Thursday, 31 January 2008

Last day of Sun-MySQL Integration Kickoff starting in MPK

"What will happen to us now?" That's the usual question for most employees in any acquired company, and MySQL AB is no exception. And given that less than 10% of MySQL AB is at the integration kickoff here at Sun's headquarters in Menlo Park, more than 90% are probably also asking "what is that small group of people deciding?".

Judging from the feedback I've got, those questions are of relevance not just for MySQLers, so let me re-state a couple of "old truths" and come with a few observations from MPK. (Do note the lingo -- MPK is Sun speak for Menlo Park; I'm trying to learn...).

First thing, it's "Business as Usual". We're just making plans for actions that can follow upon closure. Closure is planned (as announced earlier) in late Q3 or early Q4, where the Sun quarter numbering should be translated to mean late Q1 or early Q2 for the rest of the world.

Second thing, the atmosphere is very positive. Jonathan wants to pull a Hippocrates, doing no harm when integrating MySQL into Sun. And the way Jonathan explains it, not believing it is impossible.

Third thing, the positive atmosphere permeates all meetings. I have yet to meet a Sun employee who doesn't live and breathe the attitude that Sun wants to do what's best for the MySQL user community, the MySQL employees or MySQL as a company. That ranges from engineers over lawyers to marketing people, from executives to assistants.

Fourth thing, we have concrete issues to solve. Take IT systems, for instance. While we'll be very happy to finally get a company calendar and systematic expense reporting, and while we likely won't mind changing some administrative systems, there are systems that are near and dear to us, and that embody a lot of the value of MySQL. Such as Eventum, the support ticketing system. How shall the tasks solved by Eventum be mapped upon Sun, and Sun's other systems?

Fifth thing, questions still outnumber answers. In the very beginning right after the acquisition announcement, the number of questions grew sharply. Every answered question uncovered another, still larger set of questions. Now, it's getting slightly better. While we still have more questions than answers, we're preparing for the closure (remember, late Q1, early Q2) when plans can turn into actions.

Sixth thing, it really is "Business as Usual". So while some of us are busy planning the integration, most MySQLers have a real job. Answering customer support requests. Coding MySQL enhancements. Fixing bugs. Out on sales calls. Training MySQL users. Keeping the MySQL administration working. Clearly, we don't want to disturb that.

So in a few hours, the last day of the integration kickoff will start, we'll handle yet another set of questions, and the breakout teams will give their debriefing sessions.

For myself, it's back home when the day is over -- flying home to Munich. And next week, it won't be "business as usual" for me. It will be "holidays as sometimes", as I'll be off climbing the Wildspitze (3772 m) on skis with my son.

German interview on silicon.de

There have been many articles on the Sun-MySQL merger in the press lately. For those who read German, I recommend Martin Schindler's article "MySQL will look different" on silicon.de.



This interview describes many aspects of the Sun-MySQL integration in a short and clear way. It does say I'm a VP with MySQL since 2005, though. Make that 2001.

Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Josh Berkus at MySQL-Sun Integration Kickoff

One perhaps not-so-expected attendee at the MySQL-Sun Integration Kickoff is Josh Berkus, of PostgreSQL fame.



Zack Urlocker, Eduardo Pelegri-Llopart and Josh Berkus.

Josh gives valuable feedback within the Community track of the Integration Kickoff. Mind you, Jonathan Schwartz has reiterated Sun's support for PostgreSQL:

What happens to your commitment to PostgreSQL?


It grows. The day before we announced the acquisition, and within an hour of signing the deal, I put a call into Josh Berkus, who leads our work with Postgres inside of Sun. I wanted to be as clear as I could: this transaction increases our investment in open source, and in open source databases. And increases our commitment to Postgres - and the database industry broadly. The same goes for our work with Apache Derby, and our JavaDB.

Josh says it exactly right on his blog - Sun wants to be the leading provider of datacenters. Not just MySQL datacenters. Exactly.

From Josh Berkus's blog entry on Sun acquiring MySQL, I'd especially like to quote his item #4:
No, I will not be fighting with the MySQL staff. While the two projects compete for users sometimes, the world of database development is very small and most of us know each other. Some of us are even friends.

