Thursday, 14 May 2009

SELECTing SELECT statements for Wordpress MU blogging statistics

Sometimes I miss the coding I did last century. Today I was reminded of some of the fun, when I had set my mind to doing some statistics on my blogging.

In a blog entry on I describe what I did.

The blog entry may be of interest for those who use WordPress and are set back by the huge amounts of tables it generates. I happen to host 18 blogs and with each blog requiring 8 tables, that's a total of 144 tables. Add the 9 top-level blogs and I've got 153 tables to navigate.

The blog entry I wrote 

  • identifies the key fields

  • shows how to do stats on individual blogs

  • creates a statistics table into which I aggregate relevant entries from individual blog tables

  • uses SELECT to generate SELECT statements

  • and ends up with some statistics on the 253 blog entries in my WordPress.

I also studied the wp_n_comments tables, and came to the conclusion that I'll need to use some global DELETEs to clean up spam comments that have found their way to my site.

I found out that, strangely enough, I haven't approved a single comment that includes the character string "viagra"

select comment_approved,count(*)
from wp_4_comments
where comment_content like "%viagra%"
group by comment_approved;

The same applies to "cialis".

So I issued

delete from wp_4_comments 
where comment_content like "%cialis%";

delete from wp_4_comments
where comment_content like "%viagra%";

but I still have quite a bit of cleaning up to do, since despite deleting first 759 cialis entries and then 411 viagra entries, I still have 3683 unapproved comments to clean up (and I suspect there are less than 10 real comments that have slipped my attention in my inbox, when I've got notification of them).

At any rate, I got my statistics and had more efficient and fun (albeit incomplete) spam cleaning than ever before!

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

How do MySQL users keep track of digital pictures?

On my non-MySQL blog, I just wrote a blog post called "Photo Manager: How do you keep track of your pictures?". I'm looking for Open Source Software that helps me keep track of my 100,000+ digital pictures. I wrote specs on dreamt-up software called “Robfat” (for rename, order, backup, find, archive, tag) as I want to remove excess fat from my HDs (and CD/DVD cabinets).

And then I thought this may have a MySQL dimension:

What if we had an "EXIF Storage Engine"? What if we could update EXIF tags directly from the MySQL command line, with UPDATE statements, and SELECT picture file names based on tags and other file characteristics?

But beyond this technical aspect, I think many, many MySQL users are avid photographers and may have input about the specs themselves, or even know of existing software that satisfied the needs.

So please go to the blog post and comment!

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Presenting and blogging in Chinese

Travelling to Hongkong and Taipei has made such an impression on me, that I couldn't help but add two new blogs to my homepage

Guanxi means "relations", as in "Community Relations". It's also a very common word describing how to get things done in China. It even has its own English language Wikipedia entry.

Yi-ling-yi means one-oh-one, as in Taipei 101. This number sequence also means "special" in Chinese. Taipei 101 is the world's highest completed skyscraper. Needless to say, that merits another Wikipedia entry, not to mention a blog entry in Traditional Chinese.

Tomorrow, I'll make another attempt at giving a short MySQL speech in Mandarin. Well, technically speaking, it's already today, as it's 3:30am in Taipei. My internal clock has gone awry.

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

On the Merits of Voting

Just before the MySQL User Conference, Dups implemented a small little feature for Planet MySQL: "voting". We wanted to see what a voting system might mean to you, our PlanetMySQL readers.

The question is now how to improve the voting mechanism to make it more useful. The goal is for everyone to see what you and your peers think are the best PlanetMySQL entries over a given week.

Here are some of the options:

1. Open up voting to everyone regardless of whether they are logged in or not. Currently you can only vote if you are logged in with a account. Let's face it, a login gives a barrier to entry even as much as it gives us the security of knowing we won't get spammed.

One option is to allow all to vote, within the constraints of spam control of some kind. Another option is to have voting for non-logged in users to count, but count less than those who login. This gives voters the incentive to login and magnify their voice, but allows anyone to have a vote if they choose not to login. An example would be to have a logged in vote worth 1 and a non-logged in vote worth 0.1

The problem, of course, is that we would be setting an artificial "quality" judgement on your vote.

2. We add voting links into the RSS Feed itself, so you can tell the world what you think of blog posts from within your RSS reader. We could also automate a posting of the Top voted entries on PlanetMySQL at the end of each week in case you decide not to come to the web site at all (though we hope you do come by once in a while).

3. We leave it as is!

Now it's your turn to tell us what you think! Remember the intent of all this is for good posts to not just disappear as the feeds scroll by with ever more content.

We've also been asked whether there is any conspiracy to throw posts up and down by us manipulating votes. Let me answer categorically: No. We do not manipulate the votes in any way. What you vote is what you see.

Sunday, 26 April 2009

The Future of MySQL

What is the future of MySQL? This is a question that interests many.

