Disclosure: Truth About MySQL 2012 Conference Planning

Aug 10, 2011 / By Sheeri Cabral

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I love Percona Live.  I think it is a great meeting of the minds.  However, I do not think it is a good replacement for the big April MySQL conference.  In fact, neither does Baron Schwartz:

“The conference is organized and owned by MySQL, not the users. It isn’t a community event. It isn’t about you and me first and foremost. It’s about a company trying to successfully build a business, and other companies paying to be sponsors and show their products in the expo hall.”
Baron Schwartz, April 23, 2008.
http://www.xaprb.com/blog/2008/04/23/like-it-or-not-it-is-the-mysql-conference-and-expo/

Switch “MySQL” for “Percona”, and that is exactly what Baron said in today’s announcement:

“Emphasis on business. We need a place where vendors, both open-source and closed-source, can showcase their products and services. This is the hand that feeds all of us. It’s good for Percona’s business, and it’s good for everyone else’s too.”

…except in 2008, Baron was calling for a community conference because what was good for business was not good for the community.

Let me pull out that last sentence from the quote.  Read it to yourself, and tell me if you feel warm fuzzies replacing “Percona” with “Oracle” or “MySQL”:

“It’s good for _______’s business, and it’s good for everyone else’s too.”

Here is a question for you:  Do you think Oracle will send lots of engineers to talk about current and future plans for MySQL to a conference that is open about saying “It is good for our business?”

It does not matter if it is Percona, Blue Gecko, or PalominoDB, if Oracle has any business sense (and they make quite a bit of money, so signs are that they have business sense) they will not send engineers to a competitor’s company-branded conference.

What does Percona’s founder, Peter Zaitsev, have to say about the conference?  He’s not really happy about it either:

“I would like to see the conference which is focused on the product users interests rather than business interests of any particular company (or personal interests of small group of people), I would like it to be affordable so more people can attend and I’d like to see it open so everyone is invited to contribute and process is as open as possible. “
Peter Zaitzev, April 23, 2008
http://www.mysqlperformanceblog.com/2008/04/23/conference-for-mysql-users/

Peter, I would like to see that too.  In fact, a small group of folks, including Giuseppeand myself, tried to make that happen, and we had SkySQL, MariaDB, Oracle andIOUG all supporting us.

Giuseppe called for disclosure about the conference, so I will disclose this:  Baron was not truthful when he said “To the best of our knowledge, no one else was planning one”.

Giuseppe asked for full disclosure, so here is a copy and paste of a Skype conversation I had with Percona’s Tom Basil on June 29th, 2011:

 

Sheeri K. Cabral 6/29/11 12:10 PM 

I think we should develop some ideas in case O’Reilly doesn’t end up having a MySQL conference….last year the announcement was late, and it was in May, and I’m starting to think they might not be doing a conference this year, since we haven’t heard anything yet.

6/29/11 12:10 PM

if that’s the case, I’d like to have a conference anyway, and I’d like to explore options with you, because we need a community-run conference (not Collaborate, but maybe a co-located summit).  And obviously you’ve had success with Percona Live, but a multi-day conference is really different.

6/29/11 12:11 PM

(FWIW I told Colin Charles in May that I was willing to help co-chair the conference, so I’m still willing to give my support in that area).

Tom Basil 6/29/11 12:14 PM 

Sheeri, can’t talk now

Sheeri K. Cabral 6/29/11 12:14 PM 

*nod*  can we schedule a conf call maybe?

Tom Basil 6/29/11 12:14 PM 

Headed out in just few min

6/29/11 12:14 PM

yes, next week

6/29/11 12:14 PM

We tried to schedule conference calls but for almost 6 weeks we were pushed back.
I had indeed offered to chair or co-chair a conference with Colin Charles, but I simply cannot lend a lot of logistical support to a Percona-branded conference.  I volunteer a lot, but it is for the benefit of the MySQL Community, not for the benefit of a company I do not work for.
I hope that my openness and candor does not blacklist me from Percona events; I am a popular and sought-after speaker at MySQL events and it will be a loss to the community if that happens.
Percona should keep its Percona Live series.  However, the world’s most popular open source database deserves and needs exactly what Peter, Percona’s founder, said just a few years ago: “the conference which is focused on the product users interests rather than business interests of any particular company”.
I believe Percona Live Santa Clara will be a successful event, and I will try to be a part of it.  I hope it will be as successful for the community as it will be for Percona’s business.

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