Business As Unusual

Working on MariaDB

MariaDB Foundation faces an unusual world, just like anyone else in these Corona times. Or perhaps, not quite. Here are some ideas for how to cope with a world inhibiting travel and social contact as we know it, from someone who has worked from home for 20 years, with colleagues also working from home.

First, stay upbeat. Humans are social animals, and we live off interactions with others. But Corona just dictates what type of social interactions we can have. It doesn’t inhibit social contact.

Second, stay connected. This is the Siamese twin of the previous item. But it also implies reaching out, to your colleagues who may have a hard time coping with the lack of usual interactions.

Third, create routines. With no morning commute and no familiar lunch break chats, the daily framework needs new routines as “coathangers” of a stable life. Having worked 20 years from home, I can tell you that the “freedom” of setting your own schedule comes with the great responsibility of avoiding the many distractions of working from home. 

Fourth, reassess goals. Do your current ones make sense in a world with much less face-to-face contact? If you are serving health care, utilities or supermarkets, you probably have your hands full just keeping the wheels in motion. If you arrange conferences, you may have lots of (unwanted) free time at your disposal. For most of us, plans are partly obsolete and our quarterly goals out of date.

Now, as a result of reassessing your goals, you will likely have freed up a fair chunk of your time. How to fill your work time with sensible content?

Presenting at MariaDB Unconference 2019-02 in NY
Blast from the past: Presenting at MariaDB Unconference 2019-02 in NY

Idea one: Clean up! Long term maintenance may be overdue. Move to the next release of whatever software  you already know you should be upgrading to. I just spent some time adding parentheses to print-statements and “as” to except-statements of some non-critical Python apps, in a long overdue upgrade to Python 3.

Idea two: Develop! Most of us developers have a full drawer of development tasks to get to, “when there is time”. Now there is. Yesterday, I treated myself to some Lightroom and SQLite related Python development, in my frustration of not skiing and snowboarding in northern Italy, as was the original plan.

Idea three: Learn! Right next to the task drawer is a drawer of items to read up on, learn and master. Add some practical skills for when Corona has ebbed out, whenever that may be.

For our part, we at the MariaDB Foundation are trying to live by this logic. And in the process, we have come up with some initiatives how to help our users, meaning all those who develop with MariaDB Server.

Salmiakki Bottles at HRT
Salmiakki Bottles at MariaDB Unconference in NY 2019-02

One initiative is for staying connected with our user base, now that conferences are a no-no. We have this vague idea of a Salmiakki Monday. Those of you who have met us at conferences know that we like to share some Finnish black vodka, with a delicious ammonium chloride taste. We are contemplating a virtual counterpart to this. Skål!

Another initiative is related to clean-up, development and learning. For some of you, an upgrade to the latest version of MariaDB may fit all three categories. SET SQL_MODE=’ORACLE’; and identify an Oracle app to migrate to MariaDB! Try out our JSON functionality! Start using system versioned tables!

Feast in the time of plague
Party at Villa Widenius

Stay tuned for further ideas from our side, on how to recalibrate work in Corona times. In the meantime, Feast in Time of Plague.