To be specific: Will there be significant performance improvements? Code contributions? Bug fixes? New features? Open Source licensed documentation? Will the users be happy with the Monthly Rapid Updates now released for the MySQL Community Server?

On another, more competitive level: Will there be successful forks? What will the MySQL AB founders do? What is Percona's next move?

Julian Cash, known for his visionary photography, extended his scope during a Wednesday session at the MySQL Conference. Hard work during his predictive session gave me insight. I now know the answers.

However, I'm afraid I cannot share the revelations on this blog. What I can do, though, is to point to Julian Cash's site "The Human Creativity Project", and to the visible results of his other sessions on Wednesday.

Thank you Julian!


Thursday, 23 April 2009

The Great Open Cloud Shootout: Videos and other links

Today's Great Open Cloud Shootout was great fun -- at least for me! I had the pleasure to tease these distinguished gentlemen with cloudy questions:

  • Lew Tucker, Cloud CTO, Sun Microsystems

  • Monty Taylor, MySQL Drizzle Geek, Sun Microsystems

  • Jeremy Zawodny, MySQL hacker, craigslist

  • Chander Kant, CEO, Zmanda

  • Thorsten von Eicken, CTO, RightScale

  • Prashant Malik, Cassandra Dude, Facebook

  • Mike Culver, Evangelist, Amazon Web Services

I tried to provoke the panelists with questions around some areas I had thought out:

  • So, what is a cloud anyway?

  • Who is the cloud for?

  • Why use the cloud?

  • Cloud adoption barriers

  • Are there cloud standards?

  • Cloud Business Opportunities

  • Cloud Competition

  • Databases & Clouds

UPDATE: Here is a list of web resources on the shootout:

Judging from the nods and agreements between the panelists, the term "shootout" may have been a tad more aggressive than necessary to describe the discussion. But that didn't seem to disturb twitterers. I'm very glad to have got positive Twitter comments such as

  • andygrove73: Excellent cloud shootout at the MySQL conference. Would have liked to hear discussion about sharding on the #cloud though.

  • imsplitbit: RT @LenzGr: Great #cloud discussion at #mysqlconf, @sheeri is next. I agree, that was the best shootout I have been to.

  • imsplitbit: If you are at #mysqlconf and are not at the Cloud Panel discussion you are missing out! Not to mention LAME! #cloud

  • LenzGr: "Cloud not suitable for money laundry" (Monty Tailor in the #cloud shootout at #mysqlconf)

  • sheeri: RT @LenzGr: Love the pictures in Kaj's slide deck of the #cloud panel discussion #mysqlconf 

I'm grateful to Steve Curry for coming up with the idea to this keynote. Thank you! 

I also wanto to extend a big Thank you to all our panelists, and to the audience -- I hope you had as fun as I did!

Here are some more of Zack Urlocker's pictures (the first picture on top, in the rain-protective hat, is by Duncan Davidson): 

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Karen's Commitments to the MySQL Community

A new start always provides an opportunity to reassess your way of doing things:

  • “Am I doing the right things with my life?”

  • “Which habits could I change -- in order to be a better neighbour?” 

Since Karen Tegan Padir took over the MySQL product from Mårten Mickos, we at Sun have taken a thorough look in the mirror.  The result of this introspection allows us to publish our conclusions and new community commitments this week in conjunction with the MySQL Conference & Expo in Santa Clara. 

For those who don't yet know Karen, let me state a few facts: 

  • Karen is VP of Sun's newly-founded MySQL & Software Infrastructure group

  • She describes herself as a geek and a straight-shooter, and I can attest to both 

  • She was deeply involved in Sun's decision to acquire MySQL, as well as the subsequent integration work throughout 2008 

Karen Tegan PadirIn my previous blog, "MySQL Culture and Business Philosophy Goes Mainstream at Sun", I stressed that the key point to remember is that Sun is completely committed to building a big open source-based business, and very much supportive of the various communities that Sun is engaged in. That may sound a bit abstract, so I have worked with my new boss, Karen, to spell out for the MySQL community what it actually means in practice: 

First: We shall now start releasing MySQL Community Server binaries as frequently as we release the MySQL Enterprise Server. We want everyone – community and customers -- to get the best bits first from us. This is why future Monthly Rapid Updates of MySQL 5.1 will remain available for the community. Moreover, future MRUs of MySQL 5.0 will also become available for the community. 

Second: We shall focus even more on our traditional core product values of stability, Performance and Ease of Use. Like you, we hate bugs, we hate slow, we hate waiting for fixes, and we hate awkward usability -- even more than we love new functionality. The MySQL 5.4 performance release, which is considerably faster than MySQL 5.0 or 5.1 in most use cases, is a case in point.

