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Five Questions With Michael Widenius 71

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the wouldn't-be-open-source-without-drama dept.
volume4 writes "With two MySQL execs leaving Sun in the last week, the internet is buzzing about what is going on at Sun, what is the future of MySQL and what lies ahead for Michael Widenius. Over at Open Source Release Feed, Widenius spoke candidly regarding his split from Sun, the future of MySQL, Monty Program AB, and the open source ecosystem in general."
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Five Questions With Michael Widenius

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  • Politics as usual (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    people in MySQL management made my life hell; They didn't let me participate in MySQL development, didn't give me resources in doing Maria development and did a lot of backstabbing to make my life difficult.

    Do you find the politics in the real world more difficult than the ones in the Open Source community?

    • Re:Politics as usual (Score:4, Interesting)

      by von_rick (944421) on Monday February 09, 2009 @04:11PM (#26788987) Homepage

      I think this thread is about 5 question for MW that he has already answered :)

      Back to what you said: I think it was mostly the management and less of politics. The role of management is usually to dictate terms that they have absolutely no clue about. A marketing exec managing a SQL functionalities is gonna make the team go sour given enough time.

  • While it wouldn't be the first of Sun's projects to go open, maybe they will limit their input into the project and give preference to open source contributions. Maybe take things up again post recession.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by ShieldW0lf (601553)

      What a funny interview. He talks all about trust and open source, and yet one of the major reasons I have always avoided open source is because I personally distrusted the two major developers.

      I remember reading countless times how this or that missing feature wasn't needed, and how it was bad practice to use it in the first place. Then, next version, they'd brag that they had it. They would ignore referential integrity, but hide that fact, and call their bugs "Gotchas" or "Features". They would claim t

    • If the future of MySQL lay in community developer contributions - why bother contributing to MySQL directly? It's all (mostly) still available under the GPL. Form it, and create a community version.

      Sun would never import code back into MySQL unless they owned copyright to it though.

  • Am I being picky today or is English the author's second language?
  • by ergo98 (9391) on Monday February 09, 2009 @04:49PM (#26789545) Homepage Journal

    My question to him would be "Why? Why send so many naive and misled followers back to Microsoft Access level technology and choices when we should have taken those lessons and moved forward?" MySQL, like PHP, is one of those mistake technologies that thrived despite itself, and when you go to the root of it you find someone saying "I knew nothing about the technology, but just started building from scratch, re-making the mistakes every other product made 20 years earlier".

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by kilodelta (843627)
      I'm not sure I agree with you at all. LAMP has its place. Put it this way, I've administered MS-SQL, Oracle and MySQL databases, I'll take MySQL any day.
      • by ergo98 (9391)

        I'm not sure I agree with you at all. LAMP has its place.

        I said nothing about Linux or Apache. LA certainly has its place, though if you look back in the early years of Linux -- remember back when you had to go through a bunch of kernel make files and hand edit all of your driver settings and so on -- there was the same sort of attempt to make lemonade out of lemons that we've seen with MySQL's multi-year mistake. At the time you had to actually compile every driver into the kernel, and this was heralded as

      • by musicmaker (30469) on Monday February 09, 2009 @05:47PM (#26790445) Homepage

        Two words: Explain Plan
        Three More: Share nothing cluster
        A date: '00-00-0000 00:00'
        Two More: Silent truncation
        One acronym: MVCC
        Result: Nobody in their right mind uses MySQL.

        LAMP has it's place, it's at the bottom of a trash heap. Ever tried to write business objects in PHP? What about dependency injection? Database abstraction? (let's face it PDO is a joke). Hell even prepared statements are a pain in PHP/MySQL (only exist in mysqli, and the implementation is horrible). AOP? You can't even do connection pooling for goodness sake because they turned it off in mysqli, and you need your head read if you are using the regular mysql libraries where the solution to injection attacks is to escape quotes and pray. Do you know how long it takes PHP to parse 80,000 lines of libraries every time a script runs because there is no persistence between requests, so PHP has to parse everything over for each request.

        MySQL where foreign keys are silently ignored if you forgot to set your table engine to InnoDB. Where aggregates don't work right, where self referencing updates don't work, so you have to write a program to do what other RDBMSes can do in a single statement. Where your table names are case sensitive, but your text matches aren't.
        Where you don't have sequences to generate globally unique ids, where bit fields work like a boolean half the time and char half the time. Where mysqldump locks half your database and doesn't get everything by default which you find out too late because you didn't know any better.

