OS DB conference was being arranged) to test the hypothesis whether the ground is fertile to establish an Open Source Database Consortium as a (formal or informal) vehicle of exchanging information between FOSS DB providers, and as a body for the OS DB industry.

So we met, in alphabetical order (sorry if I missed someone; just tell me and I'll correct it):


  1. Brian Aker / MySQL

  2. Kaj Arnö / MySQL

  3. Patrik Backman / MySQL (indirectly representing Jörg Hoffmeister / MaxDB, who had to leave just before)

  4. Josh Berkus / PostgreSQL

  5. Marcus Boerger / PHP

  6. Gregory Burd / Sleepycat (BDB)

  7. Daniel John Debrunner / Derby

  8. Peter Eisentraut / PostgreSQL

  9. Zak Greant / SQLite (as proxy for Richard Hipp)

  10. Lenz Grimmer / MySQL

  11. Øystein Grøvlen / Sun

  12. Jutta Horstmann

  13. Anders Karlsson / MySQL

  14. Holger Klemt / Firebird (with Ann Harrison and Paul Beach invited but not able to come)

  15. Arjen Lentz / MySQL

  16. Mauricio Longo / Firebird

  17. Georg Richter / MySQL

  18. Gavin Sherry / PostgreSQL

  19. Lukas Kahwe Smith / PHP

  20. Fred Toussi / HSQLDB



Meeting participants

The discussion was lively and any open animosity between the representers of competing OS DBs, if there ever was any, disappeared after the first sip of wine, Weissbier, or whatever we had. A lot of technology information on cool projects, such as PostgreSQL's Slony-II replication, flowed as freely as Open Source information flows.

In an at least partially successful attempt to impose something vaguely resembling an agenda on the group heading almost 20 people, I encouraged smaller groups auto-forming in the various parts of the table to structure their OS DB Consortium thoughts into three phases:

  1. Brainstorming: What are the things we could do together? What are our common interests? From what type of cooperation amongst us could our users benefit?

  2. Evaluate: Which ideas are worth considering?

  3. Low-hanging fruit: Which ideas can we implement easily?



As an additional item we discussed our legal status: Should we have a web site? A legal organisation, with by-laws?

1. The brainstormed ideas were plentiful:

  1. Joint benchmarks to make it easier to compare OS DBs

  2. An external advocacy mailing list

  3. A private mailing list for emergencies, security issues (such as zlib)

  4. Joint development: standards (such as PDBC) and APIs, research, conformance test suite, performance test suite

  5. Joint marketing: announcements, advocacy of FOSS licenses over closed source licenses, approaches to universities

  6. Joint PlanetXxx.org blog aggregation

  7. Joint legal research and statements on SWPATs, other IP issues, licenses



2. When evaluating ideas, we noticed that:

  1. we have different stances on SWPATs, ranging from the clear, strong and open support (and even financing) of NoSoftwarePatents.com, to concerns of the wisdom of a clear NoSoftwarePatents.com support when being financed by some of the world's largest SWPAT holders; although it was hard to find SWPAT proponents around the table, we could deduce that NoSWPAT advocacy is not a common denominator

  2. although it may be desirable, it is hard to define a fair common benchmark (but the one c't is using, the Dell DVD shop, comes close)



3. The low-hanging fruits were suggested to be:

  1. The establishment of a common website, OSDBConsortium.org or something (thanks Gavin for already implementing this!)

  2. An internal mailing list for our own discussions on our future ideas



4. As for the legal organisation,

  1. we could have individual members, or corporate members, or both

  2. we could see the Apache Software Foundation as a model

  3. we could leave the legal organisation until later



If you were present, or you're just interested in being in this consortium, leave a comment in this blog article!

Not on Acropolis

This is the Saturday afternoon that I am not spending discussing MySQL with the Greek MySQL community, strolling on the Acropolis.

See, MySQL AB has had a developer meeting in Athens. The Dev-MTX has met, i.e. the eXtended Development Management Team. Wednesday morning, I had already checked in to the Frankfurt-Athens flight (coming from the OS DB Conference). As I came to the airport, the flight was cancelled due to an airport strike and I had to return back home to Finland instead.

In the meantime, David Axmark, Michael Schiff and Serg Golubchik cleared out the situation in Athens, by

  • hosting a small user meeting at our hotel in Athens on Thursday

  • presenting at the University of Piraeus today Saturday



In general, there are a lot of MySQL User Groups all across the world, from New York to Tiruchchirappalli, from Silicon Valley to Melbourne, from Stuttgart to Tulsa. Whenever MySQLers are travelling, we try to meet with the MySQL Meetups and User Groups. As we write on our User's Group page:



MySQL User Groups organize face-to-face meetings in hundreds of cities around the world, providing an excellent environment to share your experience with fellow users. Some meetings are informal, with a chat over a coffee or a beer. Other meetings have a more formal nature, with presentations or tutorials. Some groups do both, alternating.

MySQL AB, as part of its Community efforts, encourages and supports MySQL User Groups and other local groups and activities. MySQL AB developers and other experts often visit local user groups!

This page lists the MySQL User Groups which we know are active, organised per continent, country and state. If there is no user group yet in your area, please consider starting one!

To start your local MySQL group, you can use mysql.meetup.com. MySQL AB has an agreement in place with meetup.com to cover the organizer fees. Simply click at the link at the top of the meetup.com page to request your electronic voucher so you can become organizer.


For Athens, we owe a big thank you to the local hosts and organisers from the Hellenic Linux Users Group www.hellug.gr, especially Spiros Bolis, Dimitris Glynos studying at the University of Piraeus, and Professor Yannis Theodoridis who allowed us to use their big 300 people auditorium. Efharisto!

Sunday, 6 November 2005

Users Conference CfP closing

One more day until 7 November 2005, which is the deadline for submissions to the MySQL Users Conference 24-27 April 2006 themed "Discover. Connect. Succeed. Scale Your Business with MySQL.". We have well over a hundred quality proposals already, and more are being submitted all the time. Tomorrow Monday is the last day!

