What I look forward to hear on "State of the Dolphin", 2010

March 1, 2010

Though most probably I won't be there in person, here's what I expect to hear from Edward Screven, Oracle, on the State of the Dolphin keynote, coming MySQL Conference & Expo.

I'm under the assumption that no shocking news are delivered. That is, that for the near future, it's business as usual for MySQL.

Last year's great message, delivered by Karen Padir, was "more community". More community participation, more community patches. Looking back, I'm not sure I saw that coming true. The 5.4 version was announced at that same conference, and was criticized for being community-oriented yet community-hidden. The latest 5.5 milestones announcement took everyone by surprise again. Ideas from Google patches were incorporated into 5.5M2. but, to the best of my understanding, no community patch was delievered.

I have both congratulated and expressed my desire that community took greater part in this.

So what am I looking forward to hear?

  1. Like everyone else, the general plans Oracle holds for MySQL. Again, I'm not expecting shocking news here.
  2. The expected roadmap for MySQL, technically speaking. I don't actually know if there is a roadmap right now.
  3. The intended role for the MySQL community. Frankly, it would be just fine with me if Oracle were to say: "we will not accept community patches", and that would be the end of it. That's fine, because it's their right, and it would be an honest announcement. Naturally, I'll be much happier to hear "we will incorporate the best 20 community patches withing the next three days". Somewhere in between, I'll be really satisfied with a clear explanation of how Oracle sees the community, and how it would like to cooperate with it. Will it share the development plan with the community? Will it allow the community to have a say about what goes in or not?

I realize this must all be very pressing, what with the acquisition; big new company; new rules; new bosses; new things to learn. But I do believe it's in Oracle's best interest (and obligation) to speak up their mind on MySQL in relation to the community.

The situation where the users (not the community) don't know what's planned for MySQL on the technical level, what's the next milestone, when the 5.4/5.5 versions are scheduled to be released, what will happen with all those features which were supposed to be incorporated into 5.2/6.0 -- had better be done with quickly.

My congratulations to the MySQL team on the finalization of the acquisition, and best wishes to a smooth and successful merge into Oracle.

  • Mark Callaghan

    Will there be an SCA? Or will BSD contributions be accepted?

  • Hi Schlomi

    Having been "on the inside" at the time, I can confirm that the focus on "more community" was very real, also personally to Karen. There was a dedicated team to work on aligning the development more with the community.

    However, things changed and today most of the people on that team have left or were laid off. (I can think of Lenz still being there, but think most others have left.) Karen of course also is not there anymore either.

    What has been weird to witness was that you need a dedicated team to open up a development process that had become closed from public view. We actually have this problem in Monty Program too, it is easy for everyone to fall back to their old MySQL habits and not communicate openly enough with the rest of the world.

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