MySQL co-founder quits job at Sun, as open source database frays

Feeling hemmed in by the boundaries of Sun's corporate structure, MySQL co-founder David Axmark shot off a resignation letter telling Sun that he 'hates rules,' and he also 'hates breaking them.'

Complaining vividly about the corporate rules inflicted on him at Sun, MySQL co-founder David Axmark has quit his job there, leaving his own future -- and that of the Sun-acquired MySQL open source database project -- in some doubt.

"I have thought about my role at Sun and decided that I am better off in smaller organizations," Axmark wrote in a resignation letter. "I HATE all the rules that I need to follow, and I also HATE breaking them. It would be far better for me to 'retire' from employment and work with Sun on a less formal basis."

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No longer a full-fledged Sun employee, Axmark will now take on some sort of a consulting role with the OEM conglomerate, while also doing some speaking engagements and connecting Sun "with his huge network," according to Kaj Arno, who is now VP of Community for MySQL AB.

"I've learnt so much from David, particularly as he's been my predecessor, role model and esteemed colleage in plenty of respects over the time at MySQL AB," Arno wrote in a blog post yesterday afternoon.

Sun acquired MySQL for about $1 billion in January, in hopes of leveraging the open source project to produce a database rivaling the likes of Oracle, IBM's Universal Database (UDB), and Microsoft's SQL Server.

But signs that MySQL might be coming apart at the seams became visible earlier this year, when a team of open source developers which included some Sun developers embarked on an offshoot of MySQL called "Drizzle." While Sun set about "optimizing" MySQL to suit the database for large-scale enterprise implementations, Brian Aker, MySQL's director of architecture, and members of his Drizzle team launched efforts to trim it down by carving it into smaller components that businesses can pick and choose from as they wish.

Even as far back as January, some analysts wondered how well the marriage between Sun and MySQL would work.

"As good as MySQL is as a database, there are probably some development issues ahead. Sun might get some initial success among its current customer base -- but still, they have a lot of work ahead of them," said Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT, speaking with BetaNews just after Sun's MySQL buyout.

"How well MySQL does depends less on what Sun does with the product and more on how well Sun exploits its relationship with the [open source] community," predicted Raven Zachary, an analyst at the 451 Group, during another interview with BetaNews in January.

Axmark, who hails from Sweden, originally co-founded MySQL with two other European developers: Allan Larsson, also of Sweden, and Michael "Monty" Widenius, of Finland.

"Without David, MySQL wouldn't be GPL. (Monty originally planned a closed-source project.)," according to Arno.

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