Monty Widenius, One of MySQL’s Founding Fathers, Leaves Sun/MySQL

Sep 5, 2008 / By Sheeri Cabral

Tags: ,

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.

17 Responses to “Monty Widenius, One of MySQL’s Founding Fathers, Leaves Sun/MySQL”

  • Sheeri Cabral says:

    As for who can take Monty’s place, I strongly recommend Sarah Palin. If she has enough experience to be the Vice Presidential nominee, I think she has enough experience to be a mere CTO….right?

  • Monty on the run - Die wunderbare Welt von Isotopp says:

    [...] on the run Sheeri hat News: Monty hat bei Sun/MySQL gekündigt. Arbeiten muß er ja nicht mehr, denn Geld ist genug da. Andererseits ist Monty nicht der Typ, der [...]

  • [...] Sheery has more news… Posted by bjoern in PHP at 10:53 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0) Trackbacks Trackback specific URI for this entry No Trackbacks Comments Display comments as (Linear | Threaded) No comments Add Comment [...]

  • Steve says:

    I’m not surprised. After the SUN aqcuisition, he has enough cash now. He never has to work again. He earned enough cash on the back of the community who are working for free most of the time…

  • Jay Pipes says:

    Steve,

    “He earned enough cash on the back of the community who are working for free most of the time…”

    Sorry, but you’re completely wrong and misinformed. MySQL is 99.9% developed by MySQL engineers, not the community.

    -jay

  • Paul Vallee says:

    Steve,
    Jay is absolutely right. Not that that makes the lack of community involvement and engagement in the MySQL source tree a particularly good thing. But it does make the cashout from the Sun acquisition entirely fair. ;-)
    Paul

  • [...] We have a rumour of MySQL co-founder Michael “Monty” Widenius resigning, as posted by Valleywag and expanded by Sheeri Kritzer Cabral. [...]

  • Robert Treat says:

    “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.”

    Wow, that seems like an amazing misjudgment on the state of these two open sources database communities. The big key to Sun’s support is that they don’t have to put a lot of effort into Postgres to reap a nice return, because so many other companies provide most of the development and infrastructure support that keep the project moving. With MySQL, Sun is that infrastructure and support, so the amount of effort needed is substantially higher. Granted, due to the investment they have already made, they are likely to keep pushing resources MySQL’s way, but I think you’re kidding yourself if you don’t recognize who is the cart and who is the horse in these two situations.

  • [...] 5, 2008 @ 9:23 am ET Valleywag reports that Monty Widenius has quit Sun. The Pythian Group reckons its true. Kaj Arno’s non-denial denial would appear to confirm it despite his protestations [...]

  • Sheeri Cabral says:

    Robert — you are correct, I have a lack of understanding that for Postgres, other companies are providing “most” of the development and infrastructure.

    However, perhaps another good side benefit to a major engineer leaving MySQL/Sun is the ball rolling faster on MySQL’s ability to accept community patches.

    Right now MySQL has painted themselves into a corner with regards to development, and most community members (and I bet MySQL/Sun too!) would like to see that changed. In other words, MySQL AB forced itself to be the infrastructure for development, therefore it has to continue to be that infrastructure. Change would be welcome.

  • [...] Pythian has openings for MySQL and MS SQL Server DBAs in each of our offices in Ottawa, Canada; Boston, USA; Dubai, UAE; and Hyderabad, India. If you are a MySQL and/or SQL Server DBA and would like to evaluate this opportunity, please send us your résumé with an introductory paragraph to hr@pythian.com. « Monty Widenius, One of MySQL’s Founding Fathers, Leaves Sun/MySQL [...]

  • Roger Hatch says:

    It would be interesting to know what Monty’s deal was with Sun on the acquisition of MySQL. Key employees (Monty would certainly qualify!) usually get a pair of shiny golden handcuffs for some time after the acquisition, usually for a year, and I wonder if this “early departure” caused Monty to leave any significant amount of cash on the table.

  • [...] Magazine, Fall Issue: Call for Articles Recent Commentsshow / hide Smithy on Monty Widenius, One of MySQL’s Founding Fathers, Leaves Sun/MySQLAndy on Recent Changes to Oracle SE Licensing Rules: Higher Price?Alex Gorbachev on Oracle RAC SIG [...]

  • [...] Monty Widenius, One of MySQL’s Founding Fathers, Leaves Sun/MySQL [...]

  • [...] Roland Bouman, responsable de algunos temas de formación y certificaciones y el propio fundador Monty Widenus, que se fue en Septiembre. Esto, junto a los rumores de una versión exclusiva de pago (sólo para [...]

  • The Developer Day » Blog Archive » Certification to be continued says:

    [...] now even the downloads page looks like a shopping center. Then there you can read about all these great people leaving MySQL and joining other development groups or companies. Even Drizzle itself has a reason why it was [...]

Leave a Reply

  • (will not be published)

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>