Tuesday, 25 October 2005

Jocelyn Fournier is this week's MySQL 5 contest winner

This week's iPod nano winner is a long-time MySQL community member: Jocelyn Fournier.

Jocelyn is one of most productive beta testers of MySQL ever, and he certainly has not slowed down his path now with MySQL 5.0.

Jocelyn is using MySQL to power a bulletin board "MesDiscussions.Net" ("My Discussions"), which is used by some big French websites. There, he does practical stress testing of MySQL from both a performance and feature standpoint.

Performance-wise, he has more than 2300 simultaneous connections on peak on forum.hardware.fr.

Jocelyn tries to integrate each of the new features MySQL offers in his software to get the best out MySQL, and I'm pleased to quote his comment: "the achieved speed is really amazing :)".

Merci, Jocelyn!

Announcing MySQL 5.0

Dear user of MySQL,

It is my pleasure to announce the production release of MySQL 5.0, which is hereby GA (Generally Available). Since my announcement of the Release Candidate less than a month ago, no bugs have been reported that require a second Release Candidate. This, combined with the feedback from over two million downloads of MySQL 5.0 during its beta phase, give us the confidence to give MySQL 5.0 the status of Current Production Release, or GA.

In the Release Candidate announcement less than a month ago, I described MySQL 5.0 as "the most important release in MySQL's history", and that is certainly the case. Thus, I encourage you all to:


  • get your own copy at http://dev.mysql.com/downloads/mysql/5.0.html

  • do all of your new database development using MySQL 5.0
  • upgrade your current MySQL environments to MySQL 5.0, as soon as you've properly verified your production applications against it (be sure to take a full backup of your data before upgrading, study the relevant documentation, and if you have a MySQL Network support contract, consult first with the MySQL Support Team)



Let me also underline that we continue to offer some earlier versions of MySQL Server for download. However, you should expect maintenance releases for earlier versions only in limited form:


  • for MySQL 4.1, only when serious bugs affecting significant user groups are reported

  • for MySQL 4.0, only when security bugs are reported



MySQL 5.0 is the most ambitious release to date for MySQL AB. We have added functionality that our users have requested from us over many years. However, everything we do at MySQL centers around our three priorities of Performance, Reliability, and Ease of Use. MySQL 5.0 is certainly true to these company-wide values.

Key new features of MySQL 5.0 come in three groups:


  1. ANSI SQL standard features formerly unknown to MySQL

  2. ANSI SQL standard compliance of existing MySQL features

  3. New MySQL Storage Engines, Tools and Extensions



1. The new ANSI SQL features include:


  • Views (both read-only and updatable views)

  • Stored Procedures and Stored Functions, using the SQL:2003 syntax, which is also used by IBM's DB2

  • Triggers (row-level)

  • Server-side cursors (read-only, non-scrolling)



2. Implementing ANSI SQL standard ways of using existing MySQL features means there will be fewer unpleasant surprises ("gotchas") for those migrating to MySQL from other database systems:


  • Strict Mode: MySQL 5.0 adds a mode that complies with standard SQL in a number of areas in which earlier versions did not; we now do strict data type checking and issue errors for all invalid dates, numbers and strings as expected

  • INFORMATION_SCHEMA: An ANSI SQL-compliant set of tables that provide database metadata, in parallel with the MySQL-specific SHOW commands

  • Precision Math: A new library for fixed-point arithmetic, giving high accuracy for financial and mathematical operations

  • VARCHAR Data Type: The maximum effective length of a VARCHAR column has increased to 65,532 bytes; also, stripping of trailing whitespace no longer occurs



3. New MySQL Storage Engines, Tools and Extensions are:


  • XA Distributed Transactions

  • ARCHIVE Storage Engine for storing large amounts of data without
    indexes in a very small footprint, intended for historical data that
    may be needed for future audit compliance (Sarbanes Oxley or
    otherwise)

  • FEDERATED Storage Engine for accessing data ín tables of remote
    databases rather than in local tables (only in MAX version)

  • Instance Manager: a tool to start and stop MySQL Server, even remotely



To find out more details on what's new in MySQL 5.0, follow the pointers from http://dev.mysql.com/doc/mysql/en/mysql-5-0-nutshell.html

To find out the changes specific to MySQL 5.0.15 in relation to 5.0.13 (the release candidate), see the two files http://dev.mysql.com/doc/mysql/en/news-5-0-14.html and http://dev.mysql.com/doc/mysql/en/news-5-0-15.html (5.0.14 was not released publicly).

MySQL 5.0 is also reflected in our GUI tools and Connectors:

MySQL Administrator 1.1.4 and MySQL Query Browser 1.1.17 are aware of the new MySQL 5.0 features. They can be used to write and test stored procedures, create views, include them in scheduled backups and much more.

The latest shipping versions of our Connectors work with MySQL 5.0, and all connectors (MySQL Connector/ODBC, Connector/J and Connector/NET) support all MySQL 5.0 flagship features.

Of course, we recognize that any piece of software contains bugs. We continue to need your involvement to ensure that MySQL 5.0 is the best that it possibly can be. Should you find any issues in MySQL 5.0, report them through our bug-reporting system at http://bugs.mysql.com/ and we will improve upon MySQL 5.0 in upcoming maintenance releases.

The MySQL team looks forward to your input



MySQL 5.0 is available now. Go download it, install it, and take benefit from its many new features.

And do keep us informed on how MySQL can help support you!

Kaj Arnö
VP Community Relations
MySQL AB

Sunday, 23 October 2005

RMS, Alan Cox, Tim O'Reilly, Rasmus and Monty endorse Florian

Richard Stallman, Tim O'Reilly, Alan Cox, Rasmus Lerdorf and Monty Widenius endorse Florian Müller's candidacy in the "European of the Year 2005" internet poll.

I had the pleasure to interact with Tim, Alan and Rasmus on EuroOSCON in Amsterdam this week, and they all considered voting for Florian's to be an important way to increase the political weight of the concerns towards SWPATs.

