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March 2006

Enterprise Content Management Web Seminar


MySQL and Alfresco are putting on a web seminar on March 9 featuring Alfresco co-founder and CTO John Newton.  John was also a co-founder of Documentum and has been doing Enterprise Content Management (ECM) before it even had a fancy acronym.  He's a scary smart individual who really understands how to build and deliver software in this space that not only works well but has an enjoyable, almost Apple-like user interface.  John will be covering background on ECM, scale-out, open source strategies, best practices and case studies.  If you are looking into content management solutions and want to keep costs under control, you won't want to miss this web seminar Web Traffic


The web site has always had a lot of traffic, but as MySQL has become more popular we've seen a steady increase in the last year.  In particular, our number of page views and downloads has increased dramatically since the release of MySQL 5.0.  We get over a million page views per day and generally over 50,000 downloads per day.  A lot of the traffic goes to our developer zone where we have lots of technical articles, interviews, documentation, forums and of course, software downloads.   Our reach and page views per user have steadily increased as we've put more information available to developers and DBAs.  We recognize that for our audience, having technical information (and not a lot of marketing fluff) is what they want most. 

It was kind of interesting to us that last year we actually surpassed Oracle's web site in terms of traffic, as measured by Alexa.  However, not to pick on Oracle, in the tech sector we also generate more traffic than Red Hat, Novell, SAP, Apache, JBoss, Eclipse, BEA, Borland, Gartner, eWeek and InfoWorld.  Beyond tech, we actually have more traffic than some popular "mainstream" brands including the Nike, United Airlines, AT&T, Honda, Toyota, Ford, Porsche, Shell, GE, Princeton University, Fender Guitars, Coca-Cola, McDonald's and Hooters. 

Ok, I admit, this was not a scientific analysis (especially the comparison with Hooters), and we have less traffic than some household names like Apple, IBM, Microsoft and Intel.  Nonetheless, MySQL's web traffic is larger than many of the top best-selling brands as reported by InterBrand.  For an open source database company, that's pretty good!  In marketing-speak, you could say that MySQL has a lot of "brand equity", but to me the real importance is we have a lot of happy users that make up our community.  And that's what drives us every day. 

The other important point is that many of the users of MySQL are themselves some of the highest trafficked sites in the world.  This includes sites like Yahoo!, Google, NeoPets, WikiPedia, Craigslist, Evite, Citysearch, Friendster, the Facebook, Feedburner and thousands of others.  We're very proud to be powering businesses big and small with MySQL.

Tim O'Reilly


Tim O'Reilly, founder of O'Reilly Media will be speaking at the upcoming MySQL Users Conference April 24-27 in Santa Clara.  Tim's been at the forefront of the open source revolution for as long as it's been called "open source", having helped bring the term into the lexicon after the historic Open Source Summit in April 1998.  More recently Tim has helped bring the notion of "Web 2.0" into mainstream discussion.

NerdTV has a great interview with in which Tim discusses how he got started in publishing, founding the first Perl conference, why licensing is a red herring and more. 

If you haven't seen Tim O'Reilly speak before (or even if you have) I encourage you to come to the MySQL Users Conference to check it out.  There's always a new wrinkle Tim brings to the forefront and his logic is so clear and compelling I always wonder "why didn't I think of that?"

OSBC West Redux


Matt Asay must be one tired camper!  I don't know how he manages to put together such a strong conference as the now twice-a-year OSBC gathering while holding down a regular day job at Alfresco!  While there are other conferences that target open source developers, OSBC is targeted to the business community: open source entrepreneurs, startups, innovators, investors.  Ok, he also allows lawyers and there's a smattering of end users.  But increasingly, OSBC is ground central for everyone who's anyone in the open source business.  For MySQL, it's a great way to connect with so many of our partners and also to meet with new companies who want to work with MySQL or understand how we've approached our business and what lessons we've learned along the way.  I'm always happy to "pay forward" by helping newcomers understand what it takes to build a successful community and how to avoid screwing things up. 

The sessions are of high quality and have more meat (and less marketing fluff) than most conferences.  There's also an excitement and energy to OSBC that is contagious.  You see new companies getting started, new partnerships being formed, new insights being created that help not only individual companies but also the open source market as a whole.   And not only are new companies coming on board with open source, but even companies that have been previously outspoken critics of open source are now starting to get it. 

The sessions were often standing room only and despite the fact that Matt says people aren't there for the hotel or the food, the wireless was good and the food was excellent. (Ok, it sounds shallow to comment on the food, but it was nice to not have the usual box lunch!) 

Here are a few news highlights from the conference:

Anders Hejlsberg


Anders Hejlsberg, a distinguished engineer at Microsoft, is interviewed in the Microsoft Channel 9 "Behind the Code" series.  Anders is one of the greatest minds in the programming field and has had a huge influence on programmers for more than 20 years.  Anders developed the first Integrated Development Environment (IDE) Turbo Pascal at Borland, and later developed Delphi, Visual Java, the Windows Foundation Classes, C# and the .Net framework. 

I had the pleasure of working with Anders on various versions of Turbo Pascal and Delphi back at Borland some years back.  One of the best things about Anders was he understood how to meet the needs of a very large audience of customers by applying principals of simplicity and elegance.  He was careful not to add features that would contribute complexity or feature bloat. 

