David Axmark and Michael Widenius

State of the Dolphin

MySQL Users Conference
46 minutes, 21.2mb, recorded 2005-04-19
David Axmark and Monty Widenius
MySQL AB founders Monty Widenius and David Axmark open the 2005 MySQL Users Conference in traditionally entertaining style with a presentation on the State of the Dolphin. The Dolphin, of course, is the MySQL logo and Monty and David look back at some of the major milestones in MySQL history, the current state of the MySQL world, and the future wonders in store for MySQL users.

This is IT history done as a double act, with David Axmark focusing on the business side of the growth of MySQL and Monty Widenius covering the technical decisions that led to the features that make MySQL so successful. They've been working together since the 1980s and, although they still cannot agree on the actual year they started, their presentation reflects the partnership that has developed in parallel with their database software.

They start with the name. Do you know why it's called MySQL? Then they explain the early decision to concentrate on speed and ease of installation that, while meaning that the first versions were lacking in some features, kept MySQL remarkably bug-free.

The bulk of a presentation that is full of anecdotes, and which manages to convey the passion for excellence driving both men, looks at the development philosophy that has always put high standards above features when it comes to new releases. This philosophy is carried through into the hiring of coders, the interaction between the company and their user community, and into the exciting new functionality included in the latest version. They also explain the new enterprise-ready version and a burgeoning suite of graphical tools.

David and Monty believe strongly in the superiority of open source code and in the indefensibility of software patents, points they emphasize towards the end of the presentation. This is definitely a talk you'll want to hear if you're a MySQL user or have an interest in the future of open source software.

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David Axmark is one of the founders of MySQL AB and has been working with MySQL since before it had a name.

His involvement with MySQL began with the idea to make an open source SQL RDBMS to replace an old terminal based tool named UNIREG.

In a past life, David worked as a software consultant and wrote many lines of 6502 and Z80 assembler, C, Lisp, (Bourne)-Shell, and Perl. In MySQL, he has been involved with strategy, commercial aspects, installation, and documentation, as well as giving many talks and tutorials. His Hobbies include hiking (including a trip to the top of Mt. Fuji), Ultimate, and discgolf. David lives in Uppsala, Sweden with his family, plants, and computers.

Michael "Monty" Widenius is both CTO and lead developer at MySQL AB, the company that he co-founded to provide licensing, support, and other services for the MySQL RDBMS.

In a past life, Monty worked on interesting projects like games coded in assembler, a multi-tasking OS for an 8-bit Z80-based computer, and a lot of data warehousing. He has worked in assembler, BASIC, C, C++, Common Lisp, shell and Perl, as well as some other less common languages.

Monty lives in Helsinki, Finland and in his spare time acts as shepherd for a large flock of humming boxes and flickering lights.


This presentation is one of a series from the MySQL Users Conference 2005 held in Santa Clara, California, April 18-25, 2005

For Team ITC:

  • Description editor: Graham Stewart
  • Post-production audio engineer: Bruce Sharpe
  • Series producer: Arun Tanksali

This free podcast is from our MySQL Conference series.