Jonathan, Greg and Monty

Yesterday here at the MySQL-Sun Integration Kickoff, MySQL Co-Founder Michael "Monty" Widenius and I met with Sun's CTO Greg Papadopoulos. For the beginning of the meeting, also Sun's CEO Jonathan Schwartz popped in.

And just as when the founders met Sun's Rich Lang and David Douglas prior to the agreement being announced, this was a very positive meeting. Lots of mutual respect, and lots of mutual interest in listening to what the other party has to say. Relaxed atmosphere, full of anticipation.

The areas touched upon ranged from the right for developers to spend time on other FOSS projects besides MySQL, over the newly released Maria storage engine to possibilities for deep technical integration between MySQL and Sun's software and hardware.

I could sense a mutual hunger for action, for change, and for making things happen. Feels good!

Hippocrates and Jonathan

For a split second, I thought Jonathan said he thought of Sun's acquisition of MySQL as "hypocritical". Of course, what he said was "Hippocratical", in the sense of the old Greek with the oath for doctors: "Do no harm."



Jonathan appeared in front of the integration team with MySQL and Sun employees here in Menlo Park. What he said was very comfortable to hear for MySQLers old and new:

  • Jonathan sees a great strategic fit between MySQL and Sun, and that's the prime precondition for any good acquisition.

  • The strategic fit thinking is seconded by financial analysts and technical observers alike.

  • "Honour the community": Jonathan sees the community of MySQL users as the starting point for all decisions related to the integration.

  • "Honour the employees": Jonathan respects the group of MySQL employees who has taken MySQL to where it is today.

  • "No cost synergy": The deal was not struck to take cost out, but to enable new opportunities for both deep technical innovation all the way to the microelectronics level, and business deals with MySQL users not yet turned into customers.


Jonathan is absolutely very familiar with MySQL, and he wants us to win. I have a hard time imagining how anybody but Jonathan could better combine being humble and down-to-earth with an attitude for winning. If I had merely read his concluding statement, I wouldn't have been nearly as thrilled as I am having experienced it:

"I don't want to be shy about winning. If you don't win with a smile on your face, why bother?"

Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Preparing for the Sun-MySQL Integration Kickoff

The last few days before the Sun-MySQL Integration Kickoff happening 29-31 January 2008 at Sun's headquarters in Menlo Park, quite a few European MySQLers have approached me with concerns related to the potential danger of a skewed focus on the US in the integration discussions. After all, MySQL AB originates in Scandinavia and almost a majority of our employees work outside the US, so some aspects of MySQL AB should remain Scandinavian or European, even though we're been acquired by a Silicon Valley based company.



While this geographic concern will remain on my agenda, yesterday evening provided some peace of mind on this account. Summoned by our Scandinavian CEO, a group of MySQLers (American and European) met at the Ikea restaurant in East Palo Alto.

Both the furniture and the food at Ikea looked much like in Gloms, Esbo (in my native Finland), or Kungens kurva close to Stockholm, or anywhere in Europe. Or presumably anywhere in the world. Even the meatballs tasted the same.

Another point of comfort for worried Europeans is the German Handelsblatt blog, where the blogger wonders who actually acquired whom -- and what "the Vikings" will make happen with the acquiring company.

We'll see!

Sunday, 27 January 2008

Skiing with Ötzi and Alexander 3-9 February 2008

Long before I first got to know about Sun's acquisition of MySQL, I had booked this year's prime skiing holiday. That's going to be the week right after the Integration Kickoff in Menlo Park, on 3-9 February 2008. And it's a special type of skiing holiday: It's Boys Only, i.e. I'm going with my 13 year old son Alexander to Pitztal in Austria.



We're going to the Ötztaler Gletscher, the glacier where Ötzi the Iceman, a well-preserved natural mummy of a man from about 3300 BC (53 centuries ago) was found in 1991.