Third: We shall allocate additional resources to the health and well-being of the MySQL Community. We focus both on users and developers. We shall now devote a greater portion of our internal MySQL Engineering Team resources to reviewing and eventually merging architecturally-compatible features written by external contributors, even if those features weren't on our own roadmap.

Finally, fourth: We shall do more to improve our internal software engineering practices. We will brush our teeth every morning and evening, exercise several times a week, and eat (mostly) healthy food. Some of us may at times still take a vodka shot, but if so, then only to be social and to provide an excuse for singing badly, but not while writing code. 

In the spirit of open-ness, please give us ideas on how we can implement these changes. Let the MySQL community team know what you think. For those at the show this week, stop Karen in the halls and introduce yourself. Above all, enjoy!

What hasn't changed with MySQL

Jetlagged from transatlantic travel, I woke up in the middle of the Californian night thinking about what has changed since I arrived at the MySQL Conference in Santa Clara on Sunday evening. I was pondering all the questions MySQL users and Sun colleagues were asking at the event, and what the user base was thinking out loud on Twitter yesterday.

What has changed is obviously that Sun Microsystems and Oracle announced they have entered into a definitive agreement under which Oracle will acquire Sun.

What further changes we will see as a result of that is a different story. Evidently, I don't sit in with a crystal ball predicting what will happen next. Nor do I have insight into Oracle's plans for MySQL, once the deal is closed. Nor am I even in a position to comment upon the acquisition, so I won't do it.

However, what I do know and what I can say is what has not changed with MySQL:

  1. There still is a huge base of MySQL users out there. They have economic interests that are independent of whoever owns MySQL. The users in the MySQL community come in all flavors, ranging from casual users to those who intimately know the inner workings of MySQL and have contributed to the code base.

  2. There still is a huge talent pool of MySQL experts in Sun Microsystems, in Support, in Consulting, in Training, in Engineering, in other parts of Sun. They have a strong loyalty towards the MySQL users they have served over many years.

  3. MySQL is still licensed under the GPL. The GPL license used to form a safety net for the users not certain about whether MySQL AB would follow the spirit of Open Source. It continued to be so with Sun Microsystems. And the Open Source license continues to provide a safety net for its user base, regardless of the owner of MySQL.

  4. MySQL has founders, one in particular, who still haven't fallen off the face of the planet. Moreover, their passion for MySQL and its users continues.

  5. Sun Microsystems still is a separate legal entity, practising what's known as "business as usual". This is familiar to MySQLers from the time between Sun's acquisition of MySQL was announced mid-January 2008 to the closing at the end of February 2008. During the period between announcement and closing, we continue to behave as separate entities, even competing with each other.

  6. Part of Business as Usual is a number of product announcements at the MySQL Conference this week. I'm looking forward to these!

While I cannot and will not personally speculate about what happens next, nor about Oracle's intentions with MySQL, I think our users are looking to what the names most inimately associated with MySQL are saying -- even if they no longer work for Sun Microsystems:

  • First, MÃ¥rten Mickos, MySQL AB's former CEO and long-time SVP at Sun, has several positive comments in his Forbes interview "Why Oracle Won't Kill MySQL".

  • Second, Michael "Monty" Widenius, MySQL AB's co-founder, also finds many positive things to say in his blog statement "To be (free) or not to be (free)".

My humble suggestions: Keep using MySQL! Follow the announcements from the MySQL Conference this week! Keep helping each other within the MySQL community!


Monday, 13 April 2009

Andy Bechtolsheim to Keynote MySQL Conference on Thursday

The last open keynote slot in the MySQL Conference, Thursday 10:00am, is now filled with the keynoter we had in mind all the time: Sun co-founder Andy Bechtolsheim.

Andy's bio is one of the longest and most impressive of MySQL Conference keynoters ever:

  • Sun co-founder, employee number one

  • invented the "Stanford University Network workstation" that eventually became the Sun-1 Workstation

  • was instrumental in launching other successful Sun products, including the SparcStation 1

  • now works with Sun's Systems Group to help drive next generation X64 and storage servers product architecture as well as HPC opportunities

  • left Sun in 1994 and rejoined 2005 through Sun acquiring his company Kealia

  • was one of the first investors in Google

What will Andy talk about? "The Solid State Storage Revolution" is the title. For more details, come to the conference!

But before that, I'd encourage you to take a closer look at his bio

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

The Great Open Cloud Shootout

The last couple of years, I have had the pleasure of moderating panels at the MySQL Conference. Last year, it was about scaling MySQL, and the year before that, it was the Clash of the DB Egos.

For this year, the original plan was for a MySQL Roadmap Shootout. Many of these questions Karen Tegan Padir should address in her opening keynote, and Robin Schumacher and Rob Young will dig deeper in "The Future of MySQL".

