October 30, 2009

Recent Sphinx Updates

sphinx search If you use the Sphinx search engine and have been watching the development branch (0.9.10) and wondering when to upgrade, I'm here to tell you that "now" is a great time. As of r2037, the last major issue I regularly saw has been fixed. The other big bug was fixed in r2031.

Late last week I began testing those fixes in a "burn-in" test I've developed that makes liberal use of indextool --check. Instead of seeing index corruption within an hour, I saw none. After 3 days of no failures, I deployed it to a subset of our search back-end servers. Yesterday we deployed it to half of the remaining servers.

So far, so good!

I should note that all our index corruption was merge related. Sphinx wasn't building corrupt indexes out of the box, but the merges (usually filtering merges) could produce corrupted indexes.

We were upgrading from a lightly patched version of r1894. That meant rebuilding our indexes to use the new and more compact format. Some of the obvious benefits of the upgrade:

  • smaller disk and memory footprint
  • pre-fork support to spawn searchd children at start up
  • more reliable shutdown and pid file handling
  • kill lists
  • mysql protocol support
  • lots of small optimizations and fixes

Thanks to the Sphinx team for their excellent work. I look forward to the release of Sphinx 1.0.

Posted by jzawodn at 07:26 AM

October 21, 2009

Oracle and MySQL

In The EU and MySQL, Tim Bray treads lightly on the topic of Oracle's pending ownership of MySQL if the Sun acquisition goes through. I left a comment on his post, but he's likely to be heavily moderating what appears there since he works for Sun.

So here's what I posted on his blog.

I haven't yet seen anyone explain what motivation Oracle has for pouring resources into MySQL, especially if it eats away at their DBMS business on the low end.
I've been puzzling over this since their acquisition of Innobase Oy (the makers of InnoDB) years back. Is Oracle serious about seeing MySQL grow and succeed, or was that just a way to get a strangle-hold on a critical piece of MySQL?
I've never had the chance to ask Ken Jacobs that. Actually, I have but it would have been kind of rude. And even if I did, I'm not sure I could trust the answer.
I doubt this comment will get published, but as a MySQL long time user, supporter, advocate, and author I'm really glad to see things like PBXT, MariaDB, and Percona's XtraDB out there.

Really, we need that kind of diversity in Open Source. A MySQL/InnoDB "monopoly" wouldn't have been healthy in the long run.

A reporter contacted me today to ask, among other things, if I think Oracle was/is threatened by MySQL. Oracle claims that they serve two different markets, etc. He wasn't so sure.

Sadly, there's some background information that I should not publish here, but suffice it to say that Oracle was and probably still is threatened by MySQL. Their sales/marketing tactics made this quite clear long ago. But those deals were rarely public--for good reason.

Posted by jzawodn at 08:41 PM

October 11, 2009

Lazy Shopping Carts

What's with all the lazy shopping carts? It seems that through the years, shopping carts have become progressively more lazy.

Years ago, when a shopping cart was done with its duty, it had to find its way all the way back from your car to the store entrance--either just inside or just outside. But, apparently as the result of an aging population of shopping carts, grocery store designers started scattering "cart corrals" around the parking lot so that the poor carts only had to scoot a few dozen yards before coming to rest. But even that is starting to seem inadequate.

I was at Trader Joe's earlier today and noticed quite a number of carts that could only make it as far as the little curbs that surround the trees that in the parking lot. And at Safeway, where there seem to be cart corrals every 15 parking spots, I still see carts that aren't able to make it even that far.

Modern technology has done so much to our modern food system in the last 20 years (a fair amount of it quite questionable, I'm sure), yet so little has been done to help these carts! Why is that?

Who are the cruel people that insist on keeping these carts in service long after they're able to perform up to very basic expectations?

What is this world coming to?

It's sad, really.

Posted by jzawodn at 02:58 PM