Determined not to end up like Ötzi, Alexander and I will get extensive off-piste training under the direction of a certified Austrian mountain guide who according to his web profile has climbed "Cho Oyu, Elbrus, Mt. Mc Kinley, Ojos del Salado, Mustagh Ata, Pumo Ri and Aconcagua" and is heading for Shisha Pangma (8013 m) later this year. We're walking uphill with furs under our skis so we won't slip down. The main summit to be reached is the Wildspitze, at 3772 m Austria's second-highest mountain next to Großglockner. Learning how to climb off-piste terrain and how to use various glacier equipment (such as beepers for finding skiers buried in avalanches) during the day, we'll be relaxing at the Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten in the evening. It's huge sauna and wellness area makes it just a tad more luxurious than the spartaneous Dortmunder Hütte or Johannishütte, where I've spent earlier adventures with the DAV Summit Club, the tour organiser owned by the German Alpine Association (the world's largest alpine association).

Der Berg ruft! [1]

[1] The mountain calls.

Integration Offsite in Menlo Park 29-31 January 2008

Monday, I'm off to the Sun-MySQL Integration Offsite in Menlo Park. That's where we're going to plan the next steps of making MySQL a part of Sun. It's a three-day offsite, from Tuesday to Thursday, and I'm looking forward to meeting with many new colleagues.

Integrating companies is never easy, and I don't expect this integration to be trivial, either. But thinking about the many cultural similarities between MySQL and Sun, about our mutual commitment to Open Source, about the positive reception of the acquisition by MySQL employees, and about the positive reception also from the side of Sun, I think we're in for a great ride and some exciting times, in the best sense of the words.

Sun, here we come!

Sun Finland visit & memory lane

I spent a couple of hours on Friday at Sun's office in Finland. It was a visit full of mutual anticipation.

Until the deal is closed, Sun and MySQL are merely planning joint activities, with execution happening once the deal is closed. Already now, lots of touching points were revealed in the informal discussions with Margot Wik, Thomas Branders and their colleagues. It seems both Sun and MySQL have a hard time not going into detail, but such are the rules of the game.



Before Sun Finland's Friday afternoon coffee, Margot, Thomas and I picked the opportunity to drop by at Teknologföreningen, the Swedish language student corporation at Helsinki University of Technology. That's the place where I learned to know Margot and Thomas, as well as our CEO Mårten, and many others. And where I "learned" how to sing Helan går. Some things hadn't changed much since the early 1980s. Oh, perhaps our age. Margot was looking out for classmates from school, not of her own, but of her eldest son.

The afternoon coffee drew what I understood to be a large crowd. Sun Finland has about 130 employees, and I counted over 60 coffee and tea drinkers. With Finland being the country where most of MySQL's original code was written, I spent some time explaining the early days of MySQL, both pre-1995 (when MySQL was first released) and pre-2001 (when VC funding started the commercial growth of MySQL). We then quickly moved on to more current issues, and my impression was that the Sun guys in Finland have a hard time waiting for the action to start.

I could imagine less fortunate stars, under which to start an integration process!

Monday, 21 January 2008

Sun Finland picked for the inaugural ambassador visit



Two employees of Sun Finland, Margot Wik (whom I studied French with in the 1980s at the Helsinki University of Technology) and Thomas Branders (another fellow HUT student, from whom I tried to learn how to sing Helan går while having fun at HUT's Swedish language student corporation Teknologföreningen, but don't blame him for the end result on YouTube) invited me to Sun Finland's Friday Coffee Meeting 25.1.2008 at about 14:00. I was happy to accept. It's only natural to do the inaugural ambassador visit in my native country.

I'm looking forward to learning from Margot, Tomi and their colleagues, and telling them about MySQL!

Back from MySQL All-Company Meeting in Orlando

The MySQL All-Company Meeting in Orlando is now over. Many are already back at home (= back at work), and others are in transition. What a meeting!



One of the mildest surprises of the week were the name tags carrying a flag that represented the country of residence, as opposed to nationality. These matters are emotional. While I happen to like Germany, it's not as if I were German. Teased by others for deserting my native country of Finland, I spent time retaliating at innocent fellow countrymen for their "even more foreign" flag than mine. Max Mether had a French flag. Birgitta Löfberg had a Swedish flag (OK, that's the least foreign, but still foreign). And, for the largest distance from Finland, Mårten Mickos carried a US flag. Eminently teasable.