Hence, we decided to aim higher: We're going for the clouds. This year's new topic is "The Great Open Cloud Shootout".

We're starting from the simple question: What really is a Cloud? We go on to ask other questions: How do databases fit in the cloud? What are the technical benefits of and limitations to the cloud? What happened to SaaS -- is it dead? And we conclude by passing on the questions the audience twitters.

Our list of panelist celebrities includes Lew Tucker (Sun's Cloud CTO), Monty Taylor (full-time MySQL Drizzle hacker), Jeremy Zawodny (craigslist) and Chander Kant (Zmanda), and we might add another industry luminary or two to this list.


Tuesday, 24 March 2009

MySQL Campus Tour 2009 -- aka Dups on Rails

Tomorrow, The Big Trek starts. Duleepa "Dups" Wijayawardhana will spend the time from then on until the MySQL Conference and Expo starts travelling by rail and bus all the way from home in Montreal to California. Hence the name "Dups on Rails". The purpose of the Big Trek is to talk about MySQL in Canadian and US universities. He'll also arrange MySQL Meetups and go on customer visits, as people ping him.

Towards the end of the trip, as we get closer to the User Conference, Dups won't be alone. His alter ego Colin Charles (yes, people do mix up Dups and Colin) will join him from 13 April onwards in Northern California. And at the same time, a parallel trek is started by Giuseppe Maxia an Sheeri K. Cabral, in Southern California.

The list of universities include Queens University, University of Western Ontario, Illinois Institute of Technology, Purdue University, University of San Francisco, Cal Poly, UCLA, UC Irvine, UC Berkeley, Stanford University and others. 

The most frequent topic Dups will speak about is "What the MySQL is this anyway?". However, I can assure you that his attempt is not to turn our product into a swear word.

The exact venues and times are documented in detail on in Forge Wiki.

And, if you want a picture of Dups on Rails, do take a look at Dups's own blog entry on the subject. 

BTW, I just joined Dups's Campus Tour Facebook group and encourage those interested in meeting Dups to do the same!

Monday, 23 March 2009

MySQL & Google Summer of Code 2009 -- time to get going!

As Colin revealed last week, Google has accepted MySQL for the Google Summer of Code 2009.

We've already participated in GSoC 2007 and 2008, so this is our third year running. We know more than before about what's waiting for us, and so does our mentors and perhaps even some of our students. And in particular, Colin Charles has been our GSoC program coordinator all of these years, so he is quite seasoned by now.

The basic idea for MySQL to participate in Google Summer of Code is to provide students with an opportunity to contribute to MySQL, in return for some attention by our mentors. Or highly qualified and committed mentors of others who develop software tightly coupled with MySQL, for that matter. Well-known community members such as Marc Delisle, Sheeri Kritzer Cabral and Paul McCullagh have been MySQL GSoC mentors and we're hoping to be able to accept more non-Sun mentors this year. 

We're now in the phase where mentors and students from inside and outside Sun Microsystems can enter their MySQL related project suggestions to our Google Summer of Code MySQL ideas page.

However, if you're a potential mentor, you're in a hurry. The student application opens still today! So while we're still accepting mentor ideas, beware that the student application deadline is Friday next week (3 April 2009). Not much time for juggling ideas, entering them into the GSoC framework, and preliminiarily discussing with students.

The matching of mentors and students then goes on for a good week, until 15 April 2009. Decisions are announced 20 April 2009.

The coding itself begins 23 May 2009, or more precisely, that's when Google begins issuing initial payments for students who are "in good standing".

Mid-term evaluation is 13 July 2009, and work has to be done by 17 August 2009. Final evaluations happen, and final results are announced 25 August 2009.

If you're a student, here's what to do:

  1. Identify an interesting project in the MySQL GSoC Forge Wiki page

  2. If you have a great idea that you think Sun (or somebody else) is willing to sponsor, suggest it on that Wiki page

  3. Look at the Google SoC FAQ page at

If in doubt, email Colin at But do read his blog entry first!

Looking forwards to an interesting (Northern Hemisphere) Summer of Code 2009!

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Your chance to thank Monty at his farewell dinner tomorrow Friday

My fellow countryman and Sun colleague Henrik Ingo is collecting "a Monument to Monty" on his blog:
I will be meeting Monty on this Friday (March 20th), in fact we will celebrate the start of his new company Monty Program Ab. (For the avoidance of doubt: No, I'm not joining it, I just happen to live nearby.)

I decided Monty leaving "MySQL Ab" at least deserves to be considered some kind of a milestone. After all, MySQL is the database that propelled the web to what it is today. When you think back 10+ years, there must be many memorable moments you have experienced with MySQL.

