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Five Questions With Michael Widenius - Founder And Original Developer Of MySQL

Unless you have been living under a rock or are very new to the open source world you will surely know Michael Widenius however, for those not in the know, please give us a little background on who Michael Widenius is.

My friends call me Monty. I have some talents in writing working C code and know a little bit about databases. Some years ago (1994) I put these talents to some use and wrote the MySQL database on top of my old database project that I started in 1982. David Axmark (the second founder of MySQL) and I released it 'open source like' (this was before open source) in 1995 because we wanted do some good and we thought that 'at least we wouldn't get less business by doing this'. The end result did way exceed our expectations.

There has been a lot of press coverage about the problems at Sun since the acquisition of MySQL. What finally prompted you to decide the time has come to leave Sun, and in so doing, MySQL behind?

I tried to explain it in relatively good detail on my blog at http://monty-says.blogspot.com.

The short story is that the MySQL development organization was not functioning well under it's capacity and we where mistreating and destroying our community. I wanted to help Sun fix this but was told to wait and wait and wait In the end I gave up waiting.

The other side of the coin was that some 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.

This in combination with the fact that Sun never offered me any work contract that would in any way recognize what I had done for MySQL got me to realize that Sun is not the place for me, after all.

Will you still be involved with MySQL in any way?

Yes, in many ways. You can read all about this at http://askmonty.org

In short, I will concentrate on three things: Finnishing the Maria storage engine. Work with the community to create a community developed branch of MySQL. Network with Sun and other MySQL companies to better fulfill the needs of MySQL customers and the MySQL community.

I read about Monty Program Ab on your blog. Can you tell us a little more about Monty Program Ab and the your goals?

The above answer kind of already answered that.

Thank you so much for joining me Monty. As a final question, do you have any advice for young up and coming folks in the open source industry who is just starting out on their first open source project or venture?

Choose the right license. Find a business model that allows you to work full time on your product. Understand that not all bussiness is made for getting venture capital and grow. Most bussiness are made by small, quite profitable service companies that creates a good living for their workers. Study other open source projects to understand how the create a working community. If you don't understand it, get in contact with an open source advovate to explain how the communities works. This is something you need to get right from the start! Remember that if you are working in the open source space, everything is about trust. You need to be as open as you can about everything you do and *never* betray the trust of your customers or users.

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