A dedicated MySQL track at Kaleidoscope, the upcoming Oracle Developer Tools User Group conference, should give MySQL a nice bounce at a time of much questioning. Oracle has a bit of a PR problem, having being convicted in advance of everything from malign neglect to active hostility toward the little competitor it purchased last year as part of its much-contested Sun acquisition. At the same time, the MySQL community--represented at Kaleidoscope by ACE directors Sheeri K. Cabral and Ronald Bradford--is constantly reminding Oracle's management of what they owe their MySQL users.
MySQL users can get a special discount to the Kaleidoscope conference, which is being held in Washington DC from June 27 through July 1, by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org. Highlights of the full schedule that MySQL users will seek out at this conference include:
- Sixteen sessions and a three-hour master class devoted to MySQL over the four main days of the conference.
- A Sunday symposium on Performance, Scalability, and Security that Ronald tells me will keep the interest of MySQL developers and administrators.
- Two events, free to MySQL attendees, held Monday evening back-to-back: a Q&A session with ACE directors and a reception with speakers, held Monday evening. (Please register in advance to aid in planning.)
I talked to Sheeri and Ronald and got some background about this important event. Note that the invitation came directly from Oracle users--not from Oracle management--reflecting a sincere interest among leaders of the Oracle community to learn about MySQL, whose purchase and patronage by Oracle has given new credibility.
Sheeri points out that although the FUD around the Oracle purchase may have driven some MySQL users to try PostgreSQL or other alternatives, the purchase has stimulated the much larger community of Oracle users to take a look at this new asset. The MySQL track at Kaleidoscope is submitted as one piece of evidence.
MySQL is still the default database product grabbed by web developers, start-ups, and anyone else with a generic need to organize data. The O'Reilly MySQL conference was quite popular this year, and it will be a constant at the upcoming Open Source convention too.
Alternatives are proliferating, of course. A glance at the Open Source convention's database track shows several recent NoSQL projects, the feature-rich PostgreSQL, and MySQL's own friendly fork, Drizzle. I hardly need to mention also SQLite (a favorite in 3G mobile phones), and the still-robust proprietary offerings such as Oracle. But for most developers, the question to ask is, "Why not just use MySQL?"
The MySQL 5.5 beta has been released, boasting various foils and flourishes to improve usability on Windows and performance in general. A security release has come out as well under Oracle's guidance. Upcoming features in MySQL will soon be covered in Oracle Magazine.
Sheeri tends to believe that MySQL can prosper if things continue to go along as they have for years: if the developers are allowed to continue their work at Oracle, if conferences continue to be held, if the community has its say. If Oracle wrenches things in a different direction, the community could be fragmented and development could suffer.
What worries me is how Oracle handled Solaris. Why would they start charging for it again? To reel in massive profits from Sun servers? Don't make me laugh--they must have studied Sun's history and know that Sun's managers opened Solaris because they weren't reaping profits from it as a closed-source project. I see the reversal around Solaris as a sign that managing an open community was just too much trouble. But Sun hadn't handled the Solaris community well, and MySQL is in a much different position. The licensees of MySQL are not the only users that matter. And what we don't know yet is how well Oracle knows its assets.