This is what I want to do: This page will be dedicated to Monty - consider it a monument to the father of MySQL. Please use the comment form below and write something nice, personal and MySQL related. How did you first start using MySQL? Or what was your most weird and exciting experience with MySQL? What do you do with MySQL? Do you earn a living using it? Maybe you are one of those people who can write a poem in SQL?

Sadly, I can't be part of the farewell dinner / celebration of his new company. But I wrote my personal little thank you note on the page (pasted below). Perhaps you would like to, too?

If so, then click here:

Vendor lock-in


How did I start using MySQL? I may be a special case in that I have followed your coding since the 1970s, but I think I share my reasoning to start using MySQL with a lot of people: Lack of vendor lock-in.

At my company Polycon in Finland, we were coding applications and using other databases. I think our default was Interbase, as we were coding in Delphi. We were also using Postgres for some Web apps.

Knowing your undisputable coding skills was not reason enough for me in 1997 to decide to swap our Java apps to MySQL. "The customers" may demand something else, or the functionality might be insufficient. Who knows.

You convinced me that whatever we at Polycon invested in MySQL, it wouldn't be a dead end. It would be easy to migrate away, if we later on decided to do so. We wouldn't need to make any moves that would lock us into being MySQL users.

In our case, the story ended up being the same as for many (if not most) users who start with MySQL: We never found a sufficient reason to move away.

In short: You made it easy so to move off MySQL, that you purged all barriers to *start* using MySQL. And that philosophy created the trust which was a necessary component (among many others) in building a user base of millions.

Thanks for inventing the Deviously Unlocked Vendor Lock-In! :)


Monday, 16 March 2009

Sun Nordic Software Roadshow 2009

Two down, one to go! Last week, I went to Gothenburg and Stockholm for the Sun Nordic Software Roadshow. This week, it's Helsinki coming up.

These roadshows are a set of presentations and form an opportunity to interface with Sun customer and partners, and lots of MySQL users. It's about MySQL, Glassfish, Open ESB, Open SSO and identity management.

For Gothenburg and Stockholm, the first keynoter was Ola Ahlvarsson. He's a serial entrepreneur that survived the dot com boom and now makes a comfortable living talking common sense about Internet, and hosting the Scandinavian Interactive Media Event (SIME) each November in Stockholm, boasting big-name speakers from all the world coming to Stockholm. Ola is a great presenter and from him, I will with pride steal the best description of a digital native that I've heard so far. I liked it so much that I posted a blog about it, in Swedish, German and English. (The blog includes a picture of my first Nokia from 1967).

In Stockholm, I got the opportunity to visit with one of the biggest and most advanced users of MySQL in all of Europe: the Swedish Police. I blogged about their current use and future plans.

For Helsinki on Wednesday this week, one of the speakers I'm looking forward to is Petri Vuontela, in charge of IT customer systems at the bank where I've been a customer since I got my first bank account (now Aktia, then Helsingfors Sparbank) talking about identity management. And personally, I will be talking about "MySQL, Powering the Web Economy", like in the venues in Sweden.


Thursday, 12 March 2009

Do as the Swedish Police: Save money on Open Source!

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of meeting with Per-Ola Sjöswärd, executive IT strategist at the Swedish National Police. That organisation is already way ahead of most of us when it comes to Open Source adoption. But they have higher ambitions still.

The Rikspolisstyrelsen logotype is on many Sun slides, as an example of an "Enterprise 2.0" type MySQL customer. Besides sounding cool, the "Enterprise 2.0" name is supposed to portray what all the organisations in that group have in common: They're generic enterprises in any industry, and they use the same internal IT architecture as Web 2.0 companies use externally.

The Swedish Police, to be specific, doesn't use just Web apps internally. But still, we're talking about a 70% share. The other 30% are based on the Java Swing architecture, so it's still fairly portable and far away from vendor lock in.

The figure 70% also goes for the share of their IT budget that is allocated towards internal application development. Only 30% of their apps are in areas such as HR or ERP, where generic solutions can be applied. All applications specific to the "industry" of being the police authority have to be tailored to the needs of the Swedish Police, as no generic apps in this area exist.

That, in turn, means that the main headache of their IT and CIO should be the future compliance and maintenance of their own code base. By contrast, the main headache should not be about vendor lock-in or the cost of proprietary licenses. And that is exactly where the Swedish Police is heading: Lack of vendor dependence, very low licensing costs and total cost of ownership through Open Source.

In the CIO corner of we have described how Per-Ola took the initiative that led to the Swedish Police having adopted a multi-tiered architecture built on Java Enterprise Edition and Open Source components. That architecture they call LIMBO, for Linux, MySQL and JBoss. Now, they're taking the next step -- migrating their old apps, based on Tuxedo, to LIMBO. This iniative they call "Ren IT", meaning "Clean IT" -- as they're cleaning up their legacy application architecture.

That's no small undertaking. We're talking 33 applications, with a total rewrite effort of 107.000 man hours.

