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State Of The Sea Lion – June 2013
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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.

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