After the MySQL Conference, while most of my European colleagues were busy with volcanic disruptions and seeking alternative routes to the Old Continent, I headed to Las Vegas, to attend Collaborate10 a conference different from the ones I have been used so far. Collaborate10 is the conference of the Oracle Users Groups. I had been asked to participate with a few talks on MySQL, and I was curious of meeting this for me new organization. I prepared three talks, one introduction to MySQL and two advanced ones, and thus equipped I ventured along the immense corridors of the Mandalay Bay convention center.

The conference started on Monday, but the convention center had plenty of activity on Sunday as well. Part of the action, and a big surprise for me, is that the board of directors of the Independent Oracle Users Group (IOUG) wanted to meet me, and not just informally in front of a coffee cup, but in one of the board rooms, where I was seated at the head of a long conference table and asked to talk to them about MySQL and its community.

Boy! That was quite an experience. That meeting was very pleasant and informative. I learned that the IOUG is very well organized, with national and regional groups, publications, benefits for members, several conferences, and much more that I don't feel qualify to convey in full.

The process of mutual learning called for a presentation of MySQL and its community, which looks comparatively very much scattered and hard to fit under a single umbrella. Nonetheless, we managed to explain the relative positions, and I was impressed by the high relevance given to community in this organization, independently from Oracle, the company. Also very relevant to me is the attitude of the IOUG members, who are very much technically oriented, and thus quite similar to many MySQL users, who like a direct involvement with their tools.

There was not room for final decisions, but we ended the meeting with the understanding that it makes sense for both communities to explore each other and find out how they can eventually interact in common activity, such as group meetings and conferences. The root of the IOUG interest in MySQL is not only in the Sun acquisition by Oracle, but also in the results of a recent survey among their 20,000 members, where 44% of them say that in addition to historical Oracle products, they also use MySQL. Of course this fact calls for a desire of knowing MySQL users and exchanging notes.

Therefore, this is my first pass. I am letting the MySQL community know that the IOUG is willing to know more on MySQL and the MySQL community, and is eager to facilitate the introduction of MySQL groups among its ranks, in the ways that will be mutually determined by the interested parties. Therefore, MySQL users, if you know someone who is a member of the IOUG, you may start getting acquainted and exploring the possibilities offered by this mature institution, and explore in which ways the two sets may overlap.

I am not suggesting any rushed move from either side. Some preliminary courtship and information gathering must precede more serious commitments. But both sides can start thinking about the advantages that one group's exposure to the other can bring along. There is business to be done on both sides of the ditch, as many Oracle users are also MySQL users. There is going to be need for training, consulting, conference talks, integration, migration, and much more may come to mind after some pondering.

For the Oracle community, being in contact with MySQL users may be a refreshing and enlightening experience, since MySQL users are traditionally well versed in Web related issues, and can teach one trick or two to users whose experience is delimited by the walls of corporate rules. On the other hand, the MySQL community can have a similar epiphany by comparing experiences with their Oracle counterpart. I did that for the four days of the conference, and I must say that the questions that I got from this particular audience were quite revealing and useful.

After meeting the IOUG, I managed to meet another board of directors, this time it was the Oracle Development Tools Users Group (ODTUG), a group of very skilled people, who produce high level training sessions that are always sold out and a conference that gathers the best experts on Oracle development tools. The ODTUG is interested in the MySQL community for the same reasons that raises the IOUG attention. But their interest is somehow more pressing, because the main conference, Kaleidoscope, is quickly approaching. Therefore, they wanted to get in touch with some MySQL community people immediately, in order to include some MySQL contents in their conference. The conference is in Washington, and I was going back to Europe, since the volcanic ashes, by the time of my scheduled return trip, weren't a threat anymore. Therefore I gladly absolved my task by involving two super heroes of the MySQL community, who have recently been awarded the title of Oracle ACE Director: Ronald Bradford and Sheeri Cabral. Having left the matter in their capable hands, it wasn't long before they came up with a full emergency schedule for the conference, with an understanding for an integrated and more thoroughly planned schedule for next year. You can see the rest in The MySQL community impacting the Oracle community.

Finally, I would like to spend a few words to thank my hosts at the IOUG conference for their hospitality, for the excellent organization shown, and for providing some fun among all the business, which this picture can describe better than any words.

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