There is some very big news going around that internet thing today: MySQL has switched from Bitkeeper to Bazaar. I wrote up a quick post on the Canonical blog about the same thing, and Giussepe Maxia has a nice technical post about how to get started working with the new system.
Here’s an excerpt from a mail I just sent to an internal Canonical list:
Bazaar and Launchpad are truly tools that matter, from a historical and social perspective. MySQL and other open source software run a huge percentage of the internet, and these tools preserve and enrich the body of knowledge that is in the public commons, knowledge that will be there for our children and grandchildren to study and improve on. Thank you for letting me be part of a project I will be proud to tell my kids about.
The best feeling in the world is to know that you have a small role in contributing to that body of public knowledge, in building tools that the whole world can use to make things better. It’s so critical that really important software projects like MySQL are preserved in an open system – even though I’m proud of Bazaar it doesn’t really matter so much whether the choice is Bazaar or some other open system, as it does that the history be available in a fully functional free VCS. Bjarne Stroustrup said that “technological civilization depends on software”, and both when I was working at MySQL and now working at Canonical, it’s inspiring that the people in charge (hi Monty, hi Mark), have such a strong commitment to paying the bills in a socially responsible way and trying to create tools, fundamental building blocks that can benefit society as a whole at the same time.
There is plenty more work to do – go contribute to your favorite bit of open source software today! Maybe grab a branch of MySQL and make something interesting.