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February 2006
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More on the Migration Toolkit


The GUI tools team at MySQL has been working hard on a number of new releases including an update to the Migration Toolkit that provides many bug fixes as well as support for a broader range of source databases.  You can use the Migration Toolkit to go from any JDBC-supported database to MySQL 5.0 and there are also optimized migration modules for several versions back as well as the most recent versions of Oracle10g, Oracle XE, SQL Server 2005 and Access.

You can get the latest Migration Toolkit 1.0.25 below:

MySQL Acquires IBM and EMC...

Ok, we didn't acquire anyone.  But I thought it was funny the way our partnerships with IBM and EMC were reported on, the huge german news web site.  The text below popped up on my Google News search.  We may have big balls, but not that big.  But it makes for interesting discussion.  :-)

As reported on Google via

MySQL acquires IBM and EMC as partnership program members
Heise Online, Germany - 8 hours ago
IBM and EMC have joined the partnership program of MySQL AB. The Network Certified Partner Program attests the smooth interaction ...

Actual MySQL Press Release:

IBM & EMC Join the MySQL Network Certified Partner Program
Enterprise Vendors Provide Products & Services that Support Users of the World's Most Popular Open Source Database

CUPERTINO, Calif. -- March 27, 2006 -- MySQL AB, developer of the world's most popular open source database, today announced that tech industry leaders IBM and EMC have joined the MySQL Network Certified Partner Program. Among other co-marketing and promotion activities with MySQL, both companies will be sponsors of next month's MySQL Users Conference in Santa Clara, California (

I guess something got lost in the translation.

Eclipse Gains Momentum (updated)


This week at the EclipseCon in Santa Clara we announced that MySQL joined the Eclipse Foundation.  Admittedly, I wish we would have joined a long time ago (like maybe the first hundred times Mike and Donald asked us) but we finally got our ducks in a row.  To me Eclipse is one of the most successful and intriguing open source projects to date.  The entire process of open sourcing Eclipse was a masterpiece of strategy led by IBM that enabled them to create the best extensible tools platform.  There are really only two development tools platforms that matter: Eclipse and Visual Studio.  While both are open and extensible, only one of them is oopen source and cross-platform.

In fact, Eclipse has garnered support from more than 130 member firms and there are now more than 1000 Eclipse plug-ins and more than 60 projects under way.  Anyone who still thinks of Eclipse as a Java IDE is missing the boat.  It's a platform for all kinds of innovative tools. 

So not surprisingly there were a number of notable announcements at EclipseCon from companies including IBM, MySQL, Zend, SugarCRM, Exadel, Compuware, and others.

Community Poll

At MySQL we've made a signficiant investment in expanding the community team.  This team is led by intrepid VP and multi-linguist Kaj Arno, and includes people on 3 continents who go out and spread the word of MySQL, help energize open source projects using MySQL, organize meetups, write occasional articles, and otherwise help make MySQL ubiquitous.  But there's always more that we could do.  Since we don't always know the answers, we thought we'd ask the community!

So here's an opportunity to influence things by letting the community team know your priorities.  There's a new quick poll on the MySQL developer zone asking quite simply: "What do you think the MySQL community team should focus on?"

MySQL Workbench Beta


The MySQL GUI team, under the leadership of graphical guru Mike Zinner, has posted a new beta version of MySQL Workbench.  This is a brand new graphical tool targeted to DBAs giving them a powerful graphical environment for modeling and managing database schemas.  This is an awesome tool that makes it easy to reverse engineer huge database schemas, maintain the model graphically, and it provides complete 2-way synchronization between the graphical model and the underlying database schema.  It provides automatic layout, customizable views, drag and drop capabilities and more. 

MySQL Workbench runs on Windows, Mac and Linux and takes advantage of the native interface on each platform.  Performance is awesome even for very large models with thousands of tables.  Workbench has an extensible architecture via an underlying scripting engine and a cool plug-in interface.  You can also import models from DBDesigner4, Mike's earlier modeling tool. 

Workbench is a graphical tool, so words fail me in describing how cool this is.  Really, just download it, check it out, and post to the forums to let us know what you think.

Oracle FAQ Runs MySQL


Ok, I just had to laugh.  The Oracle FAQ site OraFAQ runs on... MySQL!   I guess it just goes to show how cost-effective open source is.  Here's some quotes from a thread on their discussion forum:

"Interesting - we don't run an Oracle database. But I suppose we ARE a free site so are probably a bit short of cash.

David "


"What cash? Every penny we make goes back into running and developing this site. There is no way we would be able to raise the money required to buy a commercial Oracle license.

Best regards.


