MoiPal, making it more fun to learn things

It's really a hard job to decide into which companies to invest. We at Open Ocean, my investment company, have talked with around 60 companies the last few months to find those that we think have a great potential and that would benefit from our involvement.

One company that more than well matched our investment criterias was Ironstar, that makes the MoiPal virtual world. With more than 100,000 registered users they are definitely a company to watch out for.

I have always been interested in virtual worlds and see how the communities around them continue to grow. The thing that really stands out to me with MoiPal, is the way it combines the social networking aspects similar to Facebook, with the caring of your online character, like you do with Tamagotchis or in games like Sims.

MoiPal has also open interfaces and engages other developers to expand the MoiPal world in their own, often unexpected, directions. Open interfaces are extremely important for a software to succeed today; For example, it was thanks to its open interfaces that MySQL got connections to all major programming languages and tools! This was something we could never have done by ourselves.

I think it's important that you learn when you play (as long as it doesn't take away the enjoyment of the game!). I think it will be easy to add more educational aspects into MoiPal; For example by making it easier to communicate with other "Pals" that has other languages and backgrounds. By building bridges to make the world a 'smaller place' we make it easier for people to understand and eventually respect each other. I personally like to invest in ideas that have a good social aspect!

On the business side, I found it really funny, when I heard that Lordi performed a virtual concert in MoiPal for thousands of players wearing virtual Lordi masks. I can envision this to be a major channel to launch youth brands in the future. When we reach a million users, I would hope we could launch for instance the H&M Spring collection simultaneously in MoiPal and in the real world. Then youngsters could buy the same trendy outfit, both for themselves and for their Pal.

I know that the audience of this blog is unlikely to be users of MoiPal. I hope you will still find this information about MoiPal interesting; If you have young children it's likely that you will find them at MoiPal and then it's good to know that it's a good and safe place for them to be in!


Life goes on and making the internet more secure with Web of Trust (WOT)

It's now more than a week since I left Sun and I have been very busy with old commitments; I had one talk at the Tampere University about "Open source licensing and how this affects quality" and a keynote about "Open Source Licensing" for the "2nd Symposium of the HyperTransport Center of Excellence" in Mannheim, Germany.

My web site, askmonty.org, is coming around nicely but it will take a couple of more weeks to add some missing information to it. After that I will start working on the Maria, MariaDB and MySQL code bases for real.

The most exiting thing that has happened so far, is that my investment company "Open Ocean" have just closed a funding round with "Web of Trust" i.e. WOT. I will take a seat on the company's Board of Directors.

What I like about WOT is that it solves a practical problem I have often experienced myself when I browse and want to buy things from Web sites: "Can I really trust this web site with my personal information, like my credit card". In addition WOT solves the problem in an elegant and user friendly way; Easy enough so that anyone can use it.

So what is then WOT? WOT is a popular and free browser add-on that works with Firefox and Explorer. It offers you information whether a web site is known to be involved in Internet scams, identity theft, spyware, spam or if it's just an unreliable online shop.

WOT provides safety ratings to search results when using Google, Yahoo!, Wikipedia, Digg and other popular sites. The Website rating information is continuously updated by the WOT user community and numerous trusted sources, such as listings of from numerous malware and phishing sites.

I encourage everyone to try out WOT to get a better Internet experience. You should consider registering as a WOT user to be able to rate web sites.

In addition, if you encounter a web site that is un-trustworthy, please rate it trough WOT to tell other Internet users about your experience to save them from the possibly trouble you suffered. Also, if you really like a web site or if you get excellent service from it, please use WOT and tell others about this!

I hope we can all work together and make the Internet a place where you can easily know where it's safe to browse and shop!

You can find a lot more information about WOT, including downloading it, from http://www.mywot.com. If you are using Firefox, you can install it by using the menu option "tools/add-ons", click on "get add-ons" and do a search after "WOT".


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

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