Also, on my initial name tag, I had the title "Sr. Director Sales Operations". However, it turned out not to be an innovative way for HR to tell me about being transferred to a new position, but to be a mere mistake. I must have complained too loudly to our All-Company Meeting organiser, Michael Schiff (whose daytime job includes being "Sr. Director Sales Operations"), since he "rewarded" me by handing out a new name tag:



I happily carried that name tag on the flip side of my real tag throughout the conference, and I got many more jokes and laughs out of the flag that I carried, than the title "Schiff's Admin.". Ah, flags have so many connotations.

Michael Schiff: You did a superb job arranging the All-Company Meeting! And remember to calibrate that against the Scandinavian scale, where "not bad" in Scandinavian translates to "great" in American. Thank you! Happy to be your Admin anytime!

Sunday, 20 January 2008

Giuseppe Maxia the Data Charmer is MySQL's new Community Team Leader

Giuseppe Maxia (stress on the "i", MaxIa, not MAxia) is now the new Community Team Leader. On Friday, our Data Charmer from Sardinia in Italy agreed to assume the responsibility of leading our Community Team, as I'm busy with my new appointment to Ambassador to Sun.

Giuseppe Maxia

This means that Giuseppe now has a team of three Community Managers for each time zone, Jay Pipes in North America (NAM), Lenz Grimmer in Europe (EMEA), and Colin Charles in Asia Pacific (APAC). For the time being, Giuseppe reports to me.

Jay Pipes is the Program Chair for the upcoming MySQL Conference & Expo in Santa Clara, the main MySQL community event of the year.

One issue remains. "Community Team Leader" seems like a boring title. What title should we pick for Giuseppe? Given Giuseppe's character and name of his blog (http://datacharmer.blogspot.com/), why not "Chief Community Charmer"? Or if not Charmer, then what about "Catalyst?" If you have ideas, email him and/or me!

Saturday, 19 January 2008

Becoming MySQL's Ambassador to Sun

This is a week full of changes. It's been a wonderful week for me, meeting with so many MySQLers, telling the rest of the departments about our Community, having productive meetings, being acquired by Sun, and singing Karaoke with my colleagues from the Legal Team as well as performing drinking songs that get posted on YouTube.



The latest change came today. I'll put my duties as VP Community Services on a spare flame, and focus on the integration of MySQL into Sun. Title unknown (as we're still just planning the integration, not executing it), but something like "MySQL Ambassador to Sun".

We want to take Sun by storm. My task will be to get out the message to Sun. "It's not that I want you to filter the emails, but ...", said my boss MÃ¥rten. And as usual with sentences that start with "It's not that I want you to", the exact opposite is meant. So I'll try to distinguish the requests for "super-important trade events in Muchasransk" from those truly worthy of attention, which I'll promote within MySQL.

I'll learn about Sun. I'll teach MySQL about Sun. I'll teach Sun about MySQL. As part of that, I'll visit as many Sun facilities as possible, with a special emphasis on those outside the US (as we've got plenty of other MySQL executives and VPs on US soil).

It's going to be great fun!

Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Teaching Sun a lesson

Part of what makes me very happy about our Sun deal is the interest Sun has expressed in learning from us. That has been evident in all the various meetings here in Orlando -- be it with the founders, with the individual departments, or in front of the entire audience.

So as a way to teach Sun a first lesson, I had prepared a gig for the end of the presentations during the morning. We have a tradition of singing songs in our company, stemming from our Scandinavian heritage. "We take this very seriously", I had heard Rich Green comment. And I'm happy he meant it in a very respectful manner: Corporate culture is important. Drinking songs themselves are meant to be purely fun, and not taken seriously, although they are surrounded by plenty of fairly rigid tradition.

In order to make it light for our future colleagues from Sun, as well as our own recent recruits as well as others unfortunate enough not to know the simplest of all drinking songs by rote, we prepared a phonetic translation for Helan går and put it up as a slide:

Helan går: Phonetic version (sing this!)


Hell and gore
Shung Hop father Allan Allan ley.
Hell and gore
Shung Hop father Allan ley.

Oh handsome in the hell and tar
hand hell are in the half and four.
Hell and gore <drink now>
Shung Hop father Allan ley

A few of us probably sang that without understanding what the underlying Swedish words actually mean. So this brings me to:

Helan går: Translated version (think this!)


