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Open Source Collaboration: This is how we did it 'together' !

It was not long before when we all were discussing to meet in person during UDS. We did not have good enough reasons to get the logistics mobilized back then but over time we realized the vibrant MySQL Ecosystem on Debian and Ubuntu needs a brainstorming session. While we did try Google Hangout as the first option it appeared a lot more obvious to meet in person. I would appreciate how nicely Robie and James from Canonical took in the first step to host the complete MySQL community directly in touch with them for packaging various MySQL variants.

Finally, it was decided that we meet in the second week of December (8-12), 2014 to find solutions to the unique problem faced by these Linux Distros. Over time Debian and Ubuntu have seen collaboration and attendance like never before from the individual stakeholders willing to maintain their MySQL variant in the Distro backed software repositories. The increased interest also brought with it the technical challenges to allow choice amongst one of the many MySQL variants in the most meaningful way possible.

All of us namely, Me (Akhil) and Norvald from Oracle, George from Percona and Otto an independent maintainer for MariaDB agreed to meet at the Canonical’s London Office. We at Oracle have been referring this event for long as the “Canonical Sprint”. It is about time we take this name out in open as it quite aptly represents Canonical’s interest to enable maximum choices for its users.

Just because each one of us agreed to work in tandem with each other, it did not mean all was achieved. It is not so straight forward to get all the MySQL variants working seamlessly with each other allowing users to make a choice at their own pace and test a variant as they decide to use. Moreover, along with the packages it is also important that users  are allowed to make sustainable transition of configuration and data across variants when they decide to make a switch. All of this needed careful analysis of various use cases and also a well defined process that we can get implemented for changing variants in real time.

At the sprint not only did we get the packaging right for us to hit the ambitious target but we also worked on side projects listed below:

  • Got rid of the legacy packaging source not applicable any more,
  • Enabled systemd service for Debian,
  • Started using dep8 testing for the packages,
  • Established parallel builds and parallel MTR test runs to reduce development and build time.
  • Baselined common work processes and repositories to collaborate.

A lot was achieved over the week and lot more is yet to come in following months. We are looking forward to Ubutnu 15.04 which will be a great release for users of MySQL Ecosystem on Ubuntu. Thanks Canonical for hosting us all together and giving us a platform to achieve and demonstrate a kind of collaboration that has never taken shape before. Glad to be part of this sprint. Finally, towards end of the week here is one of the many happy outcomes from the event:

Canonical Sprint Team
Here we are (left to right): James (Canonical), Norvald (MySQL), George (Percona), Akhil (MySQL), Otto (independently maintains MariaDB) and Robie (Canonical).                  Graphic Courtesy: George.