That rewrite effort requires a budget of 9,1 million Euros, which is money that has to be taken from somewhere as it isn't part of any default budgets. On the other hand, that still represents a huge savings compared to the 21 million Euros they would have to spend just on licenses, proprietary server hardware and maintenance alone (no new functionality!) to hold on to their current Tuxedo solutions, which also includes proprietary operating systems, server hardware and databases.

The Swedish Police is making bold moves, but doing absolutely the right thing with taxpayer money. The savings of over 10 million euros translates to quite a lot of police cars, or full-time police officers concentrating on what the Swedish National Police is in business for.

What a great role model!

Friday, 27 February 2009

Kilimanjaro: The Promise of the Summit

So, there it was: The mandatory picture that every successful Kilimanjaro climber wants to brag with. And I am no better (or worse) than any of my predecessors. Of course, I want to show that I've conquered well over 13 % of the world's Seven Summits.

What did I see from the summit? A new release of MySQL? To be honest, my mind was completely off business. I was contemplating the most basic human needs. I wasn't feeling explicitly tired nor cold (except for my hands! I had taken off the gloves to take pictures). But I was completely out of breath, as the air is very thin at 5895 m above sea level. 

Now, I'm back home, tending to an inbox of over 400 emails personally addressed to me (and an unknown amount received through mailing lists). 

Luckily, I couldn't access those emails from the hotel in Tanzania where we stayed after the climb, so instead, I have been able to write plenty of Kilimanjaro related blogs. Each blog exists in one language only. First, the English blogs:

In German, I have so far only one blog

In Swedish, I wrote a whopping six blog entries:

I may or may not decide to translate (or rewrite) one or more of the non-English blog entries. Feel free to suggest which one would interest you!

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Offline climbing the easiest of the Seven Summits

If you send me an email during the rest of February, you are highly unlikely to get an answer. However, I promise not to spam you with an "Out of office" auto reply. I dislike receiving those messages, as they seemingly have little correlation with when the person actually will reply to the email.

My excuse for not responding is that I won't be around my laptop and that connectivity is bad in rural Tanzania anyway. I will make an attempt at conquering Kilimanjaro, one of the Seven Summits, and to twitter while doing it -- to the extent there is sufficient SMS coverage, blood sugar and my fingers aren't numb.

I also hope to take some pics, which will illustrate a blog hopefully titled "Over 14% of the Seven Summits conquered", rather than "Taking the Milk Train from Africa".

Huh, Milk Train? Explanation: If you're dishonourably released from the Reserve Officer School in Finland, you're said to take the "dairy train" home (I took course 174 in 1984 and luckily returned with a non-dairy train). And while I'm not too worried about whether I've trained sufficiently, I am worried about how I'll take the height (5895 m!), and how my knees take the long hikes.

BTW, there are MySQLers who have made the Kilimanjaro. Olivier Beutels (in Mktg in Finland) and Duleepa "Dups" Wijayawardhana (in, drumrolls, the Community Team in Canada) are the ones I know of. Quoting selected passages from Dups's Kili blog from Summit Day:
And then off we went into the moonlit night. It is cold, brutally cold. Colder even than Edmonton in the dead of winter. 

After passing 5000m I start having breathing problems. I am not getting enough oxygen into my system. It is now painfully slow for all of us, three steps, three breaths. 

The horizon is getting lighter and the glacier wall is to our left. I have never seen the horizon that wide, that immense. It is a scene I will never forget.

Slowly I make it to the summit with the others. This is the moment I had waited for.

If Uhuru Peak was the summit of my emotion, the path down was the deepest well of despair. My blood sugar is extremely low, my water is frozen and I am feeling the effects of AMS more severely. At one point Victor is holding me and I black out and come back. Even more disturbing I've developed a fever. My temper is short and I immediately pass out on my return to Barafu Huts.

If you're interested in the schedule, take a look at my blog entry "Attempting the Kilimanjaro".

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

FOSDEM '09: A visual and verbal report

"Welcome to FOSDEM!" Well, FOSDEM ended on Sunday, but I'd like to provide you with a short recap of my Q&A and Roadmap presentation. Warning: I may go into more visual detail than verbal. This is because reports from the community, OlinData and Philippe Back as well as twitterings by Ulf Wendel already post most of what I said. It's because my presentation (1.5 MB) is posted on MySQL Forge. And it's because those present are waiting for the following level of detail of my answers, and I am not sure I'm able to provide much of that prior to our users conference 20-23 April 2009 in California.

So the further detail I provide may be limited to the 8mm pictures taken. They're taken by Ulf Wendel, who wasn't hard to convince to borrow my camera for a while -- and I'm glad I did. They're edited in a closed-source program called Photoshop, which I am happy to say uses MySQL (Adobe was a speaker at an internal Dev Mtg of ours a couple of years ago).

