MySQL Founder Leaves Sun


MySQL founder Monty Widenius has left Sun after a very public flap over bugs in MySQL 5.1 and months of rumours.

Widenius, who came over to Sun Microsystems when the company acquired MySQL AB last January, announced in a blog post that he has moved on. His departure is hardly a surprise; rumours that he had already left first circulated months ago, though Widenius himself stayed on. Now, however, citing the IT industry version of irreconcilable differences, the MySQL founder has packed his bags.

“In this case, the rumours had some elements of truth to them,” he wrote. “I had told management that I thus would be submitting my resignation immediately as I strongly believed that the [MySQL] 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,” he added.

Three months turned into seven, and the changes he had hoped for in Sun’s MySQL Database Group did not materialise fast enough, he wrote.

“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,” he continued. “In particular I would have liked 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.”

For its part, Sun defended the GA release of MySQL 5.1 when Widenius raised red flags back in late November. The company noted that not everyone in the MySQL community agreed with Widenius’ assessment of the MySQL 5.1 bugs, and said the open-source database goes through an extensive quality assurance process.

“I still think that Sun was the best possible buyer for MySQL and I feel sad that things didn’t work out together,” Widenius wrote. “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.”

Widenius said he will be leaving to work with his own company, Monty Program Ab. Among other things, the company will focus on a transactional storage engine for MySQL called Maria, as well as Mariadb, a branch of the MySQL database with the Maria storage engine. The company will also do NRE (Non-recurring engineering) to customers on MySQL and Maria and put this work into the MySQL-Maria tree, Widenius wrote.

“Monty Program Ab will be a true open-source company, with the additional goal of being a smaller, family-oriented company 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,” he wrote.

He added he would continue to work with and invest in disruptive technology startup companies that do open source and community products.