How to make log files cool

This Management Console really is a great demonstration of how to use Web 2.0 (a phrase we hate) features to real advantage. It offers you all the features of a desktop-based application inside the browser window, it’s responsive and intuitive, and it doesn’t use unnecessary bells and whistles to get the job done. Over the past few months, we’ve been running into more and more web applications that seem to favour form over substance, so it’s great to see one that just works. (Incidentally, if you’re interested in Amazon EC2 but have been put off it because you run Windows-based rather than Unix-based servers, your pleas have been answered since you can now instantiate Windows servers too.)

How to make log files cool

Meanwhile, at MySQL…

Regular readers will also know that we’re great fans of MySQL, so we were sad to see a storm blow up recently after comments by Michael “Monty” Widenius on his blog Monty Says ( Monty is one of the founders of MySQL, who stayed on as its CTO after Sun bought the company in 2008.

His controversial comments related to the fact that MySQL 5.1, after more than a year in “release candidate” status, was finally officially released at the end of last year, and his criticism is that the software shouldn’t have received General Availability (GA) status at that time, since it still had too many outstanding bugs. His post is a long one, but it seems to boil down to dissatisfaction with the way Sun/MySQL’s management decides when a new version should be released. He feels that this decision should be based on fixing all (or most) of the bugs first, while Sun wants to establish and hit a timeline even if there are still open bugs at that time.

Obviously, this is a complex issue, and naturally lots of people have weighed into the scrap. Even the senior vice president of Sun’s database group joined the discussion and, perhaps surprisingly, he defended Widenius, saying that such criticism even from insiders is “part of being an open-source company”.

Meanwhile, others within Sun have said that the release of 5.1 was perfectly sensible, and that all complex software has bugs – indeed, many software developers release versions with known existing bugs. It’s simply that since MySQL 5.1 had been available in wide release as a beta for more than a year, so more people had a chance to test it and find those bugs than would be the case with a closed-source program.

Ultimately, whether you upgrade to version 5.1 or not depends on whether you’re experiencing problems with your current version 5 installation, since 5.1 fixes a lot of outstanding version 5 bugs, and whether you want to use the new features of 5.1 such as data partitioning (the ability to store different parts of a table on different file systems) and event scheduling (potentially useful – the ability to run a task at a specified time or after a specified interval, like Unix’s cron). We’ve been experimenting with MySQL 5.1 for some time and have had no major problems, but of course your mileage may vary, and we’d certainly recommend thorough testing before upgrading. But then that’s always good advice.

Drizzle, out of MySQLMeanwhile, a project we’re watching with a great deal of interest is Drizzle. This is in effect a very stripped-down version of MySQL, designed specifically for websites and other Cloud computing applications, which is being developed by various people including MySQL and Sun employees – and is of course open source.

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