MySQL Founder Monty Widenius Departs Sun

Feb 06, 2009

Michael "Monty" Widenius, long associated with MySQL, has decided to leave Sun Microsystems. His plan is to pursue open source software development again as an independent agent, and he also sees a future in gastronomy that should benefit all database developers.

Widenius announced his departure in a blog, "Time to move on." Rumors had been flying ever since last summer and Widenius confirmed 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." The pressure did have an effect and, as he says, "I made an agreement with Sun's upper management to not initiate my resignation but instead stay around for three more months." During this time he would help Sun work out the kinks in MySQL. However, "the three months did stretch out to seven months" and his hoped for changes "did not happen fast enough." End of November 2008 he openly questioned MySQL's release policies and gave his reasons why, as we reported at that time. He summarized his feelings in his blog with, "In particular I would have liked to see the server development to be moved to a true open development environment." Sun may have been thinking about it, "but the pace has been too slow."

Nevertheless, he still believes that "Sun was the best possible buyer for MySQL" and that cooperation with them might be possible on a different basis. He plans to move his development to a new entity called Monty Program Ab. The smaller and potentially employee-owned open source company will continue work on Widenius's storage engine, Maria, with some of the Sun team members in tow. The plan, he says, "is to continue to work on the Maria project more or less as before. The main difference... is that the Maria project and its mailing lists will move to launchpad and we will start using free-node for our IRC communications (channel #maria)." Furthermore, he promises an active collaboration with the MySQL community and hopes to "get binaries out soon."

And Widenius has further ideas. As a venture capitalist with a new company, Open Ocean, he wants to invest in open source "disruptive technology start-ups [where we can] significantly contribute to [their] growth and success." Gastronomical endeavors also catch his fancy. As he says in his blog, "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...." His recipes, so to speak, for the future will start appearing in his askmonty.org blog.

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