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 http://forge.mysql.com/wiki/MySQL_Campus_Tour_2009 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 http://forge.mysql.com/wiki/SummerOfCode2009Ideas

  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 http://socghop.appspot.com/document/show/program/google/gsoc2009/faqs

If in doubt, email Colin at MySQL.com. 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: http://openlife.cc/montysmonument

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 mysql.com 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!