The first drink ("whole glass") goes,
sing <long expression of joy>!
The first drink goes,
sing <short expression of joy>!

And anyone who doesn't take the first drink,
will be disallowed the second drink.
The first drink goes!
<drink here and now>
Sing <short expression of joy>

The original version, which is both phonetically correct, and carries the right meaning, goes like this:

Helan går: Original version (learn this!)


Helan går
sjung hopp faderallan lallan lej.
Helan går,
sjung hoppfaderallan lej.

Och den som inte helan tar,
han ej heller halvan får.
Helan går,
sjung hopp faderallan lej.

Links:

Talking to MySQL Founders Monty and David on Sun

An important question for MySQLers and MySQL users alike is: "What do the MySQL Founders think of the acquisition of MySQL by Sun?"

Yesterday, I had an opportunity to explore that question further, in my first personal encounter with Sun. Already before that encounter, I had asked Monty a couple of questions.

Kaj: Monty, in the 1990s, you developed MySQL on Solaris. Why was that?

Monty: In the early years when I worked with Sun products, I was always
impressed with the stability and reliability of both hardware and
operating system. That was the reason why we used Sun Microsystems technology to develop MySQL.

Kaj: You did that development ages ago. What do you think about the Sun Microsystems of 2008?

Monty: In recent times, I have been very happy with Sun's contributions to the Open Source world, for example Open Solaris, Java and Open Office. Also, I am impressed by their understanding of Open Source, as witnessed by the Open Office contributor license.

Kaj: I know you haven't had too much personal interaction with Sun so far, relating to the acquisition agreement. What do you expect to happen between the two companies?

Monty: I know that MySQL AB has a lot to learn from Sun when it comes to Open Source, and hope Sun desires and will be able to learn from us. Through this agreement, we can contribute our knowledge to each other, so that we together can create something even bigger.

Based on the interaction between Monty, David and the senior Sun representatives we met, I think it's safe to say that there was a lot of excitement both sides. Founder expectations are high regarding what Sun can mean for MySQL. And I'm happy to note that the feeling is mutual -- it was my firm impression that the Sun guys we met have high expectations regarding what the MySQL founders can continue to contribute to the future of Sun.

Finally: Today during the presentations by MÃ¥rten Mickos, Jonathan Schwartz and Rich Green, one particular person has been very active, and very supportive of the agreement. That's Monty.

We're living in exciting times!

Sun acquires MySQL

This morning, Sun Microsystems announced plans to acquire MySQL AB.



After all the industry speculation about MySQL being a "hot 2008 IPO", this probably takes most of us by surprise -- users, community members, customers, partners, and employees. And for all of these stakeholders, it may take some time to digest what this means. Depending on one's relationship to MySQL, the immediate reaction upon hearing the news may be a mixture of various feelings, including excitement, pride, disbelief and satisfaction, but also anxiety.

Being part of the group planning this announcement for the last few weeks, I have had the fortune to contemplate the consequences during several partially sleepless nights (I usually sleep like a log). And over the coming days and weeks, I'll provide a series of blogs with various viewpoints of the deal.

First of all, let's point out a couple of facts about Sun Microsystems -- since all MySQL stakeholders may not be fully up to speed about Sun.

Facts on Sun Microsystems



  • Founded 1982 by Andreas von Bechtolsheim, Vinod Khosla, Bill Joy and Scott McNealy

  • 34.200 employees worldwide, 13.9 billion dollars (9.4 billion euros) in revenues FY 2007, market cap (total value of all Sun shares) about the same as yearly revenues

  • Grew astronomically with the Web, suffered from the Web bubble, now profitable over the last four quarters

  • Lead by Scott McNealy until 2006, now by Jonathan Schwartz (a prolific blogger)

  • The world's biggest contributor to Open Source: Open Office, Java (now under GPL), GlassFish, NetBeans -- and soon MySQL

  • Environmentally friendly; large numbers of distributed employees working at least partially from home

  • Headquartered in Santa Clara, California, just south of Cupertino (MySQL's North American headquarters)

  • Counts some of the worlds most brilliant innovators amongst its current and past employees


For me personally, I'm excited to get the opportunity to actively contribute to the successful integration of MySQL into Sun. I want to make an impact in merging our corporate cultures, and I look forward to making that a bi-directional process. Since I am based outside the US, I am particularly excited about meeting the many Sun engineers located in Hamburg (Germany), Grenoble (France), Prague (Czech Republic), St Petersburg (Russia), Beijing (China) and Bangalore (India).

