The Years Top Tech Movers and Shakers editors recognize some of the year's most influential figures in tech.

MySQL AB CEO Marten Mickos gets my vote as one of the top database movers and shakers of 2003. Over the past year, this little Swedish company has been making big strides in shaking up the world of enterprise databases. While its true that the DBMS world is still owned, for the most part, by the Oracle/IBM/Microsoft trio, a growing number of enterprises are turning to the open-source paradigm upon which the MySQL database is based. MySQL Vice President of Marketing Zack Urlocker recently told me there was something like 4 million downloads of the MySQL database out there.

To satisfy the growing taste for open-source databases on the part of enterprises, MySQL took over SAPs open-source database and recently released it redubbed as MaxDB. The database reportedly has the high availability, scalability and comprehensive feature set that enterprises demand. In addition, MySQL recently received good press after an independent study found that its code is some six times cleaner than comparable proprietary code. Well give Mickos the credit as the titular head of MySQL, but in reality, the credit should go to the massive community of open-source developers who constantly give of their time and talent to keep the code rock-solid. Nice work, people.

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison also ranks as one of the top database influencers of the past year, and Im not talking about his lust to devour a PeopleSoft Happy Meal. Im referring to 10g, the grid computing platform that has beta testers raving. First and foremost, beta testers whove been tinkering with Oracle Database 10g and Oracle Application Server 10g are gleeful about the self-managing capabliities. Now all we need are verifiable instances of how this platform will save enterprises money by deploying low-cost commodity hardware, and well forgive Larry his trespasses against PeopleSoft. Maybe. Database Center Editor Lisa Vaas has written about enterprise applications since 1997.


Best: Jeff Hawkins, Handspring founder, chairman and chief product officer. Its been a tough year for Handspring. With an aging product lineup and mounting losses, the company eventually sold out to Palm. But through all the turmoil, the development team released what is arguably the best smartphone on the market. Combining a RIM-like keyboard with true phone sensibility, the Treo 600 (see eWEEK Labs review) finally brings PalmOne (nee Handspring) into the 21st-century PDA market. For developing and releasing a great product, and by garnering such great carrier support, Jeff Hawkins gets my nod. Wireless Center Columnist Jim Louderback is editor in chief of Ziff Davis Internet.


We dont know who he or she really is, but the author of the Blaster worm was one of the major pains for IT this year. The author illustrated many lessons about software quality, being the first to attack a really nasty flaw in Windows, but writing a worm that itself was naive and flawed. As a result, concerted defensive efforts by IT and Microsoft headed off the worst intended effects of Blaster. This episode was one of the key ones in 2003 that led Microsoft to change security practices in upcoming products. Security Center Editor Larry Seltzer has worked in and written about the computer industry since 1983.

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