To be honest, it's not a surprise.  There are tens of thousands of web sites that run MySQL ranging from the mega sites like Yahoo, Google, Craigslist, Travelocity, to many ecommerce sites, blogs, forums, and discussion sites.  After all, the price is right and there's no hidden "bait and switch" pricing when you hit a couple of gigs of memory.  So guys, keep on using MySQL!

OQO Pocket PC


In my long-running obsessive quest for the ultimate pocket PC, I was able to check out the OQO.  Peter Harvey, hot shot MySQL developer focused on ODBC, has one of these and he was gracious enough to give me some time on this thing.  (Frankly, he could have charged me $10 an hour.)  The OQO (pronounced just how it looks "oh-quo") was designed by some gurus out of Apple who developed the PowerBook laptops and have now focused their efforts on a super-portable Windows device that weighs less than a pound and fits in an inside jacket pocket. 

The latest version is the OQO+, which you can think of as OQO 1.1.  It's a minor update to the hardware with more memory and disk space.  The specs are:

  • Weight: 14 oz
  • Dimensions: 4.9" x 3.4" x 0.9"
  • 1ghz Transmeta Crusoe CPU
  • 30 gb hard disk
  • 512 mb RAM
  • 800 x 480 w-VGA screen resolution
  • Windows XP
  • Qwerty thumb keyboard
  • Bluetooth wireless
  • Wifi, Firewire, USB 2.0
  • Microphone, speaker, headphone jack
  • 3 hours battery life

While it's not a speed demon, it feels as fast as my Sony Vaio laptop which uses an Intel Centrino chipset.  In tests of browsing, email, powerpoint the performance was very good.  Peter's also managed to get Ubuntu Linux running on the OQO in a second disk partition, which is pretty cool. 

Memory and disk space can't be upgraded, so you wouldn't want to use this as your main machine, but for travel or going to meetings, it's pretty cool.  Or I should say, it's actually pretty hot; the OQO heats up quite a bit.  While every handheld device has its tradeoffs, the OQO is pretty good for what it does. The weaknesses are fairly significant though.  You can't touch type on this machine, it won't run all day on battery power and it's expensive.  Still, I think the OQO is a better machine overall than Microsoft's recently announce Origami, now known by the ungainly name Ultra-Mobile PC (UMPC).

While the OQO is not perfect, it will be interesting to see what else they have in store for OQO 2.0 or 3.0.  If there's a way for them to deliver a clamshell design with a keyboard you can type on, and 4-5 hour battery life, then I think it could be a great machine.  Based on their latest announcements, I think OQO understands the market requirements better than anyone else: business apps need a keyboard!

However, the biggest benefit of the OQO, that is, it's ability to run Windows XP, could be it's biggest drawback.  Windows XP is a resource hog and by the time you add standard Office applications it's going to consume a lot of disk space and memory.  It could be that the Nokia 770 is a better path to handheld Nirvana.  But in either case, for a machine to really be successful, I think it will require a clamshell design and a keyboard you can actually type on, like the old Psion Series 5.

Dave Winer

Dave Winer is one of the pioneers of the software industry. He singlehandedly developed and popularized outliners as a software category and later helped develop XML-RPC, SOAP and RSS. 

There's a good interview on NerdTV where Robert X. Cringely interviews Winer and discusses topics such as outlining, the early days of the software industry, why programmers don't always get it, the development and evolution of OSS, publishing on the internet and more.  Dave's not known for being a shrinking violet; he has strong views on a lot of technologies.  But love him or hate him, he's had huge impact on software in the last ten years.

Open Source Internet Tablet (updated)


I managed to get my hands on a fairly cool device, the Nokia 770 Internet Tablet.  The picture above doesn't do it justice, but it's a small Internet tablet with built-in WiFi and a beautful crisp screen running 800x480 resolution. It weights just 8 ounces (230 grams) and can be easily carried in a jacket pocket.  Since the device is from Nokia, you might guess that it has basic phone capabilities or GPRS based web surfing, but it doesn't.  However, if you have a bluetooth enabled phone, you can surf via your phone. 

After a couple of days experimenting, I don't think this will replace my existing Palm Treo phone or Sony Vaio laptop, but I'm still impressed with it.  It offers the Opera browser, simple email, a nice RSS newsreader and good multimedia capabilities including Internet Radio and video player, a built-in speaker and headphone jack.  That's not to say the 770 doesn't have it's shortcomings.  I would dearly like to see a a clamshell design with a keyboard I could type on as well as faster boot time.  Not to mention some actual PDA software for calendar, contacts, note taking etc. 

