Does Australia hate MySQL?

Australia apparently denied short-term visas to MySQL employees, but it sure hasn't stopped MySQL's progress in the country.

Matt Asay Contributing Writer
Matt Asay is a veteran technology columnist who has written for CNET, ReadWrite, and other tech media. Asay has also held a variety of executive roles with leading mobile and big data software companies.
Matt Asay
2 min read

In the interest of stirring the "Australia-hates-MySQL tempest in a teapot" just a little more, I thought I'd throw in my $.02 before the US dollar is devalued again, making it worth $.01.

For those who haven't been following the news, Kaj Arno, MySQL's vice president of Community, wrote:

Several Sun Microsystems Inc employees, especially related to the Database Group, have been denied short stay business visas to Australia, over the last few months, as they have been seen to be competing with local Australian businesses unfairly.

The first part would be easy to pass off, but the second part ("seen to be competing with local Australian businesses unfairly") is more incendiary.

It's also pure conjecture. As Arno admits in the comments, an IRC chat with an unnamed Australian prompted his declaration that Australia was barring MySQLers from visiting the country due to "unfair competition." The Aussie in question apparently indicated that he had complained to the Australian government about MySQL's local business practices (which seem to consist of such nefarious activities as "serving customers" and "making great software").

Arno assumed that this Australian's complaint was the cause of the MySQL (now Sun) employees being denied a visa. He could well be right, as the Australian border security service may have policies of initially denying visas for any company about which it has received complaints.

It is, however, more likely that the MySQLers were denied on other grounds. It will be interesting to hear the outcome, but one thing is clear: whatever Oz's intentions toward Sun employees may be, its arms are outstretched to open source, generally. Some day Australia may welcome Arno and his crew back with open arms, even as their wallets are opening up now.