CEO of MySQL "Invents" the Semantic Web!

The CEO of MySQL, Marten Mickos, gave a talk this morning at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco on his vision for a "great database in the sky" in which all data would be open and accessible on the Web (running on MySQL servers of course!).

In his talk, without mentioning the Semantic Web, Mr. Mickos described much of what the Semantic Web community has built and is working on (except we use triplestores that are often not running on MySQL…). From the sound of it, he proposed essentially the equivalent of reinventing RDF and SPARQL, and possibly even OWL.

It is surprising that there was no mention of the work going on in the Semantic Web field — which is nothing less than the future of data on the Web (and in the enterprise). Even Oracle supports RDF. You would think that MySQL would be aware of this?

I have to say, his talk was both a validation of what we have all been working towards, and as Ian Davis explains, it is also a clear sign that the W3C and the Semantic Web community have not found a way to get the message accross. If
the CEO of one of the most widely used open-source databases is
starting a big initiative to possibly reinvent the wheel in his own
company, that is a definite concern. Hopefully someone will rectify
this and bring him up to speed soon!

It would be a terrible waste if MySQL went off on their own to
reinvent the wheel (a wheel which has taken hundreds of researchers
more than a decade to make) when they could be valuable contributors of
an already-existing, large-scale, worldwide community that is very far
along in making the vision Mr. Mickos described into a reality. MySQL
could indeed play THE leading role in this space. They are perfectly
positioned to do it.

Oracle’s support for RDF, while a positive step, has not gotten rave
reviews from developers, or even from an anonymous senior architect I
know who worked deeply in these areas at Oracle.

MySQL has a different distribution model and they are
well-positioned to bring about a sea-change in the way structured data
is made available on the Web — depending on how they implement their
approach, and whether they support open standards if and when they do

(See Also: Danny Ayers’ Post on this)



Editor’s Note: Marten
just emailed me in response with the reply below, and gave me his
permission to reproduce it here. He will be writing back later with
more details about what he means below… I’m looking forward to
hearing more! And by the way — I more than a little impressed that he
not only found my post so soon, but wrote back so fast. Marten
definitely has his finger on the pulse of the blogosphere.


Thanks for your blog posting today! I am sorry if I failed to give
credit to the semantic web in my Web2.0 presentation. The ideas behind
my presentation have many sources such as Adam Bosworth’s keynote at
the MySQL User Conference in 2005, and the thinking around the semantic

But I also specifically focused on structured data, and even more
specifically on data that is currently stored in relational databases.

For me as a DBMS guy that’s an interesting area, but I would say it is just a fraction of what the semantic web is all about.

Make sense?


Marten Mickos, CEO, MySQL AB