Much has been said about what Oracle would do with MySQL as part of its impending SUN acquisition. While the clearance has come from the US, now it is held up by the European commission for further investigation. Last week at a Churchill Club event, Ed Zander (former President of Sun & Ex-CEO of Motorola) interviewed Larry Ellison where he asked if Oracle would spin off MySQL. Larry answered with an emphatic No.
I thought the one big attraction of the Sun acquisition was MySQL and Java. We can debate whether the hardware business of SUN makes any sense or not. I also know that prior to the MySQL acquisition by Sun, Oracle attempted to buy MySQL. I do not agree with the statement that “MySQL does not compete with Oracle, but its main competition is DB2 and SQL Server”. That can not be true, as several Internet-age companies such as Google and Amazon selected MySQL over Oracle for specific applications. So, yes, MySQL is an attractive alternative to Oracle for some applications. Now that Oracle will be the potential owner of MySQL, it will continue to offer it as the open source offering in database. It can position both Oracle and MySQL for different types of applications – Oracle for heavy lifting with high scalability (with its RAC) and complex functionality. It may even show a migration path for those MySQL users to Oracle deployment when needed.
While speaking with a company in the Identity Protection space, I learnt that the entire system is built on the LAMPJ stack (Linux, Apache, MySQL, Perl/PHP, Java). The reason was simple – stay with open source and lower the cost, as long as MySQL is an “adequate” solution.
MySQL’s true competition is with other open source database products such as Ingres and Postgress, but it does have a large customer base. The interesting thing to observe is how much is the overlap between Oracle’s own closed-source database vs MySQL. Also unknown is, how much R&D investment Oracle will inject into enhancing MySQL? Will Oracle’s sales force be motivated to push MySQL in the market for additional revenue. The “fee vs free” aspects of MySQL has been a challenge from the beginning. Will customers trust Oracle as the pusher of open source products? Time will tell.
I have never heard of this term until I read this article in today’s NY times. The idea is to have two people doing any programming task. One is a driver and the other is a navigator. As the driver writes the code, the navigator keeps checking the code for bugs or any other discrepancy. They sit side by side physically all the time. The pairing gets changed all the time depending on the project needs. Sometimes a junior programmer can feel intimidated pairing up with a senior member. Then the trick is to make the junior member play the driver role. The article talks about other issues that may arise, such as disagreement between the pairs or personality clash.
The claim, as we can predict is better quality via early error checking. As they say, two brains are better than one. The other model is solo programming as the vast majority do, but break it up into 25 minutes chunks with a 5 minute break for checking email, do social networking, etc. This style apparently has a name – Pomodoro, which means tomato in Italian. When someone does not take the break, someone else shouts – respect the tomato.
Various styles of programming have been advocated over the years. Way back over 17 years ago, I was spearheading a concept at IBM to have a specially designated design room for reviews. The code gets projected on the wall/screen and a number of folks can stare at it and do the walk-through. That experiment yielded many early detection of errors and bugs. Management thought it was a very novel idea for bettering code quality. Remember, this was pre-internet, broadband and before we had Webex like collaborative tools.
I wonder how wide spread is this “pair programming” concept.
I just did a ten day trip to Europe and visited three great cities – Berlin, Amsterdam, and Rome. But let me tell you one thing. Europe seems to be in the past century when it comes to technology. One can clearly see where the priorities are – its history, have-a-good-time and don’t work hard, who cares about the customer?, and pay through your nose for everything.
I certainly enjoyed the architecture and history. But it’s almost impossible to get to the Internet. The hotels that let you do so, charge a lot. Try to use your iPhone from there and they do charge a hefty amount for roaming. Every time, I looked up my email, I was reminded that data rates are excessive while roaming internationally. It seems you hit technology roadblocks everywhere. Europe certainly does not want you to communicate.
While Berlin and Amsterdam were tolerable, Rome was another story. After paying $300 a night for the hotel, there was no Internet availability in the rooms. It reminded me of Bangalore where I paid $60 a night and had free Internet plus an elaborate breakfast. It tells you where the technology progress is happening. And if the hotel runs out of hot water, the receptionist shrugs his shoulder and smilingly answers, “What can I do?” That speaks a lot about customer service.
Then you travel to Asia like Korea, Japan, Singapore, etc. Broadband is everywhere and free internet access is the norm. While I love traveling in Europe, I was frustrated for lack of easy access to Internet. It is so good to be back in Silicon Valley. You don’t realize how good it is until you travel elsewhere.