The press release on NoSoftwarePatents.com cites as a reason that Florian "runs on a NoSoftwarePatents ticket, and that is the message we want to reinforce":


In a NoSoftwarePatents press release, the community leaders today expressed their support for the voting recommendations that NoSoftwarePatents.com has published in more than a dozen languages: http://www.nosoftwarepatents.com/en/m/ev50/vote.html. Participants in the poll are required to make a choice in each of ten categories, and the voting list provided by NoSoftwarePatents.com explains the role that various candidates played in the software patent debate so that voters can reward the opponents of software patents and penalize pro-patent politicians.

Mueller's endorsers pointed out that the FOSS community has played a particularly active role in the fight against software patents, but that software patents "threaten us all because they don't discriminate based on programming language, operating system, or licensing model". The group is "disconcerted by early reports" that the EU is now looking at alternative ways of giving software patents a stronger legal basis in Europe, such as an EU community patent regulation.

The endorsement furthermore stated: "Some other nominees also stand for valid concerns and noble causes. However, those issues and individuals have already received a lot of coverage in the mass media, while the implications of software patents to the whole world, including developing countries, still require much more public awareness. In the sense that software patents monopolize mental steps, they are also a human rights issue."

Friday, 14 October 2005

Vote Against Software Patents

Now there is a convenient and easy way for developers across the world to vote against software patents.

As I noted earlier, there is an ongoing election for European of the Year. But there have been hurdles for those who wish to vote. Sure you can vote at http://www.ev50.com/poll/, but honestly, do you know whether you would prefer Anna Marszalek of Rzeczpospolita or Alina Mungiu-Pippidi of the Romanian Academic Society to become Journalist of the Year? At least I strongly dislike the risk of voting against my own true opinion, and just in order to vote against Software Patents by voting for Florian Müller, I need to express an opinion in ten different areas.

FFII and Florian Müller, with some PHP coding help from MySQL AB, just made it easier. For those who are informed about Software Patents, it's a no-brainer to support Michel Rocard for MEP of the year and not to support Charlie McCreevy for Commissioner of the Year. That, and other thoughts, are now collected into a PHP script which is shameless enough to come with a suggestion on how to vote. Try it out at http://www.nosoftwarepatents.com/en/m/ev50/vote.html, and then see if you feel comfortable to vote at http://www.ev50.com/poll/. BTW, if you vote, you'll still have to confirm your vote by replying to an email automatically sent to you by EV50.

Florian and Kaj shaking hands
Florian and me shaking hands (right before I went to Oktoberfest)

Thursday, 13 October 2005

MySQL Users Conference 2006

24-27 April 2006 may seem to be far away today. But 7 November 2005 is not far from now, and that's when we need you to submit your proposals. There's a fair amount of them already, but you've still got about three weeks to submit more.

In 2005, we had well over a thousand attendees. We sold out on our tutorials on Performance and Cluster. Our development team enjoyed meeting with our users and, I hope, vice versa. At least we had great fun in Arjen's and my "Quiz show" with difficult questions on MySQL history and trivia.

The theme for the 2006 MySQL UC conference is "Discover. Connect. Succeed. Scale Your Business with MySQL." I'm looking forward to the challenging task to pick the best presentations!

Belly dancer

Thanks to all the visitors to my three pages of Body painting pictures! A bit of statistics from the click-throughs in the httpd access log helped me change my entries in the Photo Awards 2005 competition that I mentioned in an earlier blog. You seemed to like the Belly Dancer a lot, so I chose the following two pics for the contest!

Bauchtanz Trommeln

Alex Barendregt, the event organiser, promised to put my galleries online on the official gallery collection of the World Bodypainting Festival. Let's see what happens!

Wednesday, 12 October 2005

This week's winner in the MySQL 5 contest: Markus Popp

Autriche, douze points!

OK, so this is not the Eurovision song contest (*) and I don't specifically vote for Austria (**), but this week's winner comes from Austria and is nobody else than Markus Popp, who has won an iPod nano!

Markus has started a free MySQL db hosting service that uses MySQL 5.0 at http://www.db4free.net/ and is an active blogger at http://db4free.blogspot.com/

Markus is actively soliciting for input on MySQL 5 on his webpage. And of course, he has submitted bug reports to MySQL -- the basic goal of our contest.

Good job, Markus!

(*) For our non-European readers: that's a yearly classic event going on since tens of years, which everybody watches but nobody admits watching.

(**) Although I would have reason to do so, since they host interesting events that I have taken pictures at.

Saturday, 8 October 2005

MySQL AB Welcomes Oracle to the FOSS Database Market

Dear MySQL user,

MySQL AB and the Free / Open Source database market today received some unexpected recognition by Oracle, through their acquisition of Innobase Oy.

So what does this have to do with MySQL?

Well, Innobase is the provider of the popular InnoDB Storage Engine in MySQL. One of the things our users appreciate about MySQL is its unique pluggable storage engine architecture. You have the flexibility to choose from number of storage engines including MyISAM, Memory, Merge, Cluster and InnoDB. And with MySQL 5.0, we added the new Archive and Federated storage engines.

Just like the rest of MySQL Server and its Storage Engines, InnoDB is released under the GPL. With this license, our users have complete freedom to use, develop, modify the code base as they wish. That is why MySQL has chose the GPL: to protect the freedom that users value in free / open source software.

In their press release Oracle states:


"InnoDB is not a standalone database product: it is distributed as a part of the MySQL database. InnoDB's contractual relationship with MySQL comes up for renewal next year. Oracle fully expects to negotiate an extension of that relationship."


We have also issued a press release where MÃ¥rten Mickos, CEO of MySQL, states:


"This announcement represents further validation of the open source movement. The beauty of open source software and the GPL license is freedom. As with all MySQL code, InnoDB is provided under the GPL license, meaning that users have complete freedom to use, develop, and modify the code base. We are pleased to see even broader industry acceptance of open source database technology. This also means that database developers now have even greater flexibility to use MySQL and Oracle in the same environment."


