A very happy new year to you from the MariaDB Foundation. Since I last wrote in June the Foundation has been doing plenty of work on everyone’s behalf.

First there’s the extensive technical work that Monty wrote about, which has been carried out by the team the Foundation employs who all work for Monty. He would like to grow that team a little, so your donations — or even corporate sponsorship or membership — would be especially welcome at the moment. With the move of the Monty Program staff he used to employ over to SkySQL, there’s no longer any cross-subsidy between consulting work and the fix-sustain-build mission of the Foundation’s core team, so we depend completely on donations and corporate support to make that happen.

Second, we’ve been growing the Foundation membership. During 2013 we gained three Corporate Members — Booking.Com, Parallels and SkySQL — to whom we are very grateful for the support that has encouraged us to keep going and paid the bills. We’re starting 2014 with new Corporate Member enrollments. There are two others in progress that I hope to announce soon, but I’m delighted to say that Automattic, the company behind the WordPress this blog uses, has become a Corporate Member. Many thanks to them for their generous support.

During 2013 we also had a number of Corporate Sponsors — Percona, Jelastic/Planeetta , WebYog and Open Query — whose financial contributions have been most welcome in addition to their community involvement. We are starting 2014 with several new Sponsors who I’ll announce with the new Members soon. I hope we will be able to welcome more Members and Sponsors this season.

Thanks too for all the individual donations we have received. If you are able to send a small amount each time you download from the Foundation, your contributions will soon add up to a substantial sum, as we’ve seen a steady increase in downloads. We very much welcome these “subscription donations” as they help me plan our budget.

Third, we’ve been working on new, community-led governance. The bylaws are now drafted and ready for community comment. Once the trademark paperwork from SkySQL is confirmed, I’ll put them online for review and discussion. It’s taken longer than I had hoped to reach this point, partly because we needed to wait for the merger of the former Monty Program Ab into SkySQL to complete. This happened on September 30 so we’re now good to go. I hope we will get the whole process started this quarter.

One key question we need to address is use of the MariaDB trademark. SkySQL acquired it along with Monty Program Ab, but as you’ll note from their CEO’s comment, they are committed to good stewardship of that valuable asset for the community. We are working with SkySQL to devise an unambiguous and community-focussed trademark arrangement that will allow the Foundation to act in the interests of the whole community. We’re completing a first stage now to secure the Foundation’s name and I will let you know when the collaboration bears fruit.

I hope to meet many MariaDB Community members this weekend at FOSDEM in Brussels, but if you want to discuss anything please get in touch. The coming year is going to be interesting!

The Board of the MariaDB Foundation thought it would be good to provide an update — hopefully the first of a regular quarterly series — on how we’re progressing with the interim activities around constructing governance, identifying a new representative Board and structuring an engineering council.

  • The MariaDB Foundation is now independent of any business interests. With the acquisition of Monty Program Ab by SkySQL Ab, there’s now a clear separation of functions. The Foundation is the home of community activity around MariaDB, dedicated to sustaining and delivering the MariaDB database on behalf of its community independently of the business interests of any member. We are acting as a US 501(c)(6) not-for-profit and intend to follow the advice we have received to formally register with the IRS at the start of 2014.
  • Support from commercial backers is steadily flowing; you can see some of them listed on our new Supporters page, which is still being updated. We have two different kinds of supporters.
    • Commercial Sponsors are businesses within the MariaDB Community who want to team together to keep the infrastructure and administration running. In return, we offer them recognition via our Supporters Page.
    • Commercial Members are businesses within the MariaDB Community who additionally want to participate directly in the governance oversight. They will be helping the Board through our new Advisory List and will also be identifying up to half of the members of the new Board when we switch to permanent governance (the other half will be community contributors to the code). I’m pleased to have three generous supporters in this category already.
    • While we now have a good number of Commercial Sponsors, we still need more and I encourage you to offer sponsorship if your business uses MariaDB. If you have a high strategic dependence on MariaDB, I encourage you to consider Commercial Membership.
  • We have a small staff team in place. I’m acting as CEO in the interim period on a part-time basis, with Monty serving as my CTO and structuring our engineering functions. Working for him are two developers and a part-time administrator, with a current focus on documentation. We also have a General Counsel, Andrew Katz, supported by US attorney Andy Updegrove, and we’re retaining a “virtual CFO” through Virtual Management, Inc. I expect to add a membership director and further developers to the team in the coming months. I hope our overall staff team will peak at about 8 FTE by the end of the year.
  • The interim Board has met regularly. It comprises Sergei Golubchik, Rasmus Johansson, Andrew Katz, myself, Monty Widenius and Jeremy Zawodny. Since the governance we envisage is based on the Eclipse Foundation, we have also invited its executive director Mike Milinkovich to attend all our meetings as an advisor.
  • The Board is keen for MariaDB to play a full part in the wider community of open source communities. Consequently, we have now joined the Open Source Initiative as an Affiliate Member, and we have become a licensee of the Open Invention Network.
  • We’re now ready to start the next key element of the Foundation’s transformation, establishing community-based governance. We expect the permanent governance for the Foundation to reflect both the developer and business needs of the MariaDB Community, with the Board being equally divided between community-recognised technical contributors to MariaDB and Corporate Members. We plan to conduct public discussion of new Bylaws during August 2013.
  • We’re just starting discussion of how to structure an engineering council to act as the focus for consensus around MariaDB itself, very much along the lines of the current MariaDB Captains. We have not discussed any proposal to make any changes to the licensing of MariaDB and I don’t expect any such proposal to be made; we’re sticking with the GPL. Rather, I’m expecting the community around MariaDB to continue to strengthen and grow as an open community.

If you would like to discuss any aspect of the Foundation with me – especially if your company would like to become a Sponsor or Member — please get in touch. My e-mail address is webmink at mariadb org.

I’m pleased to say that the Open Source Initiative Board has accepted the MariaDB Foundation’s application to become an Affiliate Member of OSI. The MariaDB Foundation Board decided to join OSI to demonstrate our support for the principle of software freedom and to be able to participate in OSI projects more directly under their new Working Group mechanism. MariaDB community members are of course still invited to become individual members of OSI!