MariaDB plc - looking forward to business as usual - MariaDB.org

From near and from far, the same thing – in this case MariaDB plc – can look quite different. It’s all doom and gloom in an Infoworld article on MariaDB plc Can MariaDB’s enterprise business be saved? and its French translation in Le Monde Informatique L’activité entreprise de MariaDB bientôt liquidée ?

The turbulence seems exaggerated

True, our mission to provide Continuity is there to give users – including MariaDB plc customers – the confidence needed to continue using MariaDB Server under all circumstances. However, the turbulence portrayed in the press gives an unnecessarily bleak picture.

We showed technology progress in Brussels

As the CEO of MariaDB Foundation, my impression is not nearly as negative. A few weeks ago, we organised a MariaDB Server Fest as a FOSDEM Fringe event in Brussels. It may not be surprising that I have a positive view on the future, given that we focused on technical progress. An example of that is a live migration off a huge MySQL 5.7 installation onto MariaDB 10.11, another one is our MariaDB Vector initiative with the plan to integrate AI and LLM concepts into the core of MariaDB Server.

We put a special focus on Money and Open Source …

But we also had a track on Money and Open Source. The 37:35 long session on Making money with open source – investor’s view was hosted by Patrik Backman, co-founder of MariaDB plc and Managing Director of MariaDB plc investor Open Ocean Capital. The panel featured industry specialists, like Percona CEO Ann Schlemmer. Very prominently, also Runa Capital was present, in the form of Dmitry Chikhachev.

… and MariaDB plc investors inspired confidence

Dmitry described what I think is a very sane attitude towards Open Source in general and MariaDB Server in particular. At our FOSDEM Fringe event, he did so publicly and on the record.

Making money with open source: 37:35

As the CEO of MariaDB Foundation, I have had the pleasure of interacting with Dmitry over several meetings, articulating the importance of MariaDB Foundation for the overall ecosystem and the value we can create also for MariaDB plc. My impression is that he truly understands the fundamentals of our role division. Thus, I would welcome a MariaDB plc financing solution that gives Runa a prominent role.

There is alignment between MariaDB Foundation and plc

Overall, I am iterating my standpoint: We believe in MariaDB plc. Sure, MariaDB Foundation is a separate entity from MariaDB plc. Our mission is around Adoption, Openness, and Continuity, whereas they are a for-profit startup serving paying customers. Our goals are fundamentally quite well aligned, but the previous management stressed the few conflicts, and the current one builds upon the joint strengths.

I continue to claim that sanity is back

I have seen recent tweets referring to a The Register article MariaDB Foundation CEO claims ‘sanity’ has returned to MariaDB plc from 1 Nov 2023. It expanded on observations I had written about already in July in On yearly goals, plc woes and habits at MariaDB Foundation.

The cuts at MariaDB plc were made at the right places

From a MariaDB Foundation perspective, MariaDB plc is indeed returning to a back-to-the-basics strategy with close alignment to our own. They got rid of the cash burning products that had little or no alignment with MariaDB Foundation. Their XPAND product was a special-case product with no open source aspects. And while it makes business sense for an Open Source vendor to provide a cloud offering around its Open Source product, their SkySQL cloud product had fundamental implementation issues.

Getting back to Business as Usual

MariaDB Foundation is the safety net around MariaDB Server, guaranteeing the survival of the product. But that said, we have confidence in MariaDB plc investors sorting out the financing steps still missing. We are happy to note the deep understanding of Open Source and MariaDB Server by their key investors Open Ocean Capital, Runa Capital, and Smartfin Capital, and look forward to the end of turbulent press coverage and getting back to Business as Usual – working on improving MariaDB Server from the perspective of Adoption, Openness, and Continuity.

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