Second Edition Community Interviews: Mårten Mickos

Hot on the trail of yesterday’s confirmation of Linus Torvalds, I am delighted to announce that Mårten Mickos will also be contributing an interview to the second edition of The Art of Community. Mårten was the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of MySQL AB, senior vice president of the database group at Sun Microsystems, is a member of the board of Mozilla Messaging and RightScale, and Entrepreneur In Residence at Benchmark Capital. Currently he is CEO of Eucalyptus Systems, the company behind the Eucalyptus open-source cloud infrastructure.

Mårten brings many years of experience of working in a senior role in companies that have a close relationship with a collaborative community. He has shared his thoughts on the opportunity of community for companies, how companies and can communities work together, how to meet the needs of both corporate and community stakeholders, how to balance community relations as a company grows, and what to look for in a community manager.

I look forward to sharing his thoughts in the second edition of The Art of Community!

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8 Responses to “Second Edition Community Interviews: Mårten Mickos”

  1. Contrarian November 9, 2011 at 7:12 pm #

    Doubtless to explain how he fought every attempt to make MySQL into an actual open developer community and then has gone on to do the same at Eucalyptus?

    • Anonymous November 9, 2011 at 7:46 pm #

      I think there are many perspectives on what all of us do, and the goal of these interviews is to provide another perspective. I am not asking you to agree to it, and I am not even saying it is right, I will leave the reader to make their own mind up.

      • Anonymous November 9, 2011 at 9:00 pm #

        Oops, sorry for the double reply – I thought my first reply got eaten by Disqus.

    • Anonymous November 9, 2011 at 8:01 pm #

      There are many perspectives on all of our efforts. The goal of these interviews is to provide additional viewpoints, many of which I may also not 100% agree with. The aim is to illustrate further viewpoints to help grow the reader’s knowledge. I think it is best to leave the reader to decide what they think.

    • Anonymous November 10, 2011 at 12:03 pm #

      If I had fought such attempts, I would most certainly also want to explain them, doubtlessly. But I didn’t. So let me instead briefly explain my view on open source development models.

      The topic of “actual open developer community” is a great one. What does it mean? If top-down controlled software development is a cathedral, and an open source project without singular decision-making is a bazaar – what is the optimal mix? Can we have cathedrals in the bazaar and bazaars in the cathedral?

      What history has shown us is that the most successful open source products or technologies (with an important exception: the Apache web server) have a strong and small nucleus of people who make all major design decisions. I am thinking of Linux, JBoss, KVM, Xen, WordPress, Firefox, Thunderbird, SQLite, MySQL etc.

      These projects/products deal with their respective developer communities in different ways. For Linux, most code contributions go into the various and mostly independent drivers and modules of the operating system. For WordPress, Firefox and Thunderbird, the typical way to contribute is to develop a plug-in. With SQLite and MySQL, the developer community are those who develop tools and apps that link to the database’s SQL interface. In the case of MySQL, you additionally have the storage engine developers (InnoDB, PBXT, Tokutek, ScaleDB, Infobright, and so on). With Xen and KVM, my impression is that most code is developed by the companies who mainly maintain those products. In all these cases, a lot of smart software developers collaborate openly to achieve success.

      What I am trying to say is that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all model for successful open source projects. Governance models differ. Contribution and participations models differ. Naming and branding differs. What they do have in common is immense impact and huge success. The world couldn’t function without the LAMP stack. People wouldn’t speak up the way they do without WordPress. And so on.

      We can (and I believe we will) keep debating the ideal open developer model into eternity. The great news is that the open source licenses we use enable us to achieve massive success at the same time. The power of the open source model lies in its ability to allow people to collaborate who have different opinions on how to do it.


    • Greg DeKoenigsberg November 10, 2011 at 5:57 pm #

      Contrarian indeed. :)

      I can’t speak to the MySQL days, and wouldn’t presume to. I am curious, though, about why you think he “has gone on to do the same at Eucalyptus.”

  2. Floreug November 27, 2011 at 6:43 pm #

    I do appreciate his innovative ego. fusion-art

  3. Floreug November 27, 2011 at 6:43 pm #

    I do appreciate his innovative ego. fusion-art

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