        Apache where the recommended default for MaxClients is 256, which anybody with a clue knows is insane for dynamic websites, but most sysadmins put in anyway. PHP that hasn't been bothered to update itself to work with a threaded Apache that has been around for a decade.

        I could go on for ages and ages on this stuff. I mean there are SO many issues with LAMP, it's a minefield. LAMP fails when you need it most, when traffic starts getting heavy.

        OR

        you could use a system that separates components into libraries and interfaces, allows you to modularize, allows database independence, makes testing easy, has static typing so the compiler can catch 80% of problems before they ever get executed. Has AOP, has IOC that isn't insane and is used by more enterprise shops that anything else.

        • by sarkeizen (106737) on Monday February 09, 2009 @09:37PM (#26792995) Journal

          There's lots of comment that could be made about that diatribe too.

          First off I'd say that some of this criticism is "Well it doesn't have *buzzword*" mixed with a few statements you are likely not in a position to argue along with a number of things you got wrong enough to betray some ignorance of the subject you are criticizing and at least one instance of "Well the default config doesn't suit what I'm doing". The fact that you have to reach all the way down to that makes me question the "I could go on for ages" bit.

          Considering that you appear to have completely stupid amounts of emotion invested in your particular choice of tools I won't really bother arguing them all.

          One that you mention twice is database abstraction. Personally I'd call DA a double-edged sword. Sure PDO doesn't achieve the level of abstraction that lots of frameworks do (but one might argue that it's not a framework so...) but at least if I hire someone who writes PHP I know they can write a simple join in SQL. I've met huge numbers of people - from professional developers to university students - so mentally locked into a platform that they couldn't do this.

          As an aside one thing I will say about the developers I tend to hire is that they have to show proficiency in writing code in a few different languages and perhaps some aptitude in writing code in a language they've never seen before. One thing I find this cuts down on is the amount of time they spend complaining about language X lacking feature-they-love Y which tends to get in the way of doing actual development.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by drinkypoo (153816)

          I could go on for ages and ages on this stuff.

          You could, but it would be a big fat waste of time, because thousands of people would still use LAMPs for the simple fact that the software costs nothing so hosting is readily available, and there are tons of working content management systems available for free to run on top of them, and by the way numerous commercial sites are doing brisk business with them. So what if they don't fit the needs of HP or Xerox?

          Most of your complaints are about defaults. That's dumb. I mean, the defaults are dumb, but you're

        • Ever tried to write business objects in PHP? What about dependency injection? Database abstraction? (let's face it PDO is a joke). Hell even prepared statements are a pain in PHP/MySQL (only exist in mysqli, and the implementation is horrible). AOP?

          I don't even know what the these terms mean so it must mean I can still use MySQL and it has a place after all?

        • you could use a system that separates components into libraries and interfaces, allows you to modularize, allows database independence, makes testing easy, has static typing so the compiler can catch 80% of problems before they ever get executed. Has AOP, has IOC that isn't insane and is used by more enterprise shops that anything else.

          I'm curious on this one. When is the last time you swapped out one database for another?

          Also, can you name a few good uses for AOP other than trace-level logging and security? I'm not trolling, I just really wish I knew the answer and I've been asking everyone who sounded like they could give one to me.

        • Where mysqldump locks half your database

          FWIW, if you use it with InnoDB (and almost any serious MySQL shop uses InnoDB exclusively), mysqldump --single-transaction is lockless.

          • by crucini (98210)

            ...and almost any serious MySQL shop uses InnoDB exclusively...

            I work at a pretty serious MySQL user, and we use both MyIsam and InnoDB. Properly tuned and used, Isam is faster. Innodb allegedly has the edge in PK-lookups, but my measurements disagree.

            Innodb is good if you want Oracle-ish features. Mostly we don't. In fact, the current is flowing the other way; towards things even leaner than MySQL.

            We mysqldump the slave, which eliminates that issue. (You can also stop the slave and cp the db files; I

            • I work at a pretty serious MySQL user, and we use both MyIsam and InnoDB. Properly tuned and used, Isam is faster. Innodb allegedly has the edge in PK-lookups, but my measurements disagree.

