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Michael Widenius

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Michael Widenius
Michael "Monty" Widenius, 2019
Ulf Michael Widenius

(1962-03-03) 3 March 1962 (age 62)
Other namesMonty
  • CTO of the MariaDB Corporation AB
  • Co-founder of MySQL AB
  • Author of the MySQL server and MariaDB fork
  • General partner at OpenOcean
Children3, My, Max and Maria, whose names inspired MySQL, MaxDB and MariaDB.

Ulf Michael Widenius (born 3 March 1962), also known as Monty, is a Finnish software programmer. He is the main author of the original version of the open source MySQL database, a founding member of the MySQL AB company and CTO of the MariaDB Corporation AB. Additionally, he is a founder and general partner at venture capital firm OpenOcean.


Early years[edit]

Born in Helsinki, Finland, Widenius went to the co-educational school Broban, which was first merged into Minervaskolan and later to Lönnbeckska gymnasiet. After dropping out of Helsinki University of Technology, Widenius started working for Tapio Laakso Oy in 1981. In 1985 he founded TCX DataKonsult AB (a Swedish data warehousing company) with Allan Larsson.[1] In 1995 he began writing the first version of the MySQL database with David Axmark, released in 1996. He is the co-author of the MySQL Reference Manual, published by O'Reilly in June 2002; and in 2003 he was awarded the Finnish Software Entrepreneur of the Year prize.[2]

Until MySQL AB's sale to Sun Microsystems in 2008,[3] he was the chief technical officer of MySQL AB. After the acquisition, he remained one of the primary forces behind the ongoing development of MySQL.[4]

MySQL acquired by Sun[edit]

Widenius sold MySQL to Sun in January 2008, earning about €16.6 million in capital gains in 2008 (€16.8 million total income), making him one of the top 10 highest earners in Finland that year.[5][6]

After Sun[edit]

In 2008, Widenius established venture capital firm OpenOcean with his MySQL AB colleague Patrik Backman and early advisors Tom Henriksson and Ralf Wahlsten.[7]

On 5 February 2009, he announced that he was leaving Sun in order to create his own company.[8]

On 12 December 2009, Widenius asked MySQL customers to lobby the European Commission (EC), regarding Oracle's acquisition of Sun, citing concerns about potential Oracle control of MySQL;[9] this resulted in an online petition campaign called "Save MySQL".[10]

After leaving Sun, he formed Monty Program Ab and forked MySQL into MariaDB, named after his youngest daughter, Maria.[11] It includes several patches and plugins developed by the company itself or the community. One of these plugins is the Aria storage engine, which was renamed from Maria to avoid confusion with MariaDB. Monty Program Ab merged with SkySQL, who later renamed themselves MariaDB Corporation. He is also CTO of the MariaDB Foundation, the non-profit organisation charged with promoting, protecting and advancing the MariaDB codebase, community, and ecosystem.[12]

The Open Database Alliance, also known as ODBA,[13] was founded in 2009 by the Monty Program and Percona. According to its first announcement, "the Open Database Alliance will comprise a collection of companies working together to provide the software, support and services for MariaDB, an enterprise-grade, community-developed branch of MySQL".[14][15]

Personal life[edit]

Widenius lives in Kauniainen, Finland with his second wife Anna and his youngest daughter, Maria. Widenius has three children – My, Max, and Maria – who inspired the names for MySQL,[16] MaxDB and the MySQL-Max distribution, and MariaDB.[17][18]


  1. ^ "Management Team". The company. MySQL AB. Archived from the original on 23 February 2008. Retrieved 10 January 2008.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  2. ^ "Supercellin tiimi on vuoden ohjelmistoyrittäjä" (in Finnish). Finnish Software Entrepreneurs Association. Archived from the original on 5 March 2016. Retrieved 24 April 2017.
  3. ^ "Sun to Acquire MySQL". News & events. MySQL AB. Archived from the original on 5 September 2008. Retrieved 5 September 2008.
  4. ^ Arnö, Kaj (April 2007). "Monty: The First MySQL Fellow". Kaj Arnö. Retrieved 23 October 2012.
  5. ^ "Suomen 100 suurituloisinta 2008". Ilta-Sanomat (in Finnish). FI. 2 November 2009. Archived from the original on 3 November 2009. Retrieved 6 November 2009.
  6. ^ "Verotiedot 2008". Helsingin Sanomat (in Finnish). Helsinki, FI. Retrieved 6 November 2009.
  7. ^ Tech Crunch: Open Ocean Closes New 100 Million Euro Fund [1]
  8. ^ "Time to move on". Monty's blog. 5 February 2009. Retrieved 5 February 2009.
  9. ^ "Help saving MySQL". Monty's blog. 12 December 2009. Retrieved 12 December 2009.
  10. ^ Michael, Widenius (12 December 2009). "Help saving MySQL". Monty Says. Google. Retrieved 16 September 2012.
  11. ^ "Why is the project called MariaDB?". AskMonty (knowledgebase). Archived from the original on 4 June 2013. Retrieved 7 February 2013.
  12. ^ "Leadership". mariadb.com. Archived from the original on 8 October 2014. Retrieved 8 December 2014.
  13. ^ ODBA (official World Wide Web site), Open database alliance.
  14. ^ "Welcome". Open Database Alliance. Archived from the original on 20 September 2012. Retrieved 18 October 2012.
  15. ^ "About the MariaDB Foundation". mariadb.org. Retrieved 8 December 2014.
  16. ^ "History of MySQL". MySQL (Reference Manual) (5.1 ed.). MySQL. Retrieved 26 August 2011.
  17. ^ "Aria FAQ: Why is the engine called Aria?". MariaDB Knowledge Base (knowledgebase). Retrieved 1 July 2020.
  18. ^ Michael Widenius (28 October 2013). The MySQL MariaDB Story (Conference presentation). HighLoad++. The MySQL-MariaDB story (slide deck).

External links[edit]