Last week Michael Widenius, founder and original developer of MySQL, blasted Sun in a 4,400 word rant titled Oops, we did it again (MySQL 5.1 released as GA with crashing bugs).
Some excerpts will give you the flavor:
Here follows some of the main reasons why MySQL development department again got a quality problem with a GA release:
- MySQL 5.1 was declared beta and RC way too early. The reason MySQL 5.1 was declared RC was not because we thought it was close to being GA, but because the MySQL manager in charge *wanted to get more people testing MySQL 5.1*. This didn't however help much, which is proved by the fact that it has taken us 14 months and 7 RC's before we could do the current "GA". This caused problems for developers as MySQL developers have not been able to do any larger changes in the source code since February 2006!
- We have changed the release model so that instead of focusing on quality and features our release is now defined by timeliness and features. Quality is not regarded to be that important. To quote Mårten Mickos: "MySQL 5.1 will be release as GA in or before December because I say so". Mårten's reasons for this is that he needs something he can sell and a release marked "GA" is much easier to sell than a release marked "RC".
- The MySQL core developers have been split into too many teams and only a small part of the core developers have been working on MySQL 5.1 to get the bugs fixed. Some of the core developers have also recently left the MySQL organization which is a serious issue as there is not many of of them.
One would have thought that MySQL AB (now the MySQL department at Sun) should have learned something from our too early release of MySQL 5.0 but unfortunately this is not the case. The main argument I have heard for why MySQL 5.1 was declared as GA now is that it's better than MySQL 5.0 was when it was declared as GA. In my opinion, this is not a good reason to declare something GA, especially as 5.0 GA was in terrible shape when it was released. What is worse is that the new features in MySQL 5.1 are of no better quality than new features in MySQL 5.0 was at the time MySQL 5.0 was declared GA.
As I see it, there are three distinct levels of messaging here:
I don't think there are quite 92 points to this, but I could certainly see it being used against MySQL by people selling competing products to ninnies - even though techies involved in actual application delivery should more probably consider it reassuring.
The most interesting message here, however, has nothing much to do with MySQL 5.1 and is really about the team's emotional temperature as the post acquisition honeymoon nears its end - and while some of the emails I've received about Ian Murdock's role at OpenSolaris would blister the inside of a ready room coffee pot this is the first serious indication I've seen that Mårten Mickos may be following in his footsteps at the MySQL operation.
It seems to me that this is all symptomatic of the natural culture conflict arising when big companies take over open source players, because people like Widenius naturally expect to air their dirty laundry in public while the people they suddenly find themselves reporting to equally naturally rely on authority and secrecy.
And that, I think, leads to the real bottom line on this episode: since you can't merge a personality driven business into a line operation without this kind of mutually damaging blow-up, the lesson is that you either shouldn't do it at all - or get the staffing realignments needed to make it work over with the day after the paperwork gets signed.