2009-02-05

Time to move on

I have now departed from Sun and joined my own company, Monty Program Ab.

There were a lot of rumors around me resigning in August/September last year. I didn't back then want to comment on the rumors, because I was still trying to work something out with Sun. Now I can finally describe a bit of what was going on.

In this case, the rumors had some elements of truth to them. I had told management that I thus would be submitting my resignation immediately as I strongly believed that the 5.1 release was not ready and that those problems needed to be fixed before it went GA. This action, together with other peoples´ efforts, did have the wanted effect and I made an agreement with Sun´s upper management to not initiate my resignation but instead stay around for three more months to help Sun work out things in MySQL Development and also give Sun a chance to create an optimal role for me within Sun.

The three months did stretch out to seven months, and the changes I had hoped Sun would apply to in the MySQL Database group to fix our development and community problems did not happen fast enough.

Sun and I concluded in the end that I have much higher chances of achieving my goals outside of Sun, so it's just better to swallow the bitter apple, go out and get things going. We parted in good terms and we both expect to continue to do business and work together.

The main reason for leaving was that I am not satisfied with the way the MySQL server has been developed, as can be seen on my previous blog post. In particular I would have like to see the server development to be moved to a true open development environment that would encourage outside participation and without any need of differentiation on the source code. Sun has been considering opening up the server development, but the pace has been too slow.

I still think that Sun was the best possible buyer for MySQL and I feel sad that things didn't work out together. Sun has a lot of good things going on and I hope that they will continue their path to create and promote Open source. I will be available for Sun in helping them with their goals in the Open source space.

So what will Monty Program Ab and I be working on?

Monty Program Ab will be a true open source company, with the additional goal of being a smaller family oriented company (10-30 employees) where everyone can be owners of the company, where we care about our employees and strive to have fun together and share the profit we create. You can find more about this at: http://zak.greant.com/hacking-business-models

Some of the Maria team members will follow me and some will stay in Sun. The plan is to continue to work on the Maria project more or less as before. The main difference from before is that the Maria project and it's mailing lists will move to launchpad and we will start using free-node for our IRC communications (channel #maria). Maria 1.5 (the crash safe version of MyISAM) is now in beta and we hope to get binaries out soon. We have already started working on Maria 2.0 features (full transactional release) and performance issues. From my side there will be a small time delay in the Maria development (one-two months delay in the final release) as I have to set up things in the new company.

Monty Program Ab will start working actively with the MySQL community to allow stable patches to the MySQL-5.1-Maria tree and create an active community around this tree. We will also do some restructuring of the MySQL code to make it simpler, faster and with fewer bugs.

One shouldn't regard the MySQL-Maria tree as a fork but as a branch as we intend to pull in all changes from the official tree to the MySQL-Maria tree; Some of the changes will probably be reworked but we will do our best to ensure that for the end user they should look and feel the same.

Monty Program Ab will also do NRE (Non-recurring engineering) to customers on MySQL and Maria and put this work into the MySQL-Maria tree. (Shameless promotion: If you want something to be done, fixed or changed in the MySQL server, please contact me at "monty at askmonty.org" for an offer).

In addition, I will continue to work with and invest in disruptive technology start Up companies that do open source and community products. (Another shameless promotion : If you think you have an unique business idea in the open source space, contact me on "monty at openoceancapital.com"!)

I am also working on opening a new kind of restaurant that will use databases to achieve a better customer experience. (Expect a special discount for database developers!). More about this later...

More information of what I will be doing will be found at http://www.askmonty.org or
http://www.openoceancapital.com

(Note that the above web sites will be under constructions for the next few weeks)

39 comments:

Jonathan said...

First!

Good luck, Monty!
I wish you nothing but the best.

Baron said...

How interesting (to me) that I just posted an article also linking to yours and Zak's post about hacking open source business models.

Roland Bouman said...

Monty - wow, what news...

I guess I joined MySQL too late to really get to know you personally, but I want you to know I have always admired your achievements, and found your uncompromising attitude to be very courageous.