But let me now turn to the more general planned implications of Sun's acquisition of MySQL AB.

What does the acquisition of MySQL by Sun mean for MySQL users?


Given Sun's proven track record as the largest contributor to Open Source, I think MySQL users have plenty of reason to feel happy about the acquisition. There are many companies that attempt to ride the wave of positive attention towards Open Source, but in my judgement, Sun gets it right. Sun gets Open Source. Java has been released under the GPL. There's the OpenSolaris operating system. There's Open Office / Star Office. There's the GlassFish application server. There's the NetBeans IDE tool. And more.

Sun's track record is embodied by individuals with a solid set of FOSS values, such as Simon Phipps (Sun's Chief Open Source Officer), Ian Murdock (Debian founder, now Sun's Chief OS Strategist), and Josh Berkus (PostgreSQL lead). I've met all three in various FOSS arenas, I respect their work, and I am looking forward to be working closely with them.

Anxiety on the part of MySQL users may stem from Sun's success with Java and Solaris. Will MySQL's support for other programming languages and operating systems now be given less attention?

Absolutely not. MySQL is still being managed by the same people, and the charter is still the same. There is no need for reducing the set of platforms or languages. It only makes sense for us to continue to support defacto Web development standards like LAMP, as well as emerging ones like Ruby and Eclipse. This deal is about addition, not subtraction.

But let's dwell on the topic of Solaris a bit. Solaris has a special position in the heart of MySQL, as it was the first platform under which MySQL was developed. Linux came second. Internally, code coverage tests were long performed just on Sun. And with the DTrace probes planned as part of 6.0, some types of optimisation of MySQL applications are the easiest on Solaris.

I would expect that having access to the topmost Solaris and Java experts within the same company will accelerate our development for the benefit of MySQL users on the Solaris platform, and in the Java environment, respectively.

But I don't expect that in any way to be at the cost of other popular operating systems (Linux, Windows, Mac OS/X, other Unixes etc.) or development environments (PHP, Ruby on Rails, Perl, Python, ODBC, C++, C#, VB etc.). MySQL grew with LAMP and MySQL without LAMP at its core is simply unimaginable. It was MySQLs part of LAMP that interested Sun in the first place. Hence I don't see Sun having a platform migration strategy, but to continue to be an integral part of the dot in .com.

So while the news may be especially good for MySQL users on Solaris and/or Java, the news is definitely good irrespective of environment: As part of Sun, the MySQL database will have immediate access to technical, marketing, OSS developer relations and sales rescources that would have taken us years to build as an independent company.

What does the acquisition of MySQL by Sun mean for the core MySQL community?


I'd like to think that the acquisition of MySQL by Sun will be seen as good news also by the core group of users who form the active MySQL community. This is because Sun is a safe haven for MySQL. Sun knows Open Source, and to the extent things change, I expect Sun to add value to our community. I don't expect huge change, though. We continue to work with our quality contributors, we continue to provide our MySQL Forums, the Planet MySQL blog aggregator, we remain on the #mysql-dev and #mysql channels on Freenode, we provide MySQL University lessons, we meet at the MySQL Users Conference. We'll put effort into connecting the many FOSS enthusiasts and experts at Sun -- whom we will now learn to know better -- with our active user community.

What does the acquisition of MySQL by Sun mean for the MySQL employees?


Admittedly, this blog is not directed at MySQL employees. We have a different, internal blog called "Village MySQL" for that purpose (as opposed to "Planet MySQL"). But many of our users, community members, customers, and partners have close relationships with MySQL employees -- and you may be interested in what Sun's acquisition of MySQL means for the employees.

For employees, Sun's acquisition means continuity. MÃ¥rten Mickos will continue to lead us, and our executives and key engineering leads plan to join Sun. In addition, our existing engineering staff will be invited to come over as well. Sun executives have made us feel very welcomed and valued.

