Board Meeting 1/2021: Thu 29 Apr 2021 18:00-19:00 EET

Present board members:

  • Eric Herman, Chairman
  • Michael Widenius, MariaDB Corporation
  • Sergei Golubchik, MariaDB Corporation
  • Max Mether, MariaDB Corporation
  • Todd Boyd, IBM
  • Sudhakar Sannakkayala, Microsoft

Absent board members:

  • Espen Håkonsen, Visma
  • Barry Abrahamson, Automattic
  • Qinglin Zhang, Tencent
  • Fangxin Lou, Alibaba

Additionally, as non-voting secretary:

  • Kaj Arnö, CEO, MariaDB Foundation


  • 1. Follow up on previous meeting
  • 2. CEO update
    • 2.1 Recruitment and staff
    • 2.2 Internal working mode during Corona
    • 2.3 Conference updates: Adoption over Openness
    • 2.4 Future conferences: Percona Live, Cloud Server Fest
    • 2.5 Key insight: Docker is new key measurement
    • 2.6 Buildbot & Continuous Integration
    • 2.7 Contributions, governance & CLI processing
    • 2.8 MariaDB 10.6.0 Alpha released
  • 3. Decision: Expectations of board members related to attendance
  • 4. Discussion: Other expectations of board members
  • 5. Guidance from Board: Financial update
  • 6. Guidance from Board: Relationship to MariaDB Corporation
  • 7. Next meeting

1. Follow up on previous meeting

2. CEO update

2.1 Recruitment and staff

No new recruitments since last mtg, no changes.

2.2 Internal working mode during Corona

Several staff members have had Covid-19, but are now ok (Romania, Bosnia).
Several staff members have had one or two vaccine shots (Romania, Germany).
Work mode with virtual meetings has gone well, under the circumstances.
Still near-zero travel (a total of two trips Foundation wide since last mtg).

2.3 Conference updates: Adoption over Openness

Like 2020, we have had zero unconferences (which we judge to depend a lot on f2f review presence), meaning less emphasis on “openness” (code contributions).

Instead, we have had several online conferences aimed at users of MariaDB, meaning “adoption”:

9 Dec 2020: MariaDB Server Release Policy MiniFest  
6 Feb 2021: MariaDB Devroom at FOSDEM (first separate)
24 Mar 2021: MariaDB Server HA Minifest (High Availability) 

Building upon success and practices of 14-20 Sep 2020 Server Fest

  • all presentations persistently available
  • lots of attendees and attention at low cost
  • thank you to sponsors MSFT and DBS Bank for great interviews, with very good testimonials promoting MariaDB adoption
  • MSFT 
  • DBS Bank
  • according to stats from 9 Mar 2021, the MariaDB Corporation account is more than three times older than the MariaDB Foundation account, yet the F account has over 60% more subscribers (565 vs 350) and over 360% more views (47082 views vs. 10178 views).

The Chairman requested statistics related to other databases to be added, to put the numbers into perspective. MySQL, PostgreSQL, MongoDB, perhaps TIDB. Here are the fresh statistics from 30 Apr 2021:

2.4 Future conferences: Percona Live, Cloud Server Fest

12-13 May 2021 Percona Live (with MariaDB Community Room)
9 Jun 2021 MariaDB Server Cloud Minifest

2.5 Key insight: Docker is new key measurement

Old truth: Downloads are important

  • and we still need to focus on them
  • and there is duplication with Corporation downloads
  • and we have improved upon them, with REST API

Old truth: Linux Distros are important

  • and we still need to focus on them
  • and we integrate deeply with Debian, RH et al.

New truth: Docker container images are the key source for obtaining MariaDB (millions)

  • and we need to make the experience easy
  • and we need to follow the trend, and compare to MySQL, PostgreSQL, MongoDB 

2.6 Buildbot & Continuous Integration

One FTE resource (Vlad Bogolin) has been employed for a year on continuous integration, creating “New Buildbot”. The goal is for every push to be tested for all crucial tests on all crucial platforms, giving instant feedback to the dev. “Protected branches” means that noncompliant commits will be rejected.
Resources for building Windows are in process to be supplied by MSFT. Other sponsorships are also possible. 

