Note: This one comes in a bit late and it might not be as relevant as it could have been three weeks ago. But it also gives me the chance to take a more distanced look at the meeting. It might turn out that this post is more about working for MySQL than about the actual day.
It is about communication
I mentioned it a number of times, MySQL AB is a company with a very special structure. Its employees mostly work from home and home in this case is all over the world. By this time, most continents are covered as well as an impressive number of countries. It is obvious that solving communication issues is key to MySQL AB’s success. Different communication channels have all their merits and drawbacks and they are good at picking the right channel for the communication at hand.
MySQL is, of course, Open Source Software and MySQL AB has been an Open Company from the very beginning in terms of software licensing. But they only recently turned into a Open Company in terms of making internal communication available to the outside. The MySQL developer IRC channels are now open for everyone. Development decisions are documented for everybody to look up. Current work items (the worklog) are publicly accessible, so you can see what is being worked on at the moment. They are continuing to make the development of MySQL as transparent as possible to attract Open Source community participation and statistics show that they are successful. Of course not everything is fine and dandy and there is (sometimes harsh) criticism all around, but as an evolving, growing company, that is exact the kind of feedback you want.
Working for MySQL AB
After talking to different people at MySQL AB, it became pretty clear that working for them is not something everybody would like. While you are part of an organization, having a manager to report to, you are pretty much on your own organizing the time you spend working. If you need the strictness of a 9 to 5 job, either make sure you re-create that for you (with a separate office e.g.) or adjust yourself accordingly.
I found that a lot of developers like the idea that they can organize their work around their family life. Instead of being a weekend mom or dad, everybody gets to see each other more often (whether that is good or not). Working for MySQL AB is more akin to being a freelancer. If you have experience with that and if you liked it, you have an interesting employer to check out: They are hiring.
One of the more interesting projects from MySQL in recent time is MySQL Proxy. It started as a side project of Jan Kneschke (of lighttpd fame) and now is a fully supported MySQL AB product. And it is Open Source, too. Jan gave a fairly decent overview of what you can do with MySQL Proxy on Friday afternoon. It sits between your application and the database server and lets you do all sorts of interesting stuff with the communication between the two. From rewriting queries to injecting commands or redirecting traffic, all can be done with small bits of Lua scripting. Jan got grilled by Monty on a couple of issues but managed to explain the design decisions behind MySQL Proxy satisfactory. Make sure to catch up all the buzz around it!