Photoshop note: My editing is partly simple cropping and partly Image / Adjustments / Shadow/Highlight... which is a CS feature I discovered only a few weeks ago, and will always use to enhance pictures which mix too dark areas with too light ones.

But first to the Sun/MySQL related substance. I provided the FOSDEM audience with the opportunity to give us some candid feedback on how we're doing. My specific question was "What is MySQL/Sun not so good at?".

The overall message, based on both qualitative feedback (audience comments) and quantitative (about 10 raise-your-hand-if questions), was clear:

  • Shorten the MySQL release cycle! That's pain-point #1! And 6 months is what's expected. Even 12 months is too long.

  • Half-baked features is pain-point #2!

  • Sun is doing alright on MySQL Stability, Performance and Ease of Use, overall, although improvement is of course possible (related to half-baked features)

  • For the core issues, MySQL is perceived as really easy-to-use

This is what Ulf Wendel twittered:

  • Kaj Arnö doing Q&A at FOSDEM. He has wonderful personal introduction slides. He asks for what MySQL is bad at

  • Roland [Bouman, former Sun/MySQL employee] complains about Plugins, others mention inmature features, Giuseppe [Maxia] reports about internal Five One Feature Maturity Team (FOFMT)

  • Kaj promises to forward all comments to Marten's successor. Lenz [Grimmer, reports to Giuseppe] is doing the scribe. Someone suggests dedicated Enterprise Marketing

  • Finally, someone is asking about multi-core improvements and DW optimization.

  • Kaj asking: Release cycle long 5.0, 5.1 given - now, what shall we do?

  • Suggestion: continue on the plugin road, support storage plugins both from technical and business perspective. More and faster releases?

  • Hands up. Q: Improve Contributions? Many. Federated? Very few. GIS? Much. Monitoring *inside* the Server? Many. Is Performance OK? Many.

  • More hands up. Q: Stable? Many (but you hear *hmm*, *ooohs*, *nnnn*)

  • End of the session. Kaj states that his goal is to have more frequent releases of MySQL while remaining fast and stable

Lenz indeed took more detailed notes, and I have compiled them for Karen Tegan Padir and others in our internal discussions. However, I won't go into detail until we have something more detailed to say.

In the meantime, I'm sticking to the neutral topic of distorted 8mm pictures.

Preso soon starting

Corner 1

More of same corner


Another corner

"What are we not so good at?"

"How many of you ... ?"



Roland getting ready

Distorted Kaj

The male toilet has a sign "env | grep fluid && rm -rf /dev/willy". Females don't need that detailed instructions. Theirs just said "Ladies". 


Saturday, 7 February 2009

FOSDEM Sunday 13:15-14:15: Q&A on recent developments at Sun, MySQL Roadmap

Given the changes announced this week, I have updated my original plans for my presentation on Sunday. I was going to talk about Social networking, but am now changing it to a very interactive Q&A session.

I expect people are asking themselves

  • What has changed?

  • What will happen now?

  • What are the consequences for the MySQL roadmap?

  • Are there other consequences for the MySQL community?

and I will attempt at answering these questions interactively during FOSDEM.

Towards the end of next week, after internal coordination, I plan to share some further thinking on the "what will happen now" front with my blog readers.

What also I plan to do during tomorrow's FOSDEM session is to get plenty of feedback on internal thoughts about what the community expects from us. My aim is to ask the right questions. My aim is to listen. My aim is to be able to use the FOSDEM feedback in our own planning at Sun. My aim is not yet to give answers to what Sun will do to accommodate your feedback, not even in the blog towards end of next week. At least partial answers can be expected at the MySQL Conference & Expo 20-23 April 2009 in California, though.

Summary: Travel to Brussels, come to FOSDEM, follow the signs for the "AW Building", and go to the MySQL room AW1.126 in time before the start 13:15 tomorrow Sunday 8.2.2009. And tell us what you want Sun to do with MySQL!

Friday, 6 February 2009

MySQL Culture and Business Philosophy Goes Mainstream at Sun

MySQL is undergoing some organisational changes as part of Sun. MÃ¥rten Mickos (MySQL AB's CEO 2001-2008 and SVP at Sun 2008-) is moving on in his life, outside Sun. This is independent of Michael "Monty" Widenius' recent departure.

I've worked for MÃ¥rten ever since joining MySQL in 2001, in various capacities (VP Training, VP Consulting, VP Services, VP Engineering, CIO, and since 2005 VP Community Relations). I will obviously miss working with him. At the same time, I can understand and respect his decision to move on to something else, and wish him all the best, whatever his upcoming pursuits will be.

I owe MÃ¥rten much of what I've achieved in business during this century. I've known him since 1981, and counted him as a close friend ever since. Even if the era of working for the same company has come to an end, I look forward to spending some non-business-oriented time with him.

