My talk for MySQL Connect has been accepted. This is the MySQL specific 2 day conference just before the big Oracle OpenWorld and JavaOne. It is kind of a new conference by Oracle. They've had something called MySQL Sunday at this spot before, but this year it is a bit bigger and with a bigger spin on it. I'm glad it is on a weekend because otherwise I wouldn't be able to attend.
I will give the popular Evaluating MySQL High Availability Alternatives talk that I have been refining in two Percona Live conferences already. With MySQL 5.6 in the oven now, there's something new again to talk about.
MySQL Connect was announced a day before the Percona Live MySQL Conference in Santa Clara, so it was a great opportunity for everyone there to speculate what exactly Oracle planned to do with the conference. With a Call-for-Papers and everything, there was some expectation that Oracle was trying to create a real, inclusive community conference. And there were those who were sceptical that Oracle could ever do such a thing. For the remainder of this blog post, since I have nothing more important to do, let me just look at how Oracle fared in this respect.
The program committee
There was a blog post about the program committee, but I can't find it now. Anyway, it was mostly Oracle employees with a minority of non-employees from the IOUG MySQL Community Council.
If we compare this with the Percona Live Santa Clara conference, then Percona in my opinion went a bit over the board in the community direction with the entire panel consisting of people not employed by Percona. Clearly Oracle didn't go this far, nor is there in my opinion any reason to do so. (And to be clear, the other smaller Percona Live conferences are run with a more lightweight logistics and talks are picked by Percona themselves.)
On the other hand, if we remember the old MySQL AB conferences, in those there used to also be a very community oriented panel, but its decisions would then occasionally be overruled by other MySQL executives. In my book Oracle actually gets points here for transparency: They have invited community members to provide input, yet they are being transparent about the fact that control obviously remains with Oracle.
Regardless of who selected the talks, the proof is in the pudding.
Here it is good to put the final results into some context. I was on the committee for the Percona MySQL Conference in Santa Clara. We got way over 200 proposals and out of those roughly 180 were good enough that they could have been selected for the conference. Yet for a 2+1 day conference only 66 talks could actually be selected.
MySQL Connect is even smaller (by half?) than that. This is good to keep in mind when looking at the list of talks that are there. Just because someone submitted a great talk and it wasn't accepted, is not yet a reason to go all conspiracy theory.
Somewhat paradoxically therefore, a great MySQL conference will at the same time be both inclusive and exclusive :-)
So what does the agenda look like?
There are of course many talks from Oracle employees themselves. Both MySQL 5.6 and MySQL Cluster are well covered. The focus on MySQL Cluster is perhaps one deviation from a purely community run conference: this is an amazing MySQL product, yet especially in California it is completely underrepresented in the MySQL community. For my part I certainly welcome having lots of talks about MySQL Cluster.
There are also talks about closed source MySQL Enterprise features like MySQL Enterprise Backup. This was something I noticed clearly while being on the committee for the Percona conference: A community panel tends to be very allergic to closed source products. The way around this is for such vendors to pay for a slot in the sponsor track instead, where they can talk about their magnificent products regardless of what the community thinks. Since Oracle is paying for its own conference, it's of course no surprise they are giving talks about their commercial products too.
There is quite a respectable cast of MySQL end users: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Yahoo... I suppose I'm an end user too, even if this is a private trip for me so I might also be categorized as random community advocate. For supplementary products we have Sphinx and Tungsten, and my talk will also include both Tungsten and Galera.
What's really encouraging is to see Pythian and Percona employees on the speaker list! After all, both of these companies to some degree compete for the same customers as Oracle (but of course, sometimes they also share the same customers). In California, where most of the audience will be from, I will even go as far to say that Percona is Oracle's primary competition. The inclusion of your direct competitors in a conference is to me the ultimate measurement of being inclusive. Hats off to Oracle for doing that!
Notably missing are MariaDB and Drizzle. I don't know that anyone has submitted Drizzle talks to begin with. I know that someone intended to submit a MariaDB talk. I've seen a MariaDB talk by Monty this year, and it was still mostly about how Oracle is killing MySQL and all that - suffice to say I'm not so surprised such talks weren't selected to a conference organized by Oracle!
It should be noted that also in the case of Percona and Pythian, their talks are actually about MySQL, not for instance about a competing fork.
All in all, I think it's great to see such a diverse and inclusive lineup, and I'm proud to be a part of it.
The real reasons to go
In the end, we shouldn't forget the real reason to go: This is probably the best opportunity you have to meet the engineers behind MySQL 5.6 and MySQL Cluster and other MySQL products.
Also, I'm gonna go out on a limb and predict / place a bet that MySQL 5.6 will be announced by Tomas Ulin at this conference. It's a good reason to be there!