Skipping the MySQL Conference and Expo 2009

I have been silent on the topic of this year’s MySQL conference, and really, silent in nearly all ways anyway. Today, as the MySQL Users Conference Conference and Expo 2009 starts up, some people will be wondering where I am, so I ought to at least answer that: I am skipping the conference this year.

As my wife can tell you, this is not a decision I’ve taken lightly, and I’ve gone back and forth on it for months and then down to the final days leading up to now. I’ve decided after much internal and external debate just to skip it all this year, including the side conferences and other stuff. Why? The reasons are basically:

  • It’s my opinion that the “state of the art” with MySQL has not changed, so I am not really missing much technical content to further myself. There’s a lot of interesting stuff going on with Percona and Google’s work, but I largely follow that through blogs and mailing lists and personal contacts already.
  • I strongly disagree with the speaker selection process used in this and the previous couple of years’ conferences. I feel that they actively discourage any speakers who refuse to stay on script—those willing to tell users the reality of the situation. I can’t and/or won’t do that, so I didn’t submit anything this year—my initial effort, months ago, to disengage from the conference. I watched from the sidelines this year and listened to everyone else’s complaints about not being selected. I don’t care to hear about the process, the details, the counter-arguments, etc., but really, any selection process which ends up leaving out Percona, for any reason, is just broken. I know they got some consolation slots in the end, but that doesn’t change my opinion.
  • The previous years’ conferences, while they have been fun in various ways, have been declining in actual technical content and increasing in politics, marketing hype, PR stuff, and whatnot. This does not have value to me (see above).
  • I am tired of explaining MySQL Enterprise vs. MySQL Community, InnoDB/Oracle vs. MySQL Inc., where the patches have gone, why the foreign key implementation in MySQL sucks, why the triggers implementation sucks, the problems with replication, etc., ad infinitum. Nothing has changed, it’s all basically as broken as it was last year, the year before that, etc.

OK, many people know the above about me already. So why not go to the Percona Performance Conference or hang out and chat with people, or…

  • The most important reason: I am making a concerted effort to stay out of the politics of the whole conference this year. While I feel that I add nominally value to the conference by analyzing and reporting on the happenings, and asking uncomfortable questions, I just can’t do it this year. I need a break.

I debated potentially taking this entire week as vacation and really disappearing for the entire week, disconnected, but I really value the friendship of all of my friends that come out to California from the far reaches of the Earth for the conference. I will be in the Bay Area (as usual every week), and I would very much enjoy having a politics-free drama-free dinner if you’re up for it. Contact me!

Administrative Note: I have disabled comments on this entry, as I don’t want the debate and politics to shift over here. I apologize in advance for my anti-blog-like behavior in that regard. I welcome any and all notes and comments at