MySQL chief leaving Sun

Former MySQL CEO Marten Mickos is leaving the company just a day after MySQL co-founder Monty Widenius announced his departure

Former MySQL CEO Marten Mickos is leaving Sun Microsystems, a Sun spokeswoman confirmed Friday.

Mickos, who became senior vice president of Sun's database group when Sun bought MySQL last year, is just the latest high-profile MySQL figure to depart from Sun.

[ Mickos' departure comes a day after MySQL co-founder Monty Widenius announced his departure from Sun to start his own open source venture | Sun's Jonathan Schwartz called the MySQL acquisition "the most important acquisition in modern software history." ]

The database's creator, Michael "Monty" Widenius, said in a blog post Thursday he had resigned due to dissatisfaction with how Sun was handling MySQL development, and several months ago MySQL co-founder David Axmark also left the company, citing the confining nature of corporate life.

Mickos' duties have been taken over by Sun executive Karen Tegan Padir, who is now vice president of the newly formed MySQL and Software Infrastructure group. Padir's responsibilities also include the Glassfish application server, identity management, SOA (service oriented architecture), and the Java Enterprise System.

The apparent exodus of MySQL-ites from Sun comes as no great surprise, according to one industry observer.

"For the most part, if a tech person gets a good-to-excellent payout after vesting from the acquisition, they move on to their own thing," said Redmonk analyst Michael Coté. "That's what just about what every techie out there dreams of: getting rich enough to finally be their own boss for the rest of their lives. Any other hassle or big-company friction they encounter just accelerates that."

Given the strong revenue numbers Sun has been reporting for MySQL, the project's health seems sound, Cote added.

The shakeup "puts MySQL into the mainstream of software at Sun" and will help the company form "even tighter linkages between all software properties," Sun said in a statement.

Mickos' bio now states that he will serve as an "open source strategist" until the end of Sun's current quarter.

Mickos could not be reached for additional comment Friday. It probably won't be long before he resurfaces in another venture, several observers predicted Friday.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.