The MySQL exodus at Sun

It looks like the exodus of top MySQL execs from Sun is in full swing. Yesterday, Monty posted the following:

Time to move on
I have now departed from Sun and joined my own company, Monty Program Ab.

There were a lot of rumors around me resigning in August/September last year. I didn’t back then want to comment on the rumors, because I was still trying to work something out with Sun. Now I can finally describe a bit of what was going on.

In this case, the rumors had some elements of truth to them. I had told management that I thus would be submitting my resignation immediately as I strongly believed that the 5.1 release was not ready and that those problems needed to be fixed before it went GA. This action, together with other peoples´ efforts, did have the wanted effect and I made an agreement with Sun´s upper management to not initiate my resignation but instead stay around for three more months to help Sun work out things in MySQL Development and also give Sun a chance to create an optimal role for me within Sun.

The three months did stretch out to seven months, and the changes I had hoped Sun would apply to in the MySQL Database group to fix our development and community problems did not happen fast enough.

Sun and I concluded in the end that I have much higher chances of achieving my goals outside of Sun, so it’s just better to swallow the bitter apple, go out and get things going. We parted in good terms and we both expect to continue to do business and work together.

As you probably know, Monty is one of the two co-founders of MySQL AB. The other co-founder, David Axmark, left Sun last year. It’s often the case that founders leave the acquiring company after a little while, so neither of these came as a huge surprise to me. Today, however, we got the news that Marten Mickos is leaving Sun amid a reorg:

I just got news that Marten Mickos, former MySQL CEO, is to depart Sun amid a reorganisation of its infrastructure and database business units. Don’t expect an announcement from Sun on this, but the news is confirmed.

It seems that Sun is combining its Software Infrastructure organization with its Database Group to form a unified open source product group under the leadership of Karen Tegan Padir, vice president of MySQL & Software Infrastructure.

Marten was the long time CEO and really helped MySQL AB grow from a business perspective. Sometimes that growth came at the cost of angering the MySQL community. While founder Monty was a tech guy, Marten was a business guy. To see him leave so soon is much more of a surprise to me. Combined, these three losses are huge for Sun, and may start to raise questions not only about the future of MySQL within Sun… but about the future of Sun in general. Sun has done some very innovative things in the past, but has clearly been going through a bit of a cultural shift internally. I always saw the MySQL AB acquisition as a potential way to help spread the Open Source mantra inside a company that was a bit conflicted. It will be interesting to see how Sun moves forward from here.

–jeremy

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