Friday, 5 September 2008

The rumours on Monty resigning

We have a rumour of MySQL co-founder Michael "Monty" Widenius resigning, as posted by Valleywag and expanded by Sheeri Kritzer Cabral.


Usually, I wouldn't comment on rumours. But as I've been asked copious amounts of questions, let me make an exception today.

First, it's a rumour. Technically there is no resignation letter. However, I spoke to Monty yesterday, and yes, resignation is an option he considers.

Second, Monty's resignation has been a possible outcome already since years before the Sun acquisition. Perhaps his resignation at some point is inevitable, given that the type of skills and qualities needed to make MySQL great are different from those needed for working productively in a larger organisation (and I am referring to the size of the MySQL team, not Sun).

Monty indeed has been thinking for the past several years about retiring into a smaller company of his own where he could focus on special needs and engineering work related to the MySQL server, which is his passion. As is widely known, Monty single-handedly developed the initial MySQL product in the 1980s and 1990s, taking the world by storm long before most of us joined MySQL AB. And Monty has continued to work in the company he founded, for the purpose of fully commercialising the potential of MySQL. He has remained a major shareholder until the acquisition by Sun Microsystems in February 2008.

All of us who have worked at MySQL (and now Sun) know the vital role that Monty played in creating the product, building a loyal user community, and always advocating for the three software design priorities he settled for when the MySQL project started: reliability, performance and ease of use. Monty's passion for the code has only been surpassed by his passion for the users of it. And whatever happens, I don't expect his passions to change.

Should Monty indeed leave MySQL, it would signal the dawn of a new era. Over the last several years, we have developed our engineering team to be independent of single persons -- including Monty. Naturally, the value that Monty as a core member has provided has been enormous, but at the same time we have tried to make sure that we have backups and stand-ins. We are not done with that work, but we're getting in shape.

Monty leaving us would be a sad moment in that it changes a model we have been working under for the last 13 years. At the same time I'm sure we'll continue to work with Monty and turn to him as a superb expert in key areas of technology.

Overall, we are continuing to serve customers as before. New versions are being prepared, existing versions are being maintained and bugs are being fixed. MySQL version 5.1 is going through its final release candidate versions and is expected to go GA by the end of the calendar year. And we have just opened the call for papers for the MySQL Conference in April. The theme for 2009 is "Innovation Everywhere".

In summary, I can neither confirm nor deny the rumour. But I hope my posting has shed some light on the situation.


  1. Kaj,

    I'm excited to hear about 5.1 most likely going to GA (just as 5.0 active development stops)!

  2. Swinging the Drizzle beat on IPC ......

    Following the recent news rumours about Monty leaving MySQL, I just wanted to tell you that Brian Aker is giving a keynote speech about "To Drizzle MySQL" on this year's International PHP Conference at Mainz, Germany which is happening from Octobe...

  3. Monty quit the job...

    Kristian Köhntopp posted the following (German speaking) blog entry: "Monty on the run" stating that Monty quit his job at MySQL/Sun. He wonders where Monty's new job will be...


    If you followed the last months, Brian Aker and some ot...

  4. "In summary, I can neither confirm nor deny the rumour. But I hope my posting has shed some light on the situation." (odd bolding removed)

    Er...don't you think those sentences are contradictory?

  5. Monty on the run...

    Sheeri hat News: Monty hat bei Sun/MySQL gekündigt. Arbeiten muß er ja nicht mehr, denn Geld ist genug da. Andererseits ist Monty nicht der Typ, der zu Hause sitzt und Comics liest (ok, ist er, aber das ist nicht abendfüllend für ihn). Noch ist ni...

  6. You start out saying "First, it’s a rumour." then end saying "I can neither confirm nor deny the rumour."??

  7. Log Buffer #113: A Carnival of the Vanities for DBAs...

    This is the 113th edition of Log Buffer, the weekly review of database blogs.
    Sheeri Cabral gets things going this week with her coverage of this rumour: Monty Widenius Leaves Sun/MySQL. If it turns out to be true, that seems like bad–or at leas...

  8. sadly to say but that sounds like Sun's acquisition machine in action

  9. Nicely written Kai

  10. [...] ha­s­ don­e­ a­ s­pe­cta­cula­r job of c­onfu­sing th­e h­ell ou­t of everyone with a­n eq­u­iv­o­­ca­ting­ po­­st [...]

  11. [...] letter. However, I spoke to Monty yesterday, and yes, resignation is an option he considers,” writes Kaj before expanding on some of the reasons that Monty might consider leaving Sun and how the MySQL [...]