Donating to an opensource project when you download it

Apparently I’ve always thought that donating to opensource software that you use would be a good idea — I found this about Firefox add-ons. I suggested that the MariaDB Foundation do this for downloads to the MariaDB Server, and it looks like most people seem to think that it is an OK thing to do.

I see it being done with Ubuntu, LibreOffice, and more recently: elementary OS. The reasoning seems sound, though there was some controversy before they changed the language of the post. Though I’m not sure that I’d force the $0 figure. 

For something like MariaDB Server, this is mostly going to probably hit Microsoft Windows users; Linux users have repositories configured or use it from their distribution of choice! 

Migrants try harder

How a Vietnamese Refugee Is Rethinking Food Delivery in America – Bloomberg Business:

“Tran says his experience as a refugee has stayed with him. He hates wasted food. Obstacles make him think creatively. The need to prove himself in a foreign country makes him work harder. And there’s the enormity of his parents’ sacrifice, which he feels he must validate.”

I have always said that migrants generally do better because they have more to prove. They’re not in their comfort zone and that usually provides need to have creative solutions. 

Uber and the Black Cab

My residence in London is the Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill at 30 Portman Square. I’ve been staying there for years and find it to be a phenomenal location with phenomenal staff.

I’ve ordered many Uber’s from there despite there being a taxi rank right outside the hotel. One of the reasons I dislike taxis in London is that not all of them accept credit cards or any form of electronic payment — I’ve got to have cash handy and it is a real hassle.

So why not Hailo? Hailo kind of works but has horrible customer service. Every time I’ve used them be it in London, Singapore or Barcelona, it’s left a bad taste in my mouth. Cabs will claim to have arrived starting the 2.5 minute timer long before they have arrived; if it’s raining enjoy looking for them while you call them only for them to tell you they’re not where they claim to be. In addition they’ll give you £10 coupons that will “expire” on you so you end up paying full fare. The crux of the Hailo problem is that a cab driver is always going to be a cab driver…

During rush hour traffic in London, a Hailo may make sense (since cabs can use lanes reserved for them). So will a UberTAXI. 

Anyway, this isn’t about Hailo. Today I finally tweeted to Uber about the fact that their maps are inaccurate and most drivers never arrive at the front of the Hyatt but at the side, on Seymour Street. It’s incredibly annoying to have to call to get them to come to the front or walk to the side – it’s all added inefficiencies.

The @ replies from the taxi drivers tend to be strong encouraging you to use their services. I’ve never seen this in any market I’ve used Uber in. It’s smart – take it on to social media.

Twitter Notifications

Later on in the day I did take a cab. I wanted to go to Harwood Arms from the Natural History Museum. Of course the cab driver didn’t know where it was so I stated the street name, Walham Grove. Lo and behold, the black cab driver had no idea where this was! I even provided the post code if it helped.

He asked if I had it on my maps. I said I did. He wanted to know the cross road. Even after I told him Farm Lane, he took out the maps and had it in his lap for the whole journey.

This is the same guy whom represents the lot that have studied The Knowledge. In an Uber, at least they would have used the maps. And if there were route inefficiencies I would just complain to Uber from the app and get a refund. Here I paid for the drivers mistakes. In cash.

Are cabs safe from the losing fight?

FOSDEM 2016 – See you in Brussels

Over the weekend I read in the FT (paywall): Is Brussels safe? Ring a local resident to find out. I’m sure it will be fine, and you will want to be there for FOSDEM, happening 30-31 January 2016. 

There is the excellent one day track, that is the MySQL & Friends Devroom (site). Talks hail from Oracle, MariaDB Corporation, Percona and more. We don’t have a booth this year, but we do have amazingly good content on Saturday. I’m happy to have been part of the committee that chose the talks, but you know that this is a labour of love put on by Frédéric Descamps, Liz van Dijk, Dimitri Vanoverbeke, and Kenny Gryp. I’m sure the party will be awesome.

