In light of the official Oracle acquisition of Sun, I dug out a presentation video I realize I never officially shared with either the MySQL or the Oracle community. It’s the presentation I did at the 2008 Oracle Open World conference called, “So, you want to be an Oracle ACE?” and is a good resource for anyone who wants to contribute to anything — not just Oracle or MySQL, though certainly it’s based on my experiences with contributing to MySQL.
Oracle has lots of resources for the community. While I have joked about Oracle calling its conference “Open World”, I have also experience it, and the Oracle community first-hand and second-hand — through professional contacts such as my colleagues at Pythian who work on Oracle databases, and also through personal contacts such as my mother who has been to a few Oracle conferences herself.
Like MySQL, Oracle has recognized community contributors. However, Oracle offers more tangible benefits than a photo opportunity and a physical award. Oracle has the Oracle ACE program, with 2 levels: Oracle ACE and Oracle ACE director.
An Oracle ACE is similar to the MySQL Community award, and is a way of thanking community members for their contributions. An Oracle ACE director, on the other hand, has no official counterpart in the MySQL world (yet). An Oracle ACE director has the responsibilities and benefits of being a liasion between the Oracle community and companies that develop Oracle applications (including Oracle itself). The MySQL ecosystem already has some of this in place unofficially — MySQL employees and employees of MySQL-related products reach out to people like me all the time to solicit feedback.
After I won the MySQL Community award for a second time, Dan Norris, an Oracle ACE Director, got in contact with me and asked how the Oracle community could get more contributors, like the MySQL community has. So we devised this presentation to show people how to do it. It was a presentation that was very highly voted on by community members and thus was accepted. Perhaps in the future, MySQL will have a few slots for talks that are chosen by the whole community, instead of a small review committee!