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

  • 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

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


Kaj Arnö
VP Community Relations

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!


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


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