2.7 Contributions, governance & CLA processing

Management of contributor licenses and pull requests is being streamlined, with deeper integration into Github.
Goal 1: Make contributions easier, through meeting contributor expectations. Document governance explicitly, as part of git repo.
Goal 2: Streamlined processes and repositories of license assignments.
Help is being provided by our Chairman Eric based on his experience in FOSS projects. Other help welcome.

2.8 MariaDB 10.6.0 Alpha released

  • good news: 10.6.0 is out!
  • good news: it’s alpha, so new features can still flow into 10.6.1
  • process difficulties (features initially not documented in KB; late changes in schedule and plans)

3. Decision: Expectations of board members related to attendance

Proposal by Chairman: Board members who have not attended 3 or more consecutive meetings are to become observers, through an explicit decision by the following board meeting. Observers are welcome to attend. Reasoning: This practice allows us to nominate new voting board members who we hope will be able to participate more.

Decision: Each meeting shall have an agenda item “Decision: Board Composition Changes Related To Attendance”.

At this agenda item, the meeting can change members to be observers, and former observers to become full members. These changes are to be made according to the Board’s best judgement on a case by case basis. This is to be done without changes to the By-laws, as to voting members out and electing new board members.

The CEO shall 

  • alert the Board to the existence of board members which haven’t attended the two past meetings, 
  • personally approach any repeatedly absent board members in order to try to verify that they can attend the upcoming meeting

4. Discussion: Other expectations of board members

Questions raised:

What are reasons for board membership? (Track record as community member; active work; nomination by key sponsor)
How to follow up expectations over time? 
If conditions change, when and how should it be raised on BoD mtgs?
Should these expectations be reflected in changes in By-laws?


The meeting appointed a working group, with the Chairman and the CEO, to draft a proposal about possible expectations. The proposal shall be circulated by email within the board, and voted on as a motion next BoD mtg. Everyone should have the opportunity to express their opinion on it over email, prior to the meeting.

5. Guidance from Board: Financial update

Since the last meeting (21.10.2020), the following main sponsorship payments arrived on the account: 
ServiceNow – 100k€
Alibaba – 100k€
Tencent – 100k€

Sponsorship agreement expired:
MariaDB Corporation (31.3.2021)

6. Guidance from Board: Relationship to MariaDB Corporation

The CEO reported the following: Tue 27 Apr 2021, Max Mether (as liaison for MariaDB Corporation) met with the Chairman and the CEO with initial thoughts on a new agreement replacing the current one.

We are hesitant to commit to deeper cooperation while the current funding has lapsed.

However, we see goals of F and C being in fundamental agreement (F openness and adoption goals should be in no conflict with C sales or profit goals).

We need to achieve common understanding on how to best jointly promote adoption, given the resources needed for it (which always come with monetary constraints).

  1. Use opportunities to grow adoption and expertise through MariaDB University Program
  2. Promote usage through documentation (a better Knowledge Base infrastructure, resources, fragmentation of documentation on eg. ColumnStore).
  3. Map out duplicated effort, reduce it wherever possible.
  4. Find a proper release schedule model.

Anyone with further creative ideas is welcome to contribute.

Max Mether added the following:

  • There should be a clear expectation on who does what. 
  • There has been some unnecessary friction F-C, from both sides.
  • There should be no overlap by mistake (if on purpose, it’s a different story)
  • Max strives for a resolution by the end of May; at the very least, a concrete suggestion from C to F before that

Guidelines to the CEO: Max to convey to Corporation that the Foundation expects the current agreement to continue unchanged until a new “upgraded” agreement takes effect.

Noted regarding adoption: changes in the Release Model shouldn’t impose a negative effect on adoption (compared to the current release model).

The Board was happy to note that the Corporation is interested in a deeper cooperation, going beyond the current agreement. The Board gave the CEO the guideline to explore extensions in scope, however ensuring that in the meantime, the currently expired agreement is continued as-is. 

7. Next meeting

Wed 25 Aug 2021 at 17:00 CET.
The CEO to verify the date one month ahead (to check if we need to move it).