Board Meeting 2/2020: Wed 21 Oct 2020 19:00-20:00 EET

Present board members:

  • Michael Widenius, MariaDB Corporation
  • Sergei Golubchik, MariaDB Corporation
  • Espen Håkonsen, Visma
  • Eric Herman
  • Todd Boyd, IBM
  • Sudhakar Sannakkayala, Microsoft
  • Barry Abrahamson, Automattic

Absent board members:

  • Qinglin Zhang, Tencent
  • Fangxin Lou, Alibaba

Newly elected board member, during the meeting

  • Max Mether, MariaDB Corporation


  • Mark Stockford, Service Now

Additionally, as non-voting secretary

  • Kaj Arnö, CEO, MariaDB Foundation


  1. Follow up on previous meeting
  2. CEO update
  3. Decision: New Board Member Max Mether
  4. Decision and guidance: Board Working Principles
  5. Guidance from Board: MariaDB Server Fest
  6. Guidance from Board: US Export Regulations
  7. Initiate discussion for later: Relationship to MariaDB Corporation
  8. Guidance from Board: Financial update
  9. Next meeting

1. Follow up on previous meeting

All relevant items from the previous meeting 17 Mar 2020  get covered in either CEO update or in individual items.

2. CEO update

2.1 Recruitment

Hired Daniel Black as Chief Innovation Officer, 15 July 2020. Replaced the budget / headcount of Sergei Vojtovich. Ex IBM, based in Canberra, Australia. Was the largest community code contributor; widest knowledge of code base amongst non-MariaDB / non-MySQL AB employees. Brings fresh blood.   
Did not hire Daniel Solodko, junior developer (contributions) at the end of his probationary period. 

2.2 Internal working mode during Corona

Meetings happen virtually, as always.
Only Vicentiu Ciorbaru and Kaj Arnö have been travelling at all, and in our case only to work with Anna and Monty in Grankulla, Finland.
More frequent use of visual communications (Zoom) over text (Zulip) is the biggest change, frequently in combination as “Weekly Zoomlip Mtg”.

2.3 Current tidbits: Adoption

Mtg tomorrow 22.10.2020 with Wikimedia Foundation (10 active Jira items).

Indonesia / India: Believed to have good leads for University program, with key influencers. Lost traction during Corona. Will restart the program, independent of advisors, likely with a project based subcontractor.

2.4 Current tidbits: Development / Openness

Intel providing access to their compilers for free, including likely access to their hardware over the cloud.

Working on how to reflect our openness on Github

Governance model to be described there ( repository lacks

Overall drive to make development model “millennial compatible”, with Jupyter Notebook as selective role model

3. Decision: New Board Member Max Mether

Decision: Max Mether elected as Director on the Board of the MariaDB Foundation.

Background: Michael Howard (MariaDB Corporation) resigned as Director on 9 Oct 2020, and nominated Max Mether instead.
Max Mether, VP of Server Product Management at MariaDB Corporation, has been with open databases since 20 years, ex MySQL AB, founder of MariaDB Corporation Ab (ex SkySQL Corporation Ab), known by many of us. 
During the vote, everyone voted yes.


4. Decision and guidance: Board Working Principles

Decision: Board meeting minutes to become by default open. Board members can request specific topics to not be minuted publicly, in which case the minutes would say: “non-publicly minuted topic as requested by NN”. Starting this meeting. 

Non-public minutes continue to be archived at

Decision: Board meetings are to happen two hours earlier in the day, to facilitate attendance by Chinese board members (for whom today’s meeting started past midnight).

Discussion topic: Attendance expectations
Backgrounder: MariaDB Foundation Board Member Rules (passed by motion 2018) does not contain expectations on board meeting attendance. We will revisit this item, when we gather experience from having our meetings at times more convenient to attendees from the Beijing time zone.

5. Guidance from Board: MariaDB Server Fest

Background reader:

Entire Live Streams27 158
YouTube Live Streams10 835
Paris6 086
Paris Day 1 (Monday)2 230
Paris Day 2 (Tuesday)2 037
Paris Day 3 (Wednesday)1 819
New York3 376
New York Day 1 (Tuesday)1 397
New York Day 2 (Wednesday)1 179
New York Day 3 (Thursday)800
Singapore1 373
Singapore Day 1 (Friday)229
Singapore Day 2 (Saturday)368
Singapore Day 3 (Sunday)776
Bilibili Live Streams16 323
Beijing16 323
Beijing Day 1 (Friday)7 362
Beijing Day 2 (Saturday)5 290
Beijing Day 3 (Sunday)3 671

Tripled YouTube subscribers (now 347)
Cost about 0,22 € / view 
Overall cost < 10k€, of which >50 % was video editing.
Comparative cost of New York MariaDB Unconference: > 50k€.

Rough plan and help requested

  1. Repeat twice a year
  2. Do next one in March 2021, not colliding with MariaDB 10.6 release work, nor with Percona Live nor MariaDB Open Works
  3. Deliver regular monthly “MariaDB Parties”, to grow engagement
  4. Deliver regular video content; reach outside bubble (give attention to millennials); avoid myopia (self centeredness), excessive idol worship
  5. Availability to do something region specific, sponsor specific

6. Guidance from Board: US Export Regulations

Tencent Cloud / Tera Zhu question: does MariaDB have to comply with the USA Export Administration Regulations 
Plan: Blog how we relate to US export regulations, similar to Linux Foundation blog
– giving consideration to the role of encryption, but basically, that the software is open source and thus “free”.

7. Initiate discussion for later: Relationship to MariaDB Corporation

Given Max Mether being on the board and appointed by MariaDB Corporation to be their liaison for MariaDB Foundation, we have initiated new discussions on possible areas of cooperation. 

So far: 1 binaries (downloads), 2 Knowledge Base (documentation), 3 Our conferences, 4 Their conferences, 5 Connectors (traditional, Docker, community ones; openness, ubiquity)

Request: As part of a collective thinking process, please volunteer to work with Max and Kaj, to provide further ideas and suggest concrete touching points. 

8. Guidance from Board: Financial update

Since the last meeting, main sponsorship payments arrived on the account: 
Visma – 50.000 EUR
DBS – 50.000 EUR (for 2019)
Google (GSoc) – 4.331 EUR
Microsoft – 100.000 EUR
Percona – 5.000 EUR
Automattic – 25.000 EUR
TileDB – 819 EUR
MinervaDB – 2.113 EUR
MariaDB Corporation – 100.000 EUR sponsorship expired at the end of Sep; was a stretch goal to get that renewal already 2019: did not get a renewal 2020.

Finances project a slight surplus at the end of the year, assuming two outstanding 100k€ sponsorship payments paid 2020.

Conclusion: Action needed to get new sponsors. Kaj described three new potential contacts, one renewing discussions from 2019, one lead provided by a board member, and one from a MariaDB Server Fest presenter. 

Request: Need leads from all board members on which sponsors to pursue.

9. Next meeting

Next BoD mtg in January 2021. Time-of-day-wise 2h earlier.

10. Meeting conclusion

Eric concluded the meeting at 20:01, after which a Board Member wished “Merry Christmas”.