The other interesting thing about the Nokia 770 is that it's software is completely open source and available online at operated by Nokia.  (Apparently the name Maemo doesn't mean anything, it was randomly generated.  I guess that's cheaper than paying a marketing firm to come up with an equally meaningless name.)  The software is based on the Linux 2.6 kernel and Gnome UI.  So perhaps there will be a community that grows around this and enhances the software to make it more powerful.  Certainly, the email program needs some more advanced capabilities to be more useful.  There's an application catalog available online.

Meanwhile there are rumors Microsoft and perhaps Apple will get into the the "ultraportable" category of handtop computers.  Microsoft has their Origami Project with an announcement scheduled for March 2nd and a concept video leaked out on the internet through a design agency.  And while Apple continues to deny any interest in handhelds or tablet PCs, they do have some filings with the US Patent and Trademark Office suggesting to the contrary.  Maybe some competition will fire up the market to come up with more interesting small form factor computers.   

I've been looking for the perfect handheld device for something like 20 years and it still amazes me that there's nothing quite right.  I must have owned or tried every pocket PC device including the Atari Portfolio, Poqet PC, HP 200LX, Psion 3, Psion 5, Sharp's Intermec 6651, Franklin Rex and various Palm PDAs and phones along the way.  Ok, so I admit, maybe this may just be a personal problem I have.

Last year's OQO looks interesting, but it runs Windows XP which makes it kind of a dog when it comes to performance and battery power.  Also, it's got a pretty lame thumb keyboard.  Paul Allan's FlipStartPC wins the vapor award of the decade for announcing a 1 pound handheled at the Demo conference in 2004 and two years later there's no sign of it shipping.  Maybe with Microsoft's new platform, they'll get something to market. 

Microsoft has now announced their Universal Mobile PC (codenamed Origami) and so far the results look underwhelming.  It's not small enough to fit in your pocket, it's not powerful enough to be a laptop and it's not cheap enough to be third device in addition to a phone and laptop.   It's unfortunate that they had so much buzz and delivered so little. 

Not that anyone has asked for my input, but here's what I think it takes to launch a successful handheld device today:

  • Weight: under 1 pound
  • Battery life: 6-8 hours
  • Keyboard you can actually type on
  • Dimensions: fits in a jacket pocket
  • Wifi connectivity
  • Fast email, web browsing
  • Instant-on (under 5 seconds!)
  • USB interface
  • Price under $500

Here are a few links:

EclipseCon March 20-23


The annual EclipseCon conference takes place in Santa Clara in less than 2 weeks.  In just a few years, Eclipse has gone from a niche technology to absolute domination in tools.  Not only is Eclipse a hugely popular platform for C++ and Java IDEs, it has become the basis for tools across a wide range of languages and technologies. Whether it's web development, data tools, or SOA, there's an Eclipse-based tool.  At this point, the only holdout is Sun, who has their own NetBeans tool, but it's never had the same kind of traction as Eclipse and I think they are just bitter about that

Having spent a number of years at Borland in the 90s, where I helped launch Delphi and other products, I have always had a soft spot for Integrated Development Environments (IDEs).  In my view, Eclipse completely reshaped the tools industry.  It was a brilliant strategy on the part of IBM to go from nearly last place with their Visual Age product line to the number one position with Eclipse.  Eclipse helped commoditize the tools space so that companies could focus on adding value, not on re-inventing the wheel.

More importantly, IBM didn't just "dump" a bunch of code into open source and walk away.  IBM consciously consolidated their internal tools strategy around an extensible platform.  They re-directed a team from their OTI acquisition in Ottawa to develop the base platform.  And they achieved a native-level of performance that no one thought was possible using Java.  In fact, Eclipse's SWT (Standard Widget Toolkit) beat the crap out of Sun's own Swing library and AWT (Abstract Windows Toolkit).  More than anything else, that single decision, focusing on a native look and feel instead of some funky pseudo-standard, demonstrated that IBM understood the user experience better than anyone else.  And even better, IBM had the technical chops to make Java look cool!

Recently, Zend and IBM have proposed a new Eclipse-based PHP development environment.  I was talking to Andi Guttmans, co-founder of Zend about their decision to work with Eclipse a couple of days ago.  He said that the decision was not an easy one inside the company.  They had written a lot of great code for their own Zend IDE, but the argument for going to Eclipse was just too compelling.  By using Eclipse, they could tap into a huge ecosystem.  Not only is Eclipse a rich platform, it has hundreds of plug-ins and it's become the standard platform for tools from SAP, Red Hat, Novell, JBoss, BusinessObjects, Actuate, BEA, Sybase, CompuWare, Iona, Nokia, Wind River, and many others. 

Hey, this open source stuff, it seems to be catching on!