Very important for our employees is the fact that we can continue to work on Free and Open Source software. We can continue to work from home (as most of us do, including myself). Titles, reporting structures, and long-term goals may change, but as acquisition goes, the Sun culture as I've experienced it so far seems fairly similar to ours.

And -- whether it's destiny, divinity or just good luck -- we get the opportunity to digest all of this together, during the MySQL All-Company Meeting here in Orlando. It goes on this week until Saturday 19 Jan.

Being acquired by Sun is unique for all of us MySQLers. But for two very special employees, it's something even more. I'm thinking of our founders, Michael "Monty" Widenius and David Axmark. I'm very happy for them. Sure, the transaction has a financial impact on them, and it's positive. But we're humble Scandinavians, so we don't flash money, nor even talk about it. More importantly, I can see their heritage being in good hands at Sun. They didn't develop MySQL in order to Get Rich Quick; in fact, they rejected offers that would have accomplished that goal during the Bubble. They developed MySQL in order to have a positive impact on the world of computing. And as a step in that direction, they took in venture financing.

VCs are more motivated by money than our founders, and obviously look for a return on their investment. That involves either an IPO or a trade sale. Of all candidates to acquire MySQL, I cannot imagine a more ideal buyer from a founder perspective than Sun Microsystems. If I know our founders right (and I've known Monty since the late 1970s and David since the 1980s), they will use this deal as an opportunity to accomplish even more within the space of Open Source and Sun Microsystems.

Congratulations, Monty and David! And congratulations, MySQL users, community members, customers, partners and employees!

P.S. I promise more later!

Sunday, 13 January 2008

Germany smells good

Giuseppe Maxia had a stop-over yesterday on his way to the MySQL Staff Meeting. We met for community discussions, and rounded off with Weißbier and dinner in Munich's famous Hofbräuhaus.

What a fantastic feeling! The Bavarian spirit of joy and happiness has been decoupled from tobacco stench! I've always liked the first and hated the second.

So the German non-smoker protection legislation of 1 January 2008 is good news for anyone considering arranging meetings in Germany. You will no longer be "welcomed" at the airport by an offensive smell. Headaches in German restaurants will now correlate mostly with the amount of alcohol you drink.

Germany just became an even better place to work and live.

Tuesday, 8 January 2008

New Open Source Marketing Consultancy

For some reason, Germany and Open Source go very well together. That's one of the reasons I moved to Germany a good year ago.



Now, I note a new Open Source marketing consultancy popping up in southern Germany. Not that such companies are very tied to geography. It's Sandro Groganz, of Mindquarry and eZ Systems fame, who has set up shop.

Sandro will help companies and organisations, both in their capacities as creators, contributors, and investors. Read more about this on his well-organised blog. Good luck, Sandro!

Monday, 7 January 2008

MySQL AB meeting in Orlando in a week

One week to go! Then we'll have MySQL AB’s biggest internal meeting ever, with some 400 MySQLers being shipped to Orlando, Florida.



Almost four years ago in 2004, the company met in Cancún, Mexico. A year before that in 2003, we met in Budapest, Hungary. In 2002, we met in St Petersburg, Russia. In 2001, we met in Helsinki, Finland. In 2000, they (I wasn't on board at that time) met in Monterey, USA. As we met last time in Cancún, we were fewer people in the whole company than last September at the Developer Mtg in Heidelberg, Germany.

I'm looking forward to meeting with all my fellow MySQLers. Besides all the working and catching-up, I expect to do some running with fellow MySQLers, share some photographs, and just enjoy spending face-to-face time.

Right now, I'm preparing for this by looking through and setting the agendas for various meetings with other teams, as well as 1on1 mtgs with my team. And I even plan to create a check-list for random beer encounters and store it in my phone. Few things would disturb me more than sitting on my flight back across the Atlantic, only to realise that I forgot to talk to somebody special, and will need to wait forever to get the next opportunity.

Saturday, 5 January 2008

1259 km

MySQLers share many hobbies. One of them is running. After the holiday season, I allowed myself to do some statistics on last year's running, and add some personal reflections, only marginally related to work and MySQL.

