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July 2006

Hyperic Raises Venture Funding


Hyperic Inc has raised $3.8 million in a Series A funding through Benchmark Capital.  Benchmark has previously funded open source companies including Red Hat and MySQL. 

Hyperic provides an open source monitoring solution for the LAMP stack (Linux / Apache / MySQL / PHP) known as Hyperic HQ. Hyperic was founded as a spinoff from Covalent software in 2004 led by Javier Soltero. 

Ellison Cancels Donation to Harvard


Larry Ellison, billionaire CEO and founder of Oracle corporation has cancelled his $115 million gift to Harvard University.  Ellison, a college drop out, had pledged the funding to Harvard president Larry Summers in order to establish a global health foundation in his name.  Ellison is estimated by Forbes to be the 15th richest man with assets worth $16 billion. 

In late 2005, as part of an insider trading settlement, Ellison agreed to donate $100 million to a charity of his choice.  He chose his own Ellison Medical Foundation and has contributed $5 million to it, according to an Oracle spokesman.

BusinessWeek on Web 2.0


BusinessWeek has been covering the rise of open source and Web 2.0 companies for a while.  In a special series of articles, they show how Web 2.0 is going to change the landscape of not only consumer software, but also enterprise software.  Not surprisingly most of these web 2.0 companies are powered by open source software.  Whether it's the large public companies like Google, NetFlix or Yahoo or startups like JigSaw, Soonr, SixApart, SlashDot, Second Life, FaceBook, Flickr, Meetup, Technorati, Wikia or Craigslist, they are all built on a scale-out architecture with MySQL. Open source scale out is the architecture for the modern enterprise.  And its not because open source is cheaper.  Open source gives startups and large companies the freedom they need to scale as their business grows.

The next generation of Enterprise applications will be built using the same techniques that are making Web 2.0 successful for consumers. 

Open Source Podcast


I've been listening to a number of podcasts when I'm in my car. One of my favorites, This Week in Tech (or "TWiT" as its known) hosted by Leo Laporte and featuring a case of regulars including Kevin Rose from Digg, John Dvorak, Patrick Norton and others.  Leo is clearly a fan of technology and his enthusiasm and self-deprecating humor while reviewing the week's tech stories makes for a good listen.

Recently, TWiT has spun off a new show called FLOSS Weekly (get it?) featuring Chris DiBona (pictured above), open source guru over at Google.  Although the first few episodes were a bit slow, it's now starting to find its voice.  Leo Laporte co-hosts many of the shows helping to provide a better balance and preventing the show from just being too mcuh of an "insider" perspective.  Check the links below for a couple of the good shows of both TWiT and Floss Weekly.  You can subscribe from iTunes, Yahoo, Odeo or your favorite podcast aggregator. 

Digg Runs MySQL


Digg, for those who have been under a rock for the last year, is a technology web site that gives users the opportunity to rank news stories.  Think of it as a combination of social bookmarking and nerdly news.  Digg grew out of founder Kevin Rose's desire for a feature within Slashdot to let users vote on their favorite stories.  Unfortunately, Slashdot couldn't accomodate the feature.  Necessity (or perhaps envy) being the mother invention, Rose created  Digg raised $2.8 million in venture funding from Marc Andreessen, Pierre Omidyar and Greylock partners last year. 

Digg has continued it's rapid growth with nearly a four-fold increase in traffic in just over a year. It's daily page views have jumped from 80 million to 320 million since January 2005.  Interestingly enough, now that Digg is growing so quickly, the old guard is starting to take aim.  This past week AOL announced they are planning to relaunch Netscape as a "Digg killer."  Now that's ironic.

Digg is built on a classic LAMP stack and uses MySQL as its underlying database.  Rose selected MySQL because it was open source.  MySQL has continued to meet his needs for dealing with the ever increasing web traffic.  Rose is also planning on expanding the focus of Digg to other topics beyond technology.  That could make for even more rapid growth.  Go get 'em Kevin!



For Wikipedia junkies out there, there's a very cool Palm Treo interface to Wikipedia available called Quickipedia from Standalone Software.  This is a perfect tool for when you're stuck somewhere without access to a good browser and you need find some information.  While Google on a PDA is ok for random searches, Quickipedia blows it away for most reference information.  Say you're on your way to a meeting and someone asks you about The Mythical Man-Month which you haven't read in 20 years, and you don't want to be completely clueless.  A few clicks, boom boom and you've got a summary from Wikipedia.  Or if you're in a meeting and you're suddenly wondering who carved Mount Rushmore and why, you'll find more than you ever wanted to know about the subject. 

You can get all of this and other useful (!) information quickly from your Palm Treo.  Ok, it's not free ($15) and sometimes the searching is a bit flakey, but its worth it just to settle bar bets.

Gates to Retire


Bill Gates, the largest shareholder of Microsoft Corporation has said that he will retire in 2008 from the company he founded 30 years ago.  Gates, who has an estimated net worth of $50 billion, says he will retain the Chairman title at Microsoft but plans to work full time for the non-profit Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation which he started in 1995.  The foundation has an endowment of $29 billion, making it the largest charitable foundation in the US.  The foundation has committed more than $10 billion in grants, mostly in the area of global health care and education.

Gates stepped down from the CEO role at Microsoft in 2000, turning over the reigns to long-time friend and colleague Steve Ballmer in order to take on the role of Chief Software Architect. Ray Ozzie, author of Lotus Notes and founder of Groove Networks, which Microsoft acquired in 2005, will immediately take on the role of Chief Software Architect.

Although I've been critical of Microsoft at times, this is truly the end of an era.  Gates has helped drive the PC industry from the very beginning.  I believe the impact he will have in helping to fight poverty will be even more significant. 

Wikipedia Runs MySQL


It's no secret that MySQL is widely deployed in most leading web sites.  Everyone knows how successful the LAMP stack has become and that companies like Google, Yahoo, Sabre, Evite, Citysearch all use tons of open source software (including MySQL) to scale their operations.  As important as all of these companies are, I'm most proud of the fact that MySQL is used at Wikipedia.  This is one of the top web sites in the world and not only is it built on open source software (Linux, Apache, MySQL, Lucene) and the MediaWiki project. 

Wikipedia is famous not just for being a highly scalable open source project, but more importantly, it is an open and collaborative repository of human knowledge.  There are more than 1 million articles in the english language edition of Wikipedia and there are smaller versions in more than 100 languages.  And all of this is done with a staff of 5 employees (2 FTE).  The bulk of the work is done by volunteers.  The management of the systems, the software, the articles, the editing, you name it.  Whatever criticisms there may be, Wikipedia has proven the value of an open, collaborative model and I'm proud that MySQL is a part of it.  The Fortune article below discusses the distributed organizations of both MySQL and Wikipedia.