Sun Labs Open House 2008, first post acquisition MySQL release

I just got contacted by ComputerWorld Canada, asking for my reaction to the new MySQL release:

I came across your blog and was wondering if you wanted to share thoughts on Sun Microsystems’ announcement that it will release the next version of MySQL (v. 5.1) in Q2 of this year? Do you see the new version as helping further drive adoption of the open source database, and help promote open source technology in general?

Well, this is good timing. TrevorO and I went down to the Sun Labs Open House (here's Trevor's take on a few things we saw at Sun). We were down looking at a lot of the "cloud" and related technologies that are coming up hot these days.

But back to the MySQL release. I think Sun's acquisition and backing of MySQL is great. I like the fact that all across their product line, Sun is committing to open source. They have everything from services to hardware to back it up, which just makes it easier for large enterprises to adopt open source. Maybe I'm biased, because Sun has been supporting the Drupal community for some time now, and have shown a great willingness to learn from open source communities and get better. Open source databases in general (and perhaps MySQL in particular) still do struggle with marketing perception against Oracle and MS SQL, so anything that can help raise the profile is a good thing.

But all is not great with MySQL 5.1. I don't follow the development that closely, but found an interesting post pointing out that when 5.1 is released, it's only 6 months until 5.0 gets end of lifed (EOL).

Let me close by pointing out the three things that I have been consistently saying to any Sun people that I come across:

  1. Improve your social media marketing strategy: my feedback to the Sun Startup Essentials system has been that they should a) start a blog and b) publish weekly architectures of cool Sun software and hardware combinations. Yes, there is http://blogs.sun.com, and lots of high profile individuals from Sun like Tim Bray that are doing a great job, but it seems like next to none of this has trickled into the actual marketing departments. Give me an RSS subscribe widget and kill the email harvesting, people!
  2. Fix MySQL clustering: it's hard, it's cranky, it needs improvement so that regular people can snap this together.
  3. Open an engineering office in Vancouver: does this need a comment? Sure, it may be entirely self serving, but Microsoft is in town now, and I think you'll find a great base here on the left coast to find great people. Our concentration of open source experience in town will help, as well.

Sun is by no means perfect (they are a big co with all that implies), but I'm still really interested in some of the technology they have coming out of the labs, as well as their move to increased openness.