But that is not all! In the distributions devroom, you can see me give a talk at 11:00-11:20 titled Distributions from the view of a package. This is an important topic, because you start seeing MariaDB Server becoming the default in many distributions with the last holdout being Debian. But there is a lot of discussion, especially from the security standpoint there now, about MySQL overall. But that’s not the focus of my talk — I’m going to talk to you about how we, as upstream, have had to deal with distributions, changing requirements, etc. overall. I’ve done this since the MySQL days, so have quite a bit of experience dealing with it. 

If you are making software and want to be included and supported across all distributions, I highly recommend you coming to my talk. If you happen to decide to live in an ecosystem where there are forks, I also promise to make it useful for you.

And on Sunday, you will want to go visit the RocksDB Storage Engine for MySQL talk by none other than Yoshinori Matsunobu of Facebook. This will be at the main track and I highly recommend you visit it — I’m sure Sergei Petrunia will also make an appearance as he spends a lot of time on this too.

All in, I’m extremely excited to be at FOSDEM 2016. And you don’t need to ring a local resident to find out if its going to be safe/fun — come for the learning, stay for the beer ;-)

SCALE14x – lots of MySQL content there

One of my favourite events run by a grassroots organisation is SCALE, and they are now doing their 14th edition, SCALE14x. If you’re into opensource software as well as all things open, this is the place to be from January 21-24 2016. It is at a new location in Pasadena (so not quite next to LAX as it was previously), but this is due to growth — so kudos to the team.

From MariaDB Corporation you get to see Max Mether (Scaling MySQL & MariaDB – I’m extremely interested in seeing what he has to say and will likely blog the session) and me (The MySQL Server Ecosystem in 2016).

One thing is for sure is that the topic I plan to present on will surely come under contention since I also represent a server maker — however I believe I will be extremely objective and will put up blog posts before/after the event as well as slides, because it is clear that MySQL is now going to be 21 years old and the ecosystem has grown tremendously. Let me reiterate my main thesis: MySQL server development has been at its most vibrant since the Oracle acquisition — the ecosystem is flourishing, and Oracle is doing a great job with MySQL, Percona with Percona Server, MariaDB Corporation/MariaDB Foundation with MariaDB Server, and lets not forget the wonderful work from the WebScaleSQL Consortium, Facebook’s MySQL tree and even Alibaba’s tree (the Twitter tree seems to be sadly not really maintained much these days, but there was innovation coming out of it in the past).

There are also going to be many other great talks at the MySQL track on Friday, from Peter Zaitsev, Dave Stokes (I’m excited about the JSON support in MySQL 5.7), Ovais Tariq/Aleksandr Kuzminsky on indexes, and Janis Griffin on query tuning. There’s also an excellent PostgreSQL track and I think one of the highlights should also be the keynote from Mark Shuttleworth at UbuCon on Thursday.

See you at SCALE14x? Oh, before I forget, MariaDB Corporation also has a booth, so you will get to see Rod Allen manning it and I’m sure there will be giveaways of some sort. 

If you have any feedback about the MySQL Server ecosystem and its developments, please feel free to leave a comment here or send an email to me. Thanks!

A temporary manager of your assets

Oleg Tinkov, a Russian oligarch, at his recent Lunch with the FT interview:

Tinkov says the major difference between himself and more conventional Russian oligarchs is simple: “I don’t depend on the government like they depend on it.” Most oligarchs are “temporary managers of their assets — they are not real owners”.

This got me thinking quite a bit, because the idea of being a temporary manager of your assets is an interesting (albeit, true) one. This is probably true in many situations, and one that resonates in the startup world is when you’ve taken on venture funding. It also applies to most of the Top 10 list of richest businessmen in Malaysia, whom largely got their wealth through rent-seeking/cronyism/etc.

It doesn’t however apply to a bootstrapped company I would think (where you are a real owner); there you just have to wait till you become profitable and proud!


i