I wish you the best of luck in your new endeavors, I am sure you will prosper from them. I know you are honest when you say you will remain actively involved in improving Maria and the MySQL server, and I am sure there is a bright future ahead for both you and MySQL. But obviously, your leave is an event of great importance, and I can't help feeling a little sad about it.

Anyway - thanks for the great product - to me, it will largely remain your brainchild. It's impressive how far you managed to take it and you will always be rembered for it.

kind regards,

Roland Bouman

Zak Greant said...

Hey Monty,

I too am sorry that it didn't work out but am glad to see you moving on. Let's catch up soon.

Cheers!
--zak

Antony said...

Sun-setting on an era...

Sorry to see that you're leaving Sun so soon: I had expected you to complete Maria 2.0 first.

Wishing you the best of fortune in your future business and we shall meet, drink and chat about old times at the users conference in April.

/me wonders if we will be using MariaSQL in the future...

gongfermor said...

I think that's sort-of-great news. It's nice to see someone stand up and point out how screwed up the MySQL release model is.

I had high hopes Sun would fix some things when they bought MySQL. They should have worked harder to listen, do the right thing, and keep you on.

I was glad to see Sun push a release out (the release cycle is horrible). The state of that release left some things to be desired, so yeah.. I think you and Sun both have relevant arguments, and really should have worked something out.

Anyways, good luck.

Stewart Smith said...

Looking forward to completed Maria and having it mergable into Drizzle - that would be rather awesome.

Monty said...

My intention was to finnish Maria 2.0 first. In the end when we talked things over with Sum, we both concluded I would have an easier time to finish Maria outside of Sun.

Both Sun and me wants to see Maria 2.0 finished and our intention is to ensure it's happening without any major delays. Some things may even go faster now.

knmeister said...

Monty,

Great to see you joining the community side of MySQL. Having you here will
greatly strengthen the already very active MySQL development outside of
MySQL/Sun.

I sincerely wish you the best of luck with your company and your projects, and hope
to work more with you in the time to come.

- Kristian.

joro said...

Good luck Monty !

It's sad to see you leave but I understand your reasoning.

I hope you'll make big waves in MySQL's community and revitalize it to be more active in working with the server.

LinuxJedi said...

Hi Monty,

I started at MySQL/Sun not too long ago so I never got to meet you.

Good luck with your new venture and I look forward to seeing Maria 2.0 in action! :)

feef said...

All the best for the future Monty, and it's good to hear you're still dedicated to Maria.

Jeremy Zawodny said...

Good luck in your post-Sun life, Monty. I know you'll do great things and enjoy the freedom of a smaller organization again. :-)

peter-zaitsev said...

Monty,

Congratulations on taking this step. It honestly think this will be good both for you and for Sun and I think people saw it coming.

pcleddy said...

excellent, EGG-SALANT! mu ha ha! ;)

Etienne Savard said...

Good luck!

Hope you will keep developing other Open Source applications as popular as MySQL.

Cheers from Canada.

Carsten said...

Best of luck, Monty! Thanks for a great time in/with MySQL AB and good luck with the Maria project. Looking forward to more database greatness (and lots of heated discussions, I'm sure!)

/ Carsten

Kurt said...

Monty,

This seems like such a correct move, even if it is a little unsettling from out here in userspace.

I'm sure you'll do well in whatever you choose to do. If you open that Helsinki cafe you described to me, I want a free espresso. :)

Best,

./k

harshadsharma said...

Best wishes!

DNNlDacvpp.OT_0sepmL.eLOCkwLwclgmye05Q-- said...

...a new kind of restaurant that will use databases to achieve a better customer experience...

A whole new meaning for the term "ORDER BY"

Good Luck

Yuhong Bao said...

What about merging the other way, from Maria to Sun's MySQL tree

Raidel said...

Good luck on your new path, Im sure lots will give you the same support as we do and hope maria brings the fruits that we all expect

Monty said...

About Merge from Maria tree to Sun's MySQL tree:

- We expect Sun to merge all Maria engine changes to 6.0.

With code changes in the MySQL part, we will collaborate with Sun, as they need to decide what changes they want to merge where.

Monty said...