While parting ways can be very painful, I am certain that MySQL's culture and business philosophy will live on in Sun, thanks largely to MÃ¥rten's contribution. In fact, you could say MySQL now becomes mainstream at Sun. Former MySQLers continue in key positions, in some cases with a mandate to generalise and apply MySQL related learnings on other Open Source products. In fact, the newly formed organisation that MySQL now is part of includes GlassFish, Open SSO and Open ESB, thus making us part of the industry's by far largest open source based group. It is a natural evolution in becoming a regular product at Sun -- as opposed to being treated separate and different as we have for the past year. That time has been important for us to be "grafted" into Sun, but now it is time to move forward.

As anytime when the person at the top changes, other changes will certainly follow. The key point to remember here is that MySQL, the product, remains alive and well. Sun is completely committed to building a big open source based business and very much supportive of the various communities it is engaged in. In another blog, I will expand upon what this means for the future.

Thursday, 5 February 2009

MySQL Conference & Expo Adds Percona Events

Sun and O'Reilly have invited Percona to host their already-planned "Percona Performance Conference" in parallel to the MySQL Conference & Expo and the MySQL Camp, at the Santa Clara Convention Center. I am very glad to report that Percona accepted our invitation and will join under the C&E umbrella, making an even richer experience for all pilgrims seeking enlightenment in Santa Clara next April.

The "Percona Performance Conference" is a new two-day event, a sort of mini-conference where Percona experts and guests will speak on high-performance LAMP topics.

It's also my pleasure to note three new presentations added to the MySQL Conference and Expo (C&E) agenda:

  • Make your life easier with Maatkit, Baron Schwartz

  • InnoDB Performance and Usability Patches, Vadim Tkachenko

  • Innodb database recovery techniques, Peter Zaitsev

Ideally I would have been able to share these news a bit earlier, but the birth process of this outcome was a bit long. My apologies to anyone who has suffered needlessly during the labour. However, good things sometimes take time. I am certain that the Percona Performance Conference will further increase the attractivity of the MySQL Conference & Expo week as the focal point of all things MySQL.

So a warm welcome to Percona! For their mini-conference agenda and more details, visit

Monday, 2 February 2009

MySQL Webinar on Partitioning -- by Use Case Competition Winner

Do you remember Guy Adams? He was one of the winners of the "5.1 Use Case Competition", ending up on position #2. Guess what: He has a webinar coming up tomorrow, by the title Deploying MySQL in a High Performance Satellite Network Management Environment by Parallel.
Guy works with Parallel Ltd. in Milton Keynes in the UK. You may also want to read up on Guy’s DevZone article. This is what you can expect of the webinar:
Join us for this informative technical webinar with Guy Adams, CTO at Parallel, whose flagship product SatManage is the worldwide leader in visualization and automation software that integrates NOC applications for satellite and hybrid networks. In this seminar Guy will talk about their migration from Oracle to MySQL, and the performance boost they gained from it. He will also talk about their application caching layer which provides a different but complementary philosophy to memcached, aiming to overcome of the issues with memcached in a data warehousing type application with CGI performance.

Timing: Tuesday, 3 February 2009, 10:00 am PST, 1:00 pm EST, 18:00 GMT.

The presentation will be approximately 45 minutes long followed by Q&A.


FOSDEM: See you in Brussels on Sat-Sun 7-8.2.2009

Like a number of other Sun people, whether MySQLers or not, I will travel to Brussels next weekend, for FOSDEM '09, an acronym which stands for the Free and Open Source Software Developer's European Meeting.  

If you think you're late in registering, or if you don't have a budget, don't worry. Entrance is free, and registration isn't necessary. "Just come to the campus and enjoy the conference", the FOSDEM site stresses.

As for MySQL, we have a developers room on Sunday as follows:

Sun  09:00-10:00Practicing DBA's Guide to the PBXT Storage EngineVladimir Kolesnikov 
Sun  10:00-11:00Monitoring MySQLKris Buytaert 
Sun  11:00-11:45MySQL ClusterGeert Vanderkelen 
Sun  11:45-12:45MySQL 5.1 PluginsRoland Bouman 
Sun  13:15-14:15MySQL, powering and using Social NetworksKaj Arnö 
Sun  14:15-15:00Percona MySQL patches and the XtraDB storage engineEwen Fortune 
Sun  15:00-16:00Boost performance with MySQL 5.1 partitionsGiuseppe Maxia 
Sun  16:00-17:00Database ShardingJurriaan Persyn

I'm looking forward to taking a user perspective on social networks in my presentation at 13:15.

Do also take a look at our MySQL Forge Wiki page on FOSDEM 2009. We use it to broadcast any last minute information.

I hope to meet you in Brussels!