For you as a MySQL user, I want to stress a couple of further points of the "don't worry" type:


  • we remain committed to support our existing clients and users, using InnoDB and other storage engines

  • we will continue to provide development and bug-fix resources for InnoDB users

  • we continue to sell to our prospects and woo new users, using InnoDB and other storage engines

  • there will be no impact on MySQL 5.0, scheduled for GA in Q4, 2005

  • we will continue to include InnoDB in future releases of MySQL

  • Innobase Oy is a separate company -- and is not a part of MySQL AB; Oracle has no ownership of MySQL AB

  • we will work with Oracle as a normal business partner



Go MySQL!

Kaj Arnö
VP Community Relations
MySQL AB

Friday, 7 October 2005

"MySQL 5.0 is fantastic"

OK, so we know we have two million beta downloads for MySQL 5.0 -- but sometimes we still crave for more feedback. Nothing beats hearing from the individual users.

Today, Mark Rais of Really Linux, author of the book "Linux for the Rest of Us", made my day by emailing me:


Just figured I'd write briefly to let you know I've had a bit more time to look at all the goodies and have to say that 5.0 is truly fantastic!
I have spent a lot of time working in Sybase and Oracle environments and believe that 5.0 is going to make a serious play for that space. Outstanding stuff!!!


Thanks, Mark!

And all the rest of you: Keep letting us know how you think we're doing!

Promotion

If NewsForge, SourceWire and Linux PR report about it, it must be true: I'm now officially "Vice President of Open Source Community Relations".

I'm happy to notice the news got picked up by many sites, such as the International PHP Magazine, as well as by Toolinux in French.

The official press release on my appointment and the one on MySQL 5.0 Release Candidate seem to have found its way to plenty of places. Less than two months ago, googling for "Kaj Arnö" gave 631 hits, when it today gave me 12,800 hits. A growth of 1928 % in two months would normally be something to remember to tell the grandchildren about, but I suspect Google improved its search coverage at the same time, and I am sure a lot of the 12,800 are headlines in pages from which I will disappear as soon as I appeared there.

OK, that's enough of narcissism for a while.

And thanks to everyone who has sent me congratulations!

Monday, 3 October 2005

Rimer's Rules for Open Source

Danny Rimer of Index Ventures shares some of his insights on the business models of Open Source in an article in BusinessWeek Online:


Venture capitalist Danny Rimer has made investments in companies across the field. He talks about what he looks for in a startup.

An early investment in Internet phone company Skype netted an undisclosed -- but undoubtedly enviable -- return when Skype was purchased by eBay (EBAY ) for $2.6 billion last month (see BW Online, 9/12/05, "eBay Opens a Whole New Channel").

The move [to Europe] also put Rimer at ground zero of the open-source revolution. Open-source companies are just now emerging out of Silicon Valley, but for years the revolution has been rooted in Europe.

Rimer has made investments in companies across the open-source landscape, including MySQL, so far one of the more successful open-source startups.

MySQL was your first open-source investment. How did you get into the deal?

We knew MySQL as a technology, and I was chatting with another VC about different open-source projects, and he mentioned I should check out MySQL. At the time, I didn't realize it was a company.

It ended up being a fairly tough deal to get into primarily because certain U.S. VCs were very interested in it. But no other European VC was interested, and the company wanted one U.S. VC and one European VC. So they picked Benchmark for the U.S. one and picked us for the European.

How does your MySQL investment reflect what you look for in an open-source deal?


Early on we had to come up with key criteria. It's not difficult to create a successful small business if you're an open-source vendor. But we're a VC firm looking to make returns [of 10 times our initial investment] for [our investors]. We're looking for $100 million in revenue potential.

A small business that's highly profitable, making $15 million a year, is not going to move the dial for us. We're looking to invest in major software vendors.

So what are those criteria?

I call them the three Cs. These are necessary from the onset to make it an attractive story. The first is community. There has to be a huge amount of interest in it. [MySQL, Zend, and TrollTech] were already incredibly popular [when we invested]. The community is your marketing and evangelism arm. They're going to contribute and make sure this piece of software truly becomes mainstream.

The second C is commodity. Open-source companies absolutely can't have a new, innovative technology. They have to be smarter approaches to existing technology. They have to be [technologies] that developers and buyers already understand.

In the case of MySQL, because of Oracle [ORCL], everyone already knew the relational database. Open source is about coming up with an alternative that's cheaper, not going after a new area.

The third C is price cushion. There has to be a big enough difference between what proprietary vendors are charging and open source is charging, so that over time open-source companies can charge more and still have enough of a price cushion to make it interesting for customers.

Those three qualities are what help us evaluate companies. We've made four investments and looked at three dozen.


For more, come to listen to Danny Rimer (and David Axmark and me) at EuroOSCON 17-20 October 2005 in Amsterdam!

Sunday, 2 October 2005

Bodypainting

In July, I took part as a photographer in the World Body Painting Festival in Seeboden, Austria. That's an event with over 20.000 participants, 180 bodypainters from 40 countries, stretching over three days. Now I got the pictures sorted out, in time for entering their photo contest.

Madame Butterfly Dancer Shadowed lady from Riga Aladin




Lady from Riga wearing labour intensive makeup (right).

There are similarities to Bodypainting and Formula One racing, which go beyond the fact that they both seem more popular in Europe than in the US:
Laborious makeup






Formula OneBodypainting
The audience is focusing atThe drivers/pilotsThe models
The experts are focused atThe F1 teamsThe painters
The images are conveyed byPhotographersPhotographers


OK, so a lot of money move hands between various players in F1, whereas the World Bodypainting Festival collects both professional and amateur performers in one big family. The day starts at 09:30 where the painting teams who don't yet have a pilot ... ehh model, meet up with the models who don't yet have a painter. At 11:00 the painting starts, and the artists have six hours to paint their models. When the models are painted, they get judged in front of a jury, after which they go on the catwalk to be admired by the audience.



Father and daughter   I took part as a photographer for the second time, but definitely not the last. There are some outstanding works of art being created on living canvas, to be admired by the general public.


Parts of the audience (like my daughter) choose to get painted themselves, whereas others (like myself) concentrate on taking pictures and enjoying themselves.

If you wish to see more, click on one of the photos on this page and you'll be taken to a site with my 91 best pics from this year's festival, spread out over three web pages (linked at the bottom). Those pics can then be clicked on once more for a larger version.

