InfoWorld blogger Sean McCown at Database Underground wrote about a key difference between SQL Server & Oracle:

“The answer is simple… information. MS has built such a strong community and its members are committed to helping each other. There are so many forums out there you just don’t have time to go to them all. And one of the most amazing things I’ve found is that the MSDN forums are actually sharked by MS’s own PSS and dev teams. You just can’t get any better than that. You’ve got both the guys on the support team, and the guys who actually write the code helping you with your problem. You’ve got MVPs out there writing new and exciting books like crazy. They’re really giving up all the secrets on how SQL works, and what you can do with it.

Oracle is still living in the old days where everything is a good ole boys club. This is the world of linux and unix where they started, and it’s a dinosaur, man. You just can’t afford to do business like that anymore. You have to open up your community and start programs to encourage your best people to help and teach.”

Sean’s description of the community around SQL Server and the level of Microsoft employee interaction in the community should sound similar to the community around MySQL. It’s not exactly the same, but similar. I’d like to believe that MSDN became what it is today because Microsoft learned about the importance of community from OSS vendors. However, when something is a good idea, it’s not uncommon for several people/companies to have the same “good idea”.

Stating that Community matters today is as insightful as saying air matters to humans. Yet, it appears the folks at Oracle could learn a thing or two about Community from Microsoft. And they could both learn a thing or two from OSS vendors.