Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Sun is serious about Open Source and the MySQL Community

In probably the best move by Sun during the whole MySQL Conference and Expo, Rich Green and Jonathan Schwartz turned up at the Community Dinner on the Sunday night before the conference.

As we walked into the restaurant I saw a face that I thought was familiar. Jonathan and Rich were standing outside the restaurant talking. However, only when we got inside did I hear Jay saying that that was Jonathan Schwartz.

So just before we all took our places, and while we were trying to work out how we were going to organize payment for the dinner, Rich and Jonathan turned up and quickly ended the discussion. Rich said his credit card would be good for the tab. So thanks to Sun for that!

But besides good food and plenty to drink, it was a great opportunity to talk and ask some questions that have been on my mind since the acquisition of MySQL by Sun. I have expressed these concerns on this blog, and they can be summarized as follows:

How important is open source, and in particular the MySQL community to Sun?

Both Rich and Jonathan were able to give me an adequate answer to this question. I will summarize this in my own words.

Sun bought MySQL to expand its business and influence in the open source world. So the MySQL community is the key to this.

I believe this means that Sun is not interested in commercializing any parts of the MySQL server, and here I am referring to the massive discussion that has resulted from the announcement MySQL to launch new features only in MySQL Enterprise on Jeremy Cole's blog. After all, it is clear that MySQL's bottom line (although profitable) makes no difference to Sun. They are interested in access to the over 10 million users of MySQL to sell services and hardware, those things that Sun already does well.

It is the MySQL's task to expand the user base, not endanger it. So I think we will see a change of strategy in the coming weeks and months.

And I can add the following: from what I have seen of it, MySQL's enterprise offering is really a great package without having to add a proprietary version of the server. It has everything a serious user of MySQL wants: 24 hour support, monitoring tools, design tools, service packs and priority bug fixing. And with Sun's backing, nobody doubts anymore that they can deliver this service.

Jonathan and Rich clearly demonstrated their support for the MySQL community by coming to the dinner. Besides clearing up some important questions, it was a great photo op.:

You may have seen this photo already on Ronald's blog. The picture is of Jonathan and I with the PrimBase Technologies conference T-shirt. If you look closely you will see another little detail. I have a dolphin in my pocket! I wonder if that has any symbolic meaning...

Jonathan tells a great story on his blog. But what is significant is the picture of Monty he posted, who is wearing a shirt that says "my free software runs your company". We have every reason to believe Jonathan fully supports this sentiment. So note that the T-shirt does not say "my partially free software ..."!

Oh, and in the picture of Monty, do you recognize the shirt of the person standing next to him? Since I generally only wear a shirt once, we know that this picture was also taking at the Community Dinner.


Sheeri K. Cabral said...

I too got the sense that Jonathan meant what he said, and was very thrilled that he takes community so seriously.

Anonymous said...

Is it really important what a shirt says?

I've a lot of shirt saying differents things and I don't trust them.

Take a Msn shirt in your hands and you'll know what I'm tellin about :)