Saturday, 1 October 2005

Running around

To recover from drinking beer at the Oktoberfest, I had to increase my amount of running this week. Against an average 15 km, I did 47 km this week. Happily, I made a new record 1:07:09 on the standard 13 km "around Ikea" run. That's an average speed of 11,6 km/h or a 8 min 20 sec mile (for those of my readers, should I have any, who are from the parts of the New World where medieval units are preferred).

Tom, between the jugs of beer at Oktoberfest, was asking me whether I feel a pressure to run. No I don't. It's strictly relaxation, and I have low ambitions:

  • To keep reasonably fit

  • To have fun

  • To catch some fresh air

  • To follow the changing seasons

  • To chat with friends who join the run

  • To chat with friends over the phone



If I want to win while running, it's just a question of beating my own earlier times or distances. This means I do keep a log of my runs, so I know I've run 568 km so far this year, as opposed to 409 km at the same time last year.

So today, I was running over 20 km for the first time since 2002. It was a long run around Bredviken (Munksnäs-Fölisön-Drumsö-Kägeludden-Otnäs-Tarvo-Munksnäs) with long-time friend Ralf on inline skates. In the beginning he asked whether I tend to keep up my normal speed for all of 21 km. At the end, he noted it was hard to keep such a slow pace on his inline skates.

But I made the 21 km!

Kaj running his first marathon 2000
Me running my first marathon 2000

Friday, 30 September 2005

Eolas: SWPATs go bananas in the US

"Microsoft loses in Eolas patent ruling" says ZDNet:


In a decision made public Wednesday, the patent office upheld the validity of a patent held by the University of California and its Eolas Technology spinoff. In 2003, a jury awarded more than $500 million in damages to the university and Eolas, but an appeals court this year partially upheld Microsoft's appeal, saying the company should be able to present evidence that similar inventions predated Eolas' patent application.


If even Microsoft cannot defend itself against too broad or too trivial SWPATs, what can smaller companies do? I hope Microsoft will now start supporting NoSoftwarePatents.com.

Thursday, 29 September 2005

Tuesday, 27 September 2005

MySQL's Quid pro Quo

At MySQL AB, we say we follow the principle of Quid pro Quo (something for something, a favour for a favour) in our business model. Some things we offer free of charge to the community in thankful return for all the contributions and assistance we receive. Some things we offer to customers only in thankful return for all the money they give us.

There is a fine line defining what is free as in freedom, what is free as in without cost, and what is paid for. We spend a lot of time thinking about and discussing this line with the goal to serve our community and our paying customers the best (and we are keen to hear your advice to us!). We believe there is an optimal balance where the community continues to be passionate about what we provide, and the customers continue to passionately pay us for the unique value-add they receive. If we would not stay on that fine line, we could easily harm our relationship with either group (or, more likely, with both groups). But we think we can stay on that line, and therefore we think we have the opportunity to build a fantastically profitable company without deviating from the founding FOSS principles.

Our main contribution to the FOSS world
is naturally the source code of the MySQL server. Originally the work of Monty and David (our founders), it today comprises software produced by nearly 100 engineers around the world. We pay those engineers a monthly salary and give them other benefits, so I think it is appropriate to say that it is MySQL AB that contributes this software to the FOSS community. We have more than 6 million installations under GPL worldwide. If we may say so ourselves, this represents a significant contribution to the well-being of planet Earth. Most recently, active community members set up the ContactLovedOnes.org site for victims of the Katrina hurricane. Our contribution was very modest, but we did contribute the database software needed for the application to run.

And we have contributed more than just the core server. In 2003 we acquired the NDB Cluster product from Ericsson and released it under the GPL. In 2004 we took over the continued development of the Eventum support ticket system with a commitment to keep it open source. And throughout our history we have developed graphical tools that we release for the free use by anyone. We also publish information on our website, such as the MySQL reference manual. We do retain the copyright for our documentation, but we still make it publicly available on the web for all our users and customers. All of this does perhaps not sound like much, but there is a lot of hard work behind it! And those who do it need to get paid by someone. In our case, they get paid by MySQL AB.

I also claim that our "FOSS Exception" is a contribution to the community. To make this understood, we should probably have named it Extension instead of Exception. It is an unfortunate fact that not all free / open source licences are legally compatible with each other. Our software comes under the GPL but we do want those who use MPL and other popular licences to be able to use MySQL freely. So we unilaterally stated that we we are fine with users combining our GPL software with other FOSS-licensed software. You are not allowed to combine it with closed source software (even in the extension), but you can otherwise mix and match FOSS licences as you wish. Another way to solve this problem would be to harmonise all the FOSS licences of the world, and perhaps that will happen one day. Until then, the MySQL FOSS Exception is what you need.

There is another form of contribution as well. We are active financial supporters of the Free Software Foundation. We also invested a large sum of money and plenty of work hours in the campaign against software patents in the EU. That campaign still goes on and we are ready to continue to do our share of the work. Again, the phenomenal results in the form of a defensive victory against SWPATs in EU would not have been possible without the active participation by so many in the FOSS community.

That more or less concludes the list of contributions from MySQL AB to the FOSS community. We are proud of what we contribute, but we also realise that the community around us makes similar contributions every day, and in the aggregate those contributions may well be far more significant than the ones we are doing. However, at the end of the day we should not be comparing the size of contributions -- we should just be very thankful that we live in an ecosystem where a majority of the participants voluntarily contribute something, with a better and more innovative world as the result!

So then you may ask what it is that MySQL AB does not give away free of charge? If the company claims to have a great business model, then surely there must be products or services that are reserved for paying customers only? Yes, that's absolutely right, and here follows a list of what you will have to pay for in order to get from us:

  • MySQL certification and training
  • consulting services (performance tuning, database design, migrations, etc.)
  • features added to the product outside the normal development roadmap
  • technical support
  • the right to use our trademark and logo
  • MySQL Network (our subscription offering which contains technical support, alerts, updates, advisor software that helps the DBA, knowledge base, certified binaries, legal indemnification, etc.)
  • the MySQL server under a commercial licence (for those who wish to distribute MySQL embedded in a non-FOSS application or product)


This is the thinking of the “fine line” by MySQL AB. We have chosen a specific business model that we call Quid pro Quo, and we have chosen the GPL licence to represent it. The GPL is not perfect, but it is the best one we could find. Our ambition is to show the world -- with your help -- that we can build a fantastically profitable open source business and thereby provide evidence and inspiration for the whole world. We think the world deserves successful open source companies, and we are set on being one of them!

