Arjen Lentz is a former Community Relations Manager at MySQL. He lives in Brisbane, Australia.
Guilhem Bichot is our resident expert on MySQL replication. After taking over the baton from Sasha Pachev who did the original implementation, he has been busy enhancing and extending this popular MySQL feature.
Thank you for taking the time to do this interview. Can you define what you are responsible for, I know it's more than just replication?
Guilhem: Replication (of course), and the online backup feature for all storage engines (which is not released yet). I work together with Lars Thalmann and Mats Kindahl.
What's your background, and where do you live and work?
I am 26 years old, and I completed my studies at a French engineering school named "Ecole des Mines de Paris", doing Maths, Physics and Computer Science. I live in the countryside not far from Bordeaux, France. It is a large house built a century ago, with walls of stone and earth (how much housework there is, by the way). I work from that home.
That sounds excellent. I suppose you don't mind it at all, working from your home?
I am fond of that way of working. A key advantage for me is flexibility. The challenge is to stay connected with the needs of the company, but IRC and email does that well.
What do you do outside working hours?
My family and kids (one is 3 months old) take up that time, and when there is some spare, urgent housework :P
And what's your story with joining MySQL AB? Everybody has a story!
I sent a letter and my resume. I got an answer from a certain Mr Mickos [Marten, CEO] but there was no position at that moment... a few months later I submitted two patches and shortly after I got an interview with David Axmark [co-founder]. Again a few months later, there was an opportunity and here I am. That was two years ago.
That's nearly a normal job application, quite unusual for us... why specifically did you want to work for MySQL?
Good simple product, which is free [as in freedom], easy to download, and not pretentious (I had experience with salespeople from another major database company).
How did you use MySQL before joining the company?
I started with version
3.23.33 on Windows (Windows binaries were not official binaries at that time, they were contributed by the community). I used it in conjunction with Apache and PHP (using a package found on easyphp.org) on a Windows 2000 server (there was not much Linux in the company where I worked). I built an application to keep track of the problems that users faced with their computer, for the maintenance team.
You told that you submitted patches for MySQL. That's excellent to hear, I know such contributions are much appreciated and of course also an excellent way to get noticed as a possible developer. What kind of patches did you send in?
I submitted a patch (which is in the main tree now) which enables
LOAD DATA INFILE to understand numbers in scientific notation. And I created a Perl+DBI program,
mysql_table_info (which is also in the tree), which helps make a kind of data dictionary. But in 5.0 we have a real data dictionary, so this script will become obsolete.
I understand you were also active at conferences?
Yes, I spoke at the MySQL User Conference 2003 in San Jose, and did a demo of stored procedures in MySQL 5.0 in Paris, at the "PHP Forum".
You've told us quite a lot about yourself. While we're on a roll, is there anything else you would like to say or tell?
"But why is the TODO growing?"
Ehum. Right. Yes, well I suppose that is the joy of working on such a crucial part of the MySQL server, there's always more to do... ok, who else would you like to see interviewed?
Sanja Byelkin, Konstantin Osipov, Mike Zinner, and the support team.
Sanja is a popular guy! Thanks again for your time. Do you have a photo of yourself, outside of your work environment?
Here's the best I have.