              InnoDB also doesn't have to be repaired or checked. MyISAM tables can crash on occasion if you look at them funny, and then you have to spend an inordinate amount of time repairing the tables (possibly days for large data sets). InnoDB supports data clustering, which is extremely useful for disk-bound data sets. And table-level locking in MyISAM is prohibitive for most serious workloads, unless either there are no writes (other than end-of-table inserts) or all of your queries are fast.

              I'm curious: how l

      • Put it this way, I've administered MS-SQL, Oracle and MySQL databases, I'll take MySQL any day.

        Perhaps, but what about PostgreSQL?

        • by kilodelta (843627)
          Never dealt with PostgreSQL. Did dabble a bit with DB2 though.
        • by sarkeizen (106737)

          We have exactly one production Postgres DB in our environment and we will migrate it to MySQL soon. There's a few things that are drivers to this:

          i) DB support on Linux apps - if it runs on Linux it tends to support MySQL but not necessarily postgres (one app I recall running into with this difficulty was wordpress). Because of this the more Linux apps you run, the more you are likely to run a MySQL db which means that even if you standardize on Postgres you will probably break that standard frequently.

          ii

    • Killing MySql won't send people to MS-Access. It is PostGreSql (which was Sun's original favorite OSS RDMS) that stands to benefit from the death of MySql. I had predicted this [blogspot.com] a year ago.
    • by toby (759)

      Why ask Monty? Why not ask every major web player on the planet why they choose 'Microsoft Access level technology'.

      You might find yourself laughed out of the room (as Microsoft would be, if they tried to sell Access to Google, Yahoo, Flickr, Slashdot, imdb, SABRE, YouTube, Wikipedia, NASA, US Census, ... and most major MySQL users).

      http://mysql.com/why-mysql/case-studies/ [mysql.com]
      http://mysql.com/customers/ [mysql.com]

      • by ergo98 (9391)

        Why ask Monty? Why not ask every major web player on the planet why they choose 'Microsoft Access level technology'.

        You realize that MySQL wasn't invented yesterday, right? That it has plied its course for some 14 years now.

        For about the first 7 of those, it was absolutely horrific, chosen only by idiots who had absolutely no idea what they're doing. Since then, sure it has started to gain features that every other RDBMS vendor has had long before, with each step the naive userbase suddenly coming into real

  • We know that #5 is "Profit!"
  • Five Questions... (Score:2, Informative)

    by RayMarron (657336)

    ...three of which were answered "See my blog". Article rated -1 uninformative.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      I got the distinct feeling he was kinda fed up with the interviewer.
      I liked the "I just answered that." It takes real skill to get someone to answer like that in a short non-controversial interview.
      • by Dynedain (141758)

        I disagree. His "I just answered that" response was referring the interviewer/reader to the previous question, to which his answer was basically "Read my blog".

        The blog link is a post to a mostly-empty, non-informative wiki. If you aren't going to answer the questions, don't take the interview. This was just a cop-out of "I'm to lazy to explain things to you, figure it out yourself" which is a horrible stance to take when you're trying to launch a new venture and gain interest.

      • by musicmaker (30469)

        It's yet another demonstration of the professionalism of the MySQL people. Maybe Sun can introduce some level of seriousness about software to MySQL. Oh wait - those are the people that gave us Java; nevermind.

    • ...even though it's about "See my blog." Your comment is -1 uninformative.

  • David Axmark (the second founder of MySQL) and I released it 'open source like' (this was before open source) in 1995

    i think that several [free-soft.org] people [google.com] would disagree with that.

    mySQL was seen at the time as an answer to mSQL [wikipedia.org], which was non-free, even to the point of sharing a very similar API.

    funny how times and history change.

  • Obviously not an emergency, but what is going to be the next big DB? Obviously SUN is going to screw up MySQL sooner or later (if not a bit already). I really don't want to develop for the next few years without knowing what DB I am going to end up switching to. Will PG reemerge from its slumber? Will someone fork or branch MySQL? Will SUN go under and MySQL break free (1 billion $ later)? Firebird looks vaguely interesting. So my question would be: If your boss was allergic to MySQL what would your next c

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