How does this resonate with you? Is there rhyme and reason in our thinking -- or are we perhaps too generous with our precious property? Or are we too strict? How would you do it if you were the owner of MySQL AB? I am open to your ideas!

PHP database interfaces: PDO or PDBC?

In a comment to my posting on MySQL 5.0 getting bug free, Lukas Smith wants MySQL to promote PDO.

I had a chat with Georg Richter about this. He tells me he is working on a PDBC ("JDBC for PHP") specification and prototype which allows people

a) to write database independent programs
b) to migrate easily from or to other applications (e.g. Java)
c) write powerful applications
d) to reuse existing code written in Java or C++.

Georg's goal for the upcoming OSDBCON (and PHP Conference) is to find some people from other OS DB projects which like the idea and would like to contribute to PDBC.

So, if you want to be involved in PDBC, talk to Georg at the OS DB Conference 8-9 November 2005 in Frankfurt (where I will also give a presentation on "10 Years of MySQL: Building a Commercial Open Source Software Company").

Monday, 26 September 2005

Announcing MySQL 5.0 Release Candidate

Dear user of MySQL,

I'm proud and excited to announce the first Release Candidate of MySQL 5.0. This milestone signals that we are nearing what is certainly the most important release in MySQL's history.

MySQL 5.0 has new functionality that I hope will be welcomed, adopted, and put to productive use by the community of MySQL users -- you. On the commercial side, MySQL AB is getting a lot of good vibes from new enterprise customers who are beginning to understand the impact MySQL can have on their IT infrastructure and costs of running mission-critical applications.

The betas of MySQL 5.0 have already been downloaded two million times, and have thus been tested extensively in a lot of different scenarios. From the feedback we get from our community, we know it is already in production use at numerous sites. Go get your own copy at http://dev.mysql.com/downloads/mysql/5.0.html

Without question, MySQL 5.0 is the most ambitious release to date for MySQL AB. Of course, everything we do at MySQL centers around our three priorities of Performance, Reliability, and Ease of Use. Version 5.0 of MySQL is certainly true to these company-wide imperatives.

Key new features of MySQL 5.0 come in three groups:

a) ANSI SQL standard features formerly unknown to MySQL
b) ANSI SQL standard compliance of existing MySQL features
c) New MySQL Storage Engines, Tools and Extensions

The new ANSI SQL features include:


  • Views (both read-only and updatable views)

  • Stored Procedures and Stored Functions, using the SQL:2003 syntax, which is also used by IBM's DB2

  • Triggers (row-level)

  • Server-side cursors (read-only, non-scrolling)



Implementing ANSI SQL standard ways of using existing MySQL features means there will be fewer unpleasant surprises ("gotchas") for those migrating to MySQL from other database systems:


  • Strict Mode: MySQL 5.0 adds a mode that complies with standard SQL in a number of areas in which earlier versions did not; we now do strict data type checking and issue errors for all invalid dates, numbers and strings as expected

  • INFORMATION_SCHEMA: An ANSI SQL-compliant Data Dictionary for accessing metadata, in parallel to the MySQL specific SHOW commands

  • Precision Math: A new library for fixed-point arithmetic, giving high accuracy for financial and mathematical operations

  • VARCHAR Data Type: The maximum effective length of a VARCHAR column has increased to 65,532 bytes; also, stripping of trailing whitespace no longer occurs



New MySQL Storage Engines, Tools and Extensions are:


  • XA Distributed Transactions

  • ARCHIVE Storage Engine for storing large amounts of data without indexes in a very small footprint, intended for historical data that may be needed for future audit compliance (Sarbanes Oxley or otherwise)

  • FEDERATED Storage Engine for accessing data ín tables of remote databases rather than in local tables (only in MAX version)

  • Instance Manager: a tool to start and stop MySQL Server, even remotely



To find out more details on what's new in MySQL 5.0, follow the pointers from http://dev.mysql.com/doc/mysql/en/mysql-5-0-nutshell.html

To find out the changes specific to MySQL 5.0.13 in relation to 5.0.12, see http://dev.mysql.com/doc/mysql/en/news-5-0-13.html

MySQL 5.0 is also reflected in our GUI tools and Connectors:


  • MySQL Administrator 1.1.3 and MySQL Query Browser 1.1.15 are aware of the new MySQL 5.0 features, can be used to write and test stored procedures, create views, include them in scheduled backups and much more.

  • The latest shipping versions of our Connectors work with MySQL 5.0, and all connectors (MySQL Connector/ODBC, Connector/J and Connector/NET) will support all flagship features before 5.0 goes GA.



We're pleased that we've reached a point of stability where it's been a while since we received a significant inflow of bugs that drastically impacted a large number of users. Of course, we recognize we haven't crossed the finish line yet, so we still very much need your involvement to ensure that MySQL 5.0 is the best that it possibly can be.

With MySQL 5.0 being that stable, I encourage you to do all of your new database development using MySQL 5.0:


  1. Download 5.0 from http://dev.mysql.com/downloads/mysql/5.0.html

  2. Use the new features you need

  3. Report any issues you find through our bug-reporting system at http://bugs.mysql.com/.



To show our appreciation for your efforts, we'll be fixing the bugs you find as fast as we can.

And, to provide a little extra motivation, we will be giving away Apple iPod nanos, and even full conference passes to our 2006 MySQL Users Conference, to those who deliver the most valuable feedback. Read more on http://dev.mysql.com/mysql_5_contest.html. Without your involvement and your excellent input, we at MySQL wouldn't be able to do our job: to produce high-quality database software for you to trust and use.

