Why I Joined the MySQL Board

As some of you have probably already noted, I recently joined the MySQL board. There are a couple of good reasons.

Mysql logo
First, MySQL has a unique position at the juncture of two of my abiding interests, open source and Web 2.0. As I wrote in the quote that I provided for the press release: “The platforms powering the Web today are the enterprise infrastructure of tomorrow. What we learn from those platforms is the enormous power of open source, open standards, and user involvement … and one more thing — that the future belongs to data. Every killer app on the Internet is a database application. And that makes MySQL the ‘Intel Inside’ of the next-generation of computer applications.”

It’s not every open source project that gets to be part of the acronym for the open source web platform! (For those of you who aren’t familiar with that acronym — it’s LAMP, for Linux, Apache, MySQL and [PHP|Python|Perl].) In addition to being one of the most widely used open source projects, MySQL, the company, is second only to Red Hat as a commercial open source software success story.

Second, Mårten, Monty, and David asked me nicely :-), and after some substantial discussions with them, I came to the conclusion that I could add some value to the company. They were looking for someone who had a sense of the competing pressures of business and open source idealism, and could help them steer a careful course through the obstacles. As open source grows up, there can be tension between its community roots and its business aspirations. But that tension can also be a creative force, and MySQL AB wants to be sure to continue to harness the creativity of the open source developer community, as it becomes an ever-more viable alternative to existing closed source commercial databases.

Third, I get to join a great board, with people like Kevin Harvey of Benchmark (who I already know well from our service together on the board of Collab.Net), Danny Rimer of Index Ventures (who funded Skype), and Bernard Liautaud, founder of Business Objects. On a good board, you learn as much as you contribute. I expect to learn a lot at MySQL.

While I’m on the subject of MySQL, I should mention that O’Reilly produces the MySQL User Conference in conjunction with MySQL AB. The conference will be held April 23-26 in Santa Clara. The early registration discount ends March 14, so if you’re interested in MySQL, you should sign up now.