Santa Clara MySQL Conference 2012: Unity or division?

Since 2005, April has been the month for MySQL users to meet in Silicon Valley, at the Santa Clara Convention Center. Traditionally, the conferences ended with an announcement of the dates for the following year. That was a good tradition.

For the last few years and with changing stewards of the MySQL product, uncertainty has been introduced into that process. Announcements have been delayed by months, main sponsorships have been unclear up to the last minute, and the basic decision on whether there will be a conference at all hasn’t always been obvious, as key players and decision makers have shifted.

This is no different today, concerning 2012. Rumours prevail. The current MySQL steward pulled out for 2011, leaving O’Reilly as the main risk taker. With a competing event on the East Coast at almost the same dates, the ecosystem was left with confusion on which event to participate in. I belonged to the very few who went to both events; most users of MySQL came to Santa Clara only.

So, what is in the interest of the MySQL community? I would argue as follows:

– having well over a thousand visitors at the O’Reilly MySQL Conference 2011 despite a simultaneous event in Orlando inspired confidence in Santa Clara as the location

– MySQLers stick to habits as much as anyone: the usual date, the usual place, the usual format is a good combination

– having competing events at the same time only introduces confusion, which isn’t in the interest of any player in the ecosystem

– O’Reilly deserves lots of credit for their expertise in arranging all logistic aspects of the conference

– I’m not the first one to say it, but I would like to see a conference which is focused on the product users interests rather than business interests of any particular company

I would thus welcome all parties in the ecosystem, from O as in Oracle to P as in Percona and everyone before, between or after them in the alphabet, to work towards a Santa Clara MySQL Conference 2012. Or an O’Reilly MySQL Conference 2012. Or why not even an Oracle (or IOUG) MySQL Conference 2012. But we wouldn’t expect others to rally around a SkySQL MySQL Conference 2012. Nor do we support the idea of branding a conference aimed at gathering the entire MySQL ecosystem after any individual player except the IOUG and O’Reilly.