Monty Widenius, One of MySQL’s Founding Fathers, Leaves Sun/MySQL
Sep 5, 2008 / By Sheeri Cabral
ValleyWag reports that MySQL’s Monty Widenius is no longer “MySQL’s”. Some folks have known that Monty has not been happy in his current position; this leads me to believe the rumor is true (though of course an official announcement is the only confirmation).
So what does this mean for MySQL? Well, honestly, if a product falls apart because one out of 300 employees leaves, it was probably doomed anyway. There are plenty of capable employees left, and being owned by Sun means that there are many more resources they can tap as well.
What will the official company announcement be? My prediction is the same (true) party line as when Sun bought them: there is no big change planned; whatever has been planned already will continue. After all, Monty was not the only decision maker at MySQL even before Sun bought them out. (Recall the online backup “what’s for pay?” debacle in April, certainly that was not a Monty decision!)
Granted, some things have to change. Monty was the lead of the Maria team, and my understanding (read: unconfirmed belief) is that the team was small. They may be effectively directionless without Monty. Will Maria become a third-party plugin? Will it be forked? I don’t know.
I do know a few things:
1) Monty doesn’t need to work for the money. I have no idea whether he could retire now and still be comfortable, but certainly being unpaid for a year is probably feasible. Maybe this isn’t a fact, but it’s a pretty good educated guess.
2) Monty needs to work, and he loves developing databases. Basically these 2 points are my answer to “do I think Monty will start another company, maybe a MySQL fork or third party plugin, or maybe a separate database like Jim Starkey has?” In short, I don’t know. Maybe he’ll have time to help out with Drizzle?
3) Competition in the open source world is a good thing.
4) Monty’s a kick-ass database developer. (“kick-ass” is a highly specialized technical term) My vote is for developing an open source data warehousing product; it’s what MySQL was designed for (maybe even Unireg, my history is shaky) but Oracle and SQL Server have better third party plugins (Even with MySQL support in Jasper Reports, Pentaho and Crystal Reports).
5) MySQL, the company, owned by Sun, still has plenty of engineers left. And hey, I bet they’re hiring for at least 1 position! :)
6) MySQL, the free, open source database product, will live on even if there isn’t company backing for it. Though I can’t imagine that would happen, given that Sun has a history of supporting Postgres development, and Postgres doesn’t even have a company behind it like MySQL AB was for MySQL.
Call me an optimist, but I think there will be a lot of good stuff in the future. I don’t doubt that many former coworkers of Monty’s will miss him, some may hand in their resignations as well…..but I feel plenty of job security as a MySQL DBA. It’s a solid product….like other solid RDBMS products, it has plenty of faults, but also like other solid RDBMS products, it’s damn good at what it does.
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