The conference that many of us just went to is called the MySQL Conference and Expo, but a lot of people don’t call it that. They call it by the name it had in 2006 and earlier: MySQL User’s Conference. In fact, some people say (or blog) that they dislike the new name and they’re going to call it the old name, because [… insert reason here…].
I call it by the new name that some people dislike so much. Why? Because it is a conference and expo, not a user’s conference. There’s no reason to pretend otherwise. 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. Times have changed.
I’m not saying any of this is bad. Being successful in business is a good thing, and having sponsors and partners is fine too. I’m just pointing out that trying to make it be a user’s conference, just by calling it one, isn’t going to work.
If community members want a community conference, we’ll have to make one. MySQL/Sun cannot do this for us, because then it wouldn’t be a community conference.
There’s a simple test of whether people want this: if it happens, then the community wanted it badly enough to do something about it.
The PostgreSQL East 2008 conference I went to a few weeks ago was a great example of how this works. And the attendance fee was $75, not thousands. A conference doesn’t have to be expensive.
Who wants a conference by, for, and of the community?