I look forward to your input



Thank you -- we look forward to hearing back from you -- not just about bugs but any feedback on how MySQL can help support you.

Kaj Arnö
VP Community Relations
MySQL AB

Oktoberfest 2005

This was my fourth Oktoberfest, and the first one in voller Montur, i.e. dressed in Lederhosen, a Bavarian white shirt, and Haferl shoes and socks. And it was the best one so far!

The Hippodrom tent on Sunday morning

Friday in Munich started just fine, having arrived by train from Vienna (SAP TechEd). Within three hours, I had already ticked off the top three items on my permanent Munich wish list:

  1. Buying Müslisemmeln (small non-sweet breads with raisins) at Rischart


  2. Running my favourite 11 km jogging round around Isarwehr starting from and ending at Viktualienmarkt (where I lived for two years) and going through Englischer Garten and past Deutsches Museum


  3. Leaving some money at the Hugendubel book store at Marienplatz (bought two books by Boris Akunin; his hero Fandorin is a 19th century Russian James Bond)


But the weekend had more in store.

My wife, myself and my long-time friend Miki drinking a Maß

Friday evening, my wife Kirsten and I first had a hoiber Hendl (half a chicken) at the Haxnbraterei and then made it at 22:00 into the Augustiner tent. Within 2 seconds of getting our beers (1 litre each) served, we made instant friends with the neighbouring Bavarians at our table. With a forced stop at 23:00, not many beers were consumed, but the ride back home to our friend Miki was a merry one with the usual barriers of communication disappeared.

Saturday, we met with Florian Müller to discuss how to help him becoming "European of the Year". Stay tuned!

But as Wiesn is something you have to do day-time, we went directly to meet our friends Tom & Gitti at the Winzerer Fähndl tent. Had plenty of opportunities to eat and drink some more.

As if two days (OK, with some interruptions) of Wiesn wouldn't be enough, we continued 10:30 on Sunday morning. This time at the hip Hippodrom for a breakfast of Weisswurst and (what do you think?) beer.
Weisswurst for breakfast

The climax came right after we were joined by our 11 year old son for some family fun. We went to the Teufelsrad, an attraction from 1910 aptly named "Devil's Wheel". It's a wheel with some 5-6 m in diameter, where they ask for the crowd to come up, sit down and try to stay on board fighting both the centrifugal force and the "evil" assistants using ropes and other tricks to launch the poor contestants into the periphery. While my son only managed to be in the top third of the "boys from 8 to 12" category, my wife was the overall winner of the "ladies 18 to 92" category. An eternal honour, something she as a Saupreiss ("damned northern German") will always be able to refer to in front of Bavarian friends.
My wife winning at the Teufelsrad

Thursday, 22 September 2005

Florian Müller for "European of the Year"!

Who could believe that a single person can make a difference in European politics?

Well, I could, since otherwise I wouldn't have staunchly supported Florian throughout his campaign against Software Patents. But I have to confess, Florian took us all for a ride I had no clue about in the beginning. And now he is mentioned alongside the likes of Tony Blair, Gerhard Schröder, Angela Merkel, Bono, and Bob Geldof who are also nominated by European Voice for the European of the Year awards.

Florian just issued a press statement, partly quoted below:

In a first reaction, Mueller said that he is "honored by this nomination", but he was quick to share the glory: "I really owe this to all activists and citizens who supported our cause, especially to the FFII (Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure)". Mueller has previously been listed among the "top 50 most influential people in intellectual property" by Managing Intellectual Property magazine.

Software patent critics are also pleased to see that Michel Rocard, the European Parliament's rapporteur on the software patent directive, has been nominated for the "MEP of the Year" award. On 6 July, an overwhelming majority of MEPs voted 648-32 against the EU Council's proposal for a "directive on the patentability of computer-implemented inventions". Campaigners like Mueller and the FFII were worried that the proposed legislation would have given software patents a much stronger legal status in Europe.

The FFII's Brussels representative, Erik Josefsson, was among the first to congratulate: "I'm extremely proud that Florian Mueller and Michel Rocard have been nominated because they represent countless European citizens who are concerned over software patents. Hopefully many will vote for the two, so that Europe's political leaders fully appreciate the importance of our cause."


Go vote Florian on http://www.ev50.com/poll/! I want to see former European Parliament President Pat Cox award Florian to be the European Campaigner of the Year on 29 November at the Palais d'Egmont in Brussels.

Hey, why be modest. Let's go for European of the Year, while we're at it.

Wednesday, 21 September 2005

Scale out with MySQL

Scale out with MySQL is highlighted in an interesting article CIO Jury: Microsoft licensing slammed by UK IT chiefs in the CIO Jury forum of silicon.com -- who add "Microsoft wants to have its cake, eat it and charge users to watch".

One IT director who did not wish to be named simply said open source "looks more and more tempting" while Paul Broome, IT director at 192.com, said he plans to migrate off Windows server and SQL server as soon as he can.

Broome said: "It's a millstone to enterprise for an SME. To allow us to grow, all new database servers will use 64-bit Linux and MySQL. We've had enough. We can't scale out with Microsoft as it's too expensive."


Good thinking, Paul!

Tuesday, 20 September 2005

Katrina: Contact Loved Ones with LAMP

I just heard of contactlovedones.org, a web site to help Katrina victims get in touch with each other.

It runs on LAMP and Asterisk. Feels good!

Thanks to Yaakov Menken, CEO of capalon.com in Baltimore, for the choice of technology.

Monday, 19 September 2005

German c't 20/2005 has several MySQL related articles

Germany's highly regarded c't magazine has some articles on databases in their 20/2005 issue that should hit the stores today.


  1. A database comparison

  2. A database GUI comparison

  3. A database challenge (the only one available online)



The articles are very well researched. The only errors I could find were caused by myself when I didn't respond in time ot the author of the database comparison. Yes, MyISAM has full text search. Yes, MySQL 5.0 has stored procedures, triggers, views and subqueries, regardless of whether you use InnoDB or MyISAM as the table handler. Sorry, Peter Schüler, for not replying in time!

The first article compares MySQL, Firebird, PostgreSQL, MSDE 2000 and (conditionally) SQLite.