Anders remains one of the sharpest developers in the industry and is currently focused on solving the impedence mismatch between programming languages and relational databases with a technology known as LINQ (Language Integrated Query).  LINQ makes queries into "first class citizens" in the .Net languages C# and VB. 

You can hear Anders describe some of his views on programming languages, life at Borland, work on Delphi, code reviews with Bill Gates, good taste in programming and his obsessively high quality standards.  There's also a section featuring Gary Whizin, who was Anders' manager (and ping-pong coach) for 13 years at Borland.   

Mansour Safai - R.I.P.


Mansour Safai, one of the great unsung heroes of the software development tools industry, passed away in the early morning of February 9th.  The picture above is Mansour with his son Nicolai. 

Although Mansour was a private person his impact in the industry was profound.  He created the most successful standalone debugger of the 1980s, Multiscope, the Symantec C++ family of development tools, Visual Cafe, the first Java IDE and finally, M7 a visual development environment acquired by BEA in late 2005.

I knew Mansour for many years when he was running the programming languages and tools business at Symantec and I was at Borland.  He had tried to recruit me many times over the years and I finally joined Mansour in 2002 to work at a new startup company he had founded called M7.  The company was an offshoot of some advanced development work Mansour and his team had underway to make Java development much easier.  M7 won several industry awards, including twice winning the prestigious "Jolt" award from Software Development Magazine in both 2002 and 2005.

The M7 team was truly gifted.  The goal of simplifying Java development from top to bottom was perhaps overly ambitious.  Mansour eventually refocused the team to target the emerging open source standards such as Struts, Hibernate and JSP servlets.  What emerged was Nitrox, an elegant development environment for building web based applications with the full power of Java. 

Mansour will be deeply missed by all those who worked with him.  He was a great man who cared both about people and about technology.  He made a point of doing things right both in his work and in his life.  As Mansour might have said, "Cards on the table... we will miss you." 

In lieu of flowers the family requests that donations be sent to:

Dr. John Laterra Research Fund
in memory of Mansour Safai
John Hopkins University Dept. of Neurology,
100 N.Charles St., Suite 409,
Baltimore, MD 21201

Memorial Press Coverage:

Background Press Coverage:

Alfreco Raises $8 Million


Alfresco, the leading (or maybe even only!) supplier of open source enterprise content management software has received an additional $8 million in venture capital investment through Mayfield Fund and Accel Partners.  Alfresco is a sign of the growing scope of open source throughout the enterprise.  A few years back people questioned whether open source had a role beyond the operating system.  Sure, a few hackers would run Linux, but...

Now it's clear that open source is not only significant in IT infrastructure, but there's a growing role for open source applications, including content management, CRM, business intelligence, collaboration and email.  More and more companies are building enterprise grade applications on the LAMP stack and that will further drive the adoption of open source applications and infrastructure.

Congrats guys! 

Andy Hertzfeld


I've always regarded Andy Hertzfeld as the quintessential Mac programmer.  He was on the original Macintosh team back in the early 1980s, wrote much of the user interface code, wrote the first task-switching program, founded Radius, General Magic, and then later became involved in open source through a commpany he founded called Eazel. 

To commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Mac, Hertzfeld created a collection of stories on the early days at Apple, which he published at under a creative commons license.  He also made the underlying software available under an open source license.  For those who remember fondly the days of the early Mac it's exciting to relive those old days.  The stories were later published by O'Reilly as the coffee table book called "Revolution in the Valley." 

Robert X. Cringely does a great interview with Hertzfeld on NerdTV covering his history with Apple, working with Steve Jobs, the importance of open source, and how the code to MacPaint is getting open sourced.  If you're into the Mac or want to get a perspective from a top notch developer, check out these links. 

BusinessWeek: Open Source Report


BusinessWeek Online has a Tech Special Report on Open Source that includes several articles on Linux, software patents and the database market. The series includes some interesting observations on the prevalance of Linux and the LAMP stack to web applications, the emergence of open source in embedded systems such as Tivo, LinkSys routers, cars, phones and even Zimbra's open source mail system.  Linux may not be as prevalent on the desktop, but it continues to make inroads in a broad range of systems and devices.

Sarah Lacey's coverage of what she calls the latest round of the "Database Wars"  is insightful and she nails the key reason why CIOs are looking at open source databases like MySQL: they've been successful with Linux and they are tired of writing big checks to the big three DBMS vendors.  I saw Sarah interview Marten Mickos a few weeks back at a Harvard Alumni dinner (not that we know anyone who went to Harvard) and she brings tremendous depth to the story. 

Open Source in Germany


Germany is one of MySQL's biggest markets. There's a thriving open source community, many talented developers, a long history of innovation and -- until recently -- very conservative IT buyers. However, we made an early investment in Germany a few years back, which led to gradual expansion and a big payoff in 2005. We have added many new customers in Germany including companies like major online retailer Neckerman, T-Systems, Sony International, Siemens, Bayer, Braun,, Lycos Europe, HypoVereinsbank, Lufthansa, Deutsche Post and many others.

We're also starting to see open source become more widely accepted in many mainstream German organizations.  There's a good write up in the InfoWorld blog below by Matthew Langham discussing the recent "Open Source Meets Business" conference sponsored by (a major business publication).  Although much of the focus is still at the OS layer, there's a no-nonsense approach to open source taking hold, especially in retail, telecom and financial services markets.