I just read that Boing Boing has blogged about a new WordPress-based system called Lycueum. The iBiblio project first contacted me it seems about two years ago, so I applaud them for finally getting a release out. From my examination of the code, it seems it’s exactly what WordPress MU is except they’ve modified every SQL statement (what a pain!) to use a monolithic table structure. We tested this approach for MU, but found it was too expensive to scale past a certain point. With monolithic structures you hit a wall based on your hardware. In MU users are divided and can be partitioned easily, for example on WordPress.com we have the users partitioned between 4096 databases, which allows you to scale very cheaply and efficiently to hundreds of thousands and even millions of users and extremely high levels of traffic. It’s unfortunate the Lyceum folks came to different conclusions and decided to focus their efforts on a fork rather than on the core codebase, especially as the massive changes going into WP 2.1 are going to be difficult to merge, but I still wish them the best and I’ll be watching the project closely and picking up anything interesting they do and bringing it back to WP. (Such is the beauty of Open Source. :)) If nothing else, it highlights that the MU site needs a little TLC.