Exclusive interview with Ann Harrison

Here is a recent interview I did with Ann, by email. I hope this can clarify a bit more the recent moves regarding Ann, Jim, Firebird and MySQL.

FBNews: In Jim’s recent announcementmessage, he says that you will be working for MySQL AB too. Are you officially employed at MySQL AB? If so, what is your currently role there?

Ann: Yes, I’m working half time for MySQL as a senior architect. In other words, I critique designs and try to make the system fit together smoothly.

FBNews: As you are one of IBPhoenix owners, how do you plan to handle working for two databases that are, in some way, competitors? Are you considering leaving IBPhoenix?

SAS business grow 22% in Brazil

The invoicing of the year 2005 was of 1,68 billion dollars, growth of 10% compared to the previous year. Of this sum, 46% had come of the Americas region, where Brazil is inserted. In Brazil, the growth was of 22%. Read more here (in portuguese).

As you should know, SAS is the company who sponsored VULCAN development. They use a customized engine of Firebird in their products.

OSDB market soap opera update (mysql and firebird)

“I’m almost certain that you wont see any integration of firebird into mysql (and I don’t think the firebird community would really want that anyway), but it’s probably worth keeping an eye on as this sure looks like mysql’s play to get out from under the shadow of the recent oracle maneuvers, and so will have an effect on how the mainstream tech market looks at all open source db’s.”

Robert Treat wrote in his blog


That will be interesting: Marten Mikos is on record as being against software patents and MySQL AB is a big sponsor of the European “no software patents” movement.

Jim Starkey on the other hand is on record defending software patents and has applied for patents on several of his creations. Presumably, Marten acquired those patents as well.

It will be interesting to see how MySQL will license out those patents, considering their earlier opposition to the very concept of software patents.

Read more here

MySQL’s response to Oracle’s moves

I’ve recently written two articles on this topic for Database Journal, the earlier, written after the InnoDB purchase, entitled Oracle’s purchase of InnoDB, their release of Oracle Express, and the effect on MySQL, and the most recent, just after the Sleepycat purchase, entitled Pressure on MySQL increases as Oracle purchases Sleepycat, with more to come.

Since I only do a monthly column for Database Journal, and things change quite quickly, I thought I’d post a few more thoughts on the topic.

Are you afraid of SomeCo buying Firebird?

This is a reply from Ann Harrison posted in Firebird-Support list:

Michael Fisher wrote:
Could the situation that happened to MySQL happen to Firebird? Could a company like Oracle start buying up aspects of Firebird? An overview of the situation with Firebird would be very helpful.

There are a number of differences between Firebird and MySQL (understatement of the week). Those difference would make it difficult or impossible for a company to buy part or all of Firebird.

One is that the copyright to each module of Firebird’s code rests with the developer who created it – the Initial Developer of the Initial Developers Public License. MySQL and InnoDB required that developers sign over all rights to a corporation, giving an acquirer a single target.

MySQL to adopt Firebird architecture

Today it became generally known that MySQL has aquired a company called Netfrastructure. This company offers a product which is a reimplementation of the Firebird database architecture, combined with a web-based application server front end. It was designed by Jim Starkey in the late nineties and combines a database, a custom java virtual machine and a web server. Jim Starkey is also the principal author of Datatrieve, Rdb/ELN and InterBase, which became Firebird after being open-sourced in 2000.

Since the aquisition of InnoDB, by Oracle, MySQL has been in a difficult position: InnoDB was the centre piece of its 5.0 release. It has been discussed extensively in the Firebird community that MySQL should make a strategic move and use Firebird as its enterprise level relational/transactional engine.

MySQL chose this path — in a round-about sort of way — by making the aquisition of Netfrastructure and hiring Jim Starky, owner of Netfrastructure. Jim had recently been contributing to the Firebird project, under contract by one of the project’s sponsoring companies.

This move by MySQL validates that Firebird has the most mature and featured full open source code base and seems to indicate that the MySQL database product will be moving in similar paths from now on. MySQL also stands a lot to gain from the fact that the Firebird project has about 50 developers working on this architecture and helping to drive it into the future. The Firebird project gains from a well-known name and large sales force introducing its technology to customers world-wide.

Jim Starkey joined MySQL AB

Jim Starkey, the original creator of InterBase which became Firebird, just made it publicly known that he now works for MySQL AB.

My company, Netfrastructure, Inc., has been acquired by MySQL, AB. As
part of the agreement, I will be working full time for MySQL. I expect
to lurk on the architecture list from time to time and may contribute
the occasional wolf-o-gram, but I will not be taking an active part in
Firebird development. Although Ann will work for MySQL, part time,
translating from wolf to English, she will continue to be active in the
Firebird project.

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