Running is often a social event at MySQL, where a sizable portion of my 108 runs last year were with other MySQLers: Six times with Zack Urlocker (EVP Products), six times with Patrik Backman (Dir SW Eng), twice each with Larry Stefonic (SVP APAC) and Clint Smith (Legal Counsel), and once each with Kristofer Pettersson (SW Eng), Saskia Schweitzer (Training coordinator), Mikael Ronstršm (Principal Engineer/Senior MySQL Architect), and Nicolas Pujol (Sr Director, Alliances & Channels). Running can even be social time spent with non-runners (not just on the phone), as three of my runs were with MySQLers on bike: Once with Michael "Monty" Widenius (Co-founder), once with Lenz Grimmer (Community Team) and half a time with Matthew Montgomery (Support Eng) who suffered a flat tyre.

For me, statistics can be one of many good motivators for running.



I'm proud to note a new record of 1259 km for last year, which is a lot more than the earlier years (the time series for 2001 to 2006 goes 523 km, 477 km, 424 km, 501 km, 809 km, 673 km). Also the pace is faster. My average speed is up from around 9 km/h in the early years of the century to nearly 11 km/h last year.



In fact, I spent nearly 120 hours (4.9 days, to be exact) running during 2007:


Month km Time km/h min/km Ct
1 Januari 61 km 61 km 6:04:05 10,1 km/h 5:55,6 6
2 Februari 47 km 108 km 4:32:11 10,3 km/h 5:49,3 4
3 Mars 92 km 200 km 8:55:22 10,3 km/h 5:48,0 8
4 April 145 km 346 km 13:58:56 10,4 km/h 5:46,2 13
5 Maj 119 km 465 km 11:06:24 10,7 km/h 5:35,7 10
6 Juni 154 km 619 km 14:03:05 10,9 km/h 5:29,1 13
7 Juli 71 km 690 km 6:35:17 10,8 km/h 5:31,8 7
8 Augusti 82 km 772 km 7:31:26 10,9 km/h 5:29,7 7
9 September 128 km 901 km 11:42:47 11,0 km/h 5:28,4 11
10 Oktober 131 km 1 032 km 11:27:24 11,4 km/h 5:15,1 11
11 November 130 km 1 161 km 11:45:28 11,0 km/h 5:26,4 10
12 December 97 km 1 259 km 8:59:28 10,8 km/h 5:33,2 8

2007 1 259 km 1258,51 4,9 d 10,8 km/h 5:33,8 108


(If km/h and min/km tells you as little as miles/h and min/miles tell me, you may benefit from my computation in Neo Office that the slowest month of January had an average speed of 6,3 miles/hour and a pace of 9:32 minutes per mile, whereas the fastest month of October had an average speed of 7,1 miles/hour and a pace of 8:27 minutes per mile).

Some MySQLers of course grow tired of all these runners boasting their training, and would prefer us to all play poker instead. Personally, I'm glad to note that an ex couch potato like myself can make steady progress over the years. At school, I always belonged to the last quarter of boys being picked out for any team sports.

Benefits from running are many. Besides being social and healthy, it increases stamina. Stamina is good not just for work, but also for other sports activities: Running helped me climb the Großvenediger mountain (3674 m) in July without belonging to the most tired quarter of climbers in our group. And I enjoy winter sports (last year snowboarding in Wolkenstein in Italy) even more, when tiredness seldom if ever hits my legs.

Finally, running is a great way to follow the seasons in the most beautiful areas close to where you live or travel. I have a set of regular runs that I prefer over others, and where I do my seasonal observations. Of the 108 runs during 2007, 71 were 11,79 km runs around Isarwehr (in Munich), 20 were 11,6 km runs around Sellmo (near my country house in Nagu, Finland -- an extended MÅ¡viken Runt by Nagu IF), 3 were 12,99 km runs around Ikea (in Grankulla, Finland) and 14 elsewhere: Orlando, Rancho San Antonio, Palo Alto, Portland, Hamburg (Sports Day with Lenz), Heidelberg, and a few non-Isarwehr runs in Munich. BTW, thanks Garmin Forerunner for measuring the distances.

For 2008, I look out to run more and faster than 2007, and to be able to support more mountaineering, more snowboarding, and perhaps a "trans Alp" on a mountain bike. Whether I'll go for my fifth marathon somewhere remains to be seen.