  • Firebird is portrayed as an "even more naked database than MySQL or Postgres", i.e. lacking UI

  • PostgreSQL is noted for its ambitious goals of being Object Relational. While noting that VACUUM is not as bad as it used to be, the author also comes with a few fresh notes that I probably should learn more about

    • "The complexity of functions and optimisation possibilities sets high requirements on DBAs of PostgreSQL DBs."

    • "Without professional practices, you easily run into a knife already when installing the system"

    • "leaving out the root PW has PostgreSQL issuing a 32 char long alphanumeric code, that is very hard to type"

    • "configuration decisions at installation time require intensive preparations"




  • MSDE 2000 or "Microsoft SQL Server Desktop Engine 2000" is included, being free of charge (although not Open Source as the other databases). However, the author claims that it "allows only five simultaneous clients, has a limit of 2GB on DB size, lacks Full Text Search, provides only oSQL.exe as GUI, and lacks documentation"



For MySQL,


  • the author finds it noteworthy that the MySQL GUIs are not provided as part of the standard MySQL downloads, but have to be downloaded separately ("BTW, during the last months, MySQL has added the GUI frontends MySQL Administrator and MySQL Query Browser, which however have to be downloaded separately or installed from our CD")

    • As a result, we already had an internal debate at MySQL where we agreed on a todo item of collecting not only the GUI frontends but also the Windows related Connectors into the Windows install package

    • Thanks for the tip, c't!


  • MySQL Stored Procedures are portrayed as "apparently not yet fully developed; docs are in English only; some SQL statements are not allowed in Stored Procedures; however, the most important Flow Control statements are included even if they don't belong to the standard -- mostly FOR..NEXT is missing"
    • Yup, we knew that, can't argue against it


  • not surprisingly, MySQL gets kudos for having plenty of interfaces and books
    • Thanks for the flowers, c't!




The MySQL GUIs get a lot of positive comments. "With the new frontend components, MySQL is on its way to establish itself as the most comfortable of the server databases"

  • MySQL Administrator is "worthy of its name". The article contains a good description of the Admin functionalities, which go "even beyond what the newest version, MySQL 5.0, has to offer"
    • "The extremely versatile tuning possibilities of MySQL Server puts quite some requirements on the administrator. The information rich MySQL Administrator finally offers the correspondiding tool that helps keep the settings under control and to manage their effects on disk space and other resources"

  • MySQL Query Browser is "chock full with useful functions".
    • "As can be expected, the Query Browser helps to write queries and browse the result set".

    • "It is extraordinary that QB offers an extensive, cut-and-pasteable command reference, as is the extra documentation on PHP 4 and the MySQL C API, as is the connection to MySQL Administrator"




On behalf of MySQL AB and the GUI team, I blush. OTOH, I take pride in having recruited Mike Zinner (together with Brian Aker based on a tip by Georg Richter) two years ago. It sure was a successful recruitment! I'm looking forward to meeting with Mike in Vienna this week.

And thanks, c't, for never taking the easy shortcuts and always preferring thorough research.

Sunday, 18 September 2005

MySQL 5.0 getting bug-free

Hello world,

This is a good week to start blogging. MySQL 5.0 is more bug free than ever, we've just posted our Call for Participation for the MySQL Users Conference 2006, and I exceeded my 2005 running quota by hitting over 500 km and a new PR on my standard 13 km run.

Besides, last week, my appointment to "Vice President, Community Relations" at MySQL AB was finalised. It won't be until October before we'll make an official Press Release about this, but information usually moves more freely through the community and over blogs, anyway.

Being appointed to VP Community Relations at a company with an installed base of over 6 million, and with a user community without which neither the company nor the product would exist, is challenging, to say the least. My humble approach is to continue the tradition of our founders Monty and David, and turbo charge it by increasing the quality and quantity of the flow of information interesting to the MySQL user community.

At a SIGOSSEE ("Special Interest Group in Open Source Software for Education in Europe") meeting on Thursday, I already had my first external appearance since getting my new position. Some 50-60 education specialists attended my presentation in Stockholm.

But back to MySQL 5.0. Most of the MySQL developers have concentrated fully on getting the 5.0 release bug free already for months, and it is showing results. At the beginning of the week, we had 10 showstopper bugs left, having fixed 7 and got 4 new ones from the week before. As we are strict with the interpretation of what constitutes a showstopper, I can safely say that we haven't seen any significant inflow of bugs with drastic impact on large user groups for a while by now. With MySQL 5.0 being that stable, I'm looking forward to larger user groups upgrading to 5.0. Translating this to marketing speak, we will very soon do a Release Candidate for MySQL 5.0. In old MySQL parlance, that used to be called a Gamma release.

As for the MySQL Users Conference, did I mention that you can now submit Speaking Abstracts for review? The slow starters have time until 7 November 2005, but at least for my part, I have just made a spontaneous and strangely-timed new year's resolution to, from now on, start doing things way before the deadline. Let's see where that ambition takes me. Our Quick Poll on http://dev.mysql.com/ indicates that the top five most interesting UC topics are PHP, New Features in MySQL, Web Applications, Performance Tuning and Java -- all getting votes from more than 25 % of the respondents.

Weather has been excellent home in Grankulla. A temperature of 13 degrees and great sunshine was conducive to a new personal record of 1:09:39 on the 13 km run from home to Ikea, Esbo centrum and back home. That's an OK time for someone like me, given that I mostly talk on phone or with a co-runner (at MySQL AB usually Patrik Backman or Zack Urlocker, or with my son Alexander or daughter Sophia).

Next week, I'm off to SAP TechEd in Vienna. In addition to business meetings, I hope to connect with some of the Austrian models that I took pictures of at the World Bodypainting Festival last July in Seeboden, Austria.

And at the end of the week, already being in Vienna, I'll take the train to Munich to go to Wiesn (outside Bavaria more commonly known as Oktoberfest), where I plan to take my newly bought Lederhosen into production use.

Pfiat Ei! (*)

Kaj

(*) Bavarian greeting, more or less the closing tag of Grüss Gott.