I accidently lost a comment where someone said that "Selling MySQL to Sun was the worst thing that could have happened as Sun started to close up things get more revue"

What really happened was that MySQL server and development started to "close up" long before because the MySQL management thought that would be right path to quickly generate more money as a part of going public.

Sun has tried to get MySQL to open up since we joined Sun, but the current managers of the Sun database group has largely ignored this so far.

The basic thought from Sun has largely been: "The MySQL group is doing fine, lets leave them alone" instead of taking actions and fix the things that critically needed fixing.

Hjalmar said...

Good luck Monty!

ManDrake said...

Yes, good luck!
I think will be ok!

Best regards, SoftDeCo Company!

Jeff Bailey said...

The company sounds like a neat hack. One concern I see in that list is that there's a claim that things will be done by consensus, but there's an awful lot of mention of voting.

Formal consensus is tricky but worthwhile. Bad consensus is disempowering - because after a while of thinking that you're being heard, the group demonstrates that you're not.

Good luck!

Harshal @ Snehapadma said...

Hi Monty,

I would like to thank you as for what you did for MySQL. I also hope that, with your mind on better things now, we'll see further development at much faster pace.

All the best for the future.

Josh said...

Monty,

Finally! Took you a while. I guess nobody believes in the tar baby which Sun can be until you've had at least 6 months of making no progress.

Glad that you're launching Monty Software. Look forward to good things.

Oh, and ping me about restaurant designs; I'm still available. ;-)

--Josh Berkuswami

Dave Edwards said...

Log Buffer #134:

The big news this week, the epoch-shattering event, is of course, Monty Widenius’s departure from Sun, his time to move on. Perhaps not much of a surprise, given his famously underwhelmed response to 5.1’s GA release. But Monty, your thunder has been stolen!

Ronald Bradford said...

Go forth and continue to make greatness in open source.

Your software runs so many companies, anything you do I am confident will succeed.

I'm glad to know you from my time at MySQL AB/Inc and look forward to future interactions.

Yuhong Bao said...

"Sun has tried to get MySQL to open up since we joined Sun, but the current managers of the Sun database group has largely ignored this so far."
So, do you mean that the acquisition of Sun was supposed to fix the problems that led you to leave, but it didn't?

Yuhong Bao said...

"The basic thought from Sun has largely been: "The MySQL group is doing fine, lets leave them alone" instead of taking actions and fix the things that critically needed fixing."
In other words, the Sun acquisition was a chance to fix the MySQL problems that was unfortunately lost, and now it is too late.

dracowyr said...

I want to wish you the best on your new endeavor, Monty.

I'm certain the community will continue to see great things from your team.

Monty said...

Answering Yuhong Bao:

Not 'supposed to fix', but more that I 'hoped Sun to fix'.

I was very happy that it was Sun who bought us, because I thought they being an engineering driven company would very soon understand the problems that we had in MySQL engineering and help us fix them. It still hasn't happened and and in the end I got tired of waiting. As can bee seen from my blog, I think that I did more than was expected from me when it came to wait for them...

I didn't have any agreement with Sun, so I could have left any time. I just wanted to do the decent thing and stay and help Sun with MySQL development and also help expand their open source participation. Now I hope to be able to help them from the outside instead.

Abhinav.Singh said...

All the very best Monty.... I am sad that you won't be with MySQL any more but I am happy that thr are chance we have another product of same caliber coming up :D

Jan Wedekind said...

A database-powered restaurant sounds interesting ;)
In the past I have developed anymeal which uses MySQL to store a large number of recipes (shameless self promotion on my part). If I find the energy to do it, I may do a rewrite in Ruby though. Handling the data and the user input in C++ is somewhat cumbersome. There also is grecipe-manager manager which happens to be written in Python.

Mehmet Emin said...

This is the most exciting news that I got in recent months.

I was feeling that there would be something "unnatural" and MySQL "guys" would leave SUN.

So, it happened and made "us" happy.

I am not fanatic, I don't claim that everything must be like this, Like Monty's way. But at this issue, this is this.

Congrats !!!

Mehmet.

drflaco11 said...

You did a great job!