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Several Sun MySQLers have been denied short stay business visas to Australia - yes, Australia - as they attempted to attend a Linux conference in Hobart, Tasmania. According to a blog post from Kaj Arno, vice president in charge of "database community" at Sun Microsystems, several employees - many of whom worked with MySQL - …

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Stop

Discrimination?

Can we assume that the Australian government will apply the same restrictions to *all* companies that make commercially useful products available at no cost, e.g Microsoft (IE, IIS, ASP.Net, etc)?

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Stop

Tsk! Naughty, naughty Australians!

And they (whomsoever 'they' might be) call this the 'free' world.

I hope the (un)civil servants responsible are duly smacked hard and sent to Siberia for the duration of the winter with suspension of income to boot.

Some Oz authority might wish to post here however informally sharing insights into this astoundingly dull decision and give us the opportunity (well, vociferous me anyway) an opportunity to remind them that freedom has cost a great deal (well, that's what the squadies were told).

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Bronze badge

side-by-side

This article goes side-by-side with the article about how Australia's high tech industry is dwindling. With a government intent on destroying the industry through insane legislation and moronic visa decisions, it's not surprising.

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Well, that's typical

Just more proof of the hypocritcal lying bastard criminals who run our country. For years the Australian Federal Government has been whining on and on and on about a 'Global level playing field', the removal of trade barriers, tariffs and subsidies, particularly aimed at China, the EU and everbody's favourite egalitarian capitalist wonderland free-trade zone, 'Merka.

As soon as anyone does anything cheaper (and usually much, much better) than us, GOSH! well, we'll just stop the buggers comin' darn 'ere.

Bloody whinging poms, wops and dagos stealin' our jobs. We's dunt not need no whitfellas done tellin' us blokes 'ow ter' do fings, oi oi oi!

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Joke

re: Australia inquisition.

"But he never expected the Australia inquisition."

lets hope he doesn't have any problems going to Spain.

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Joke

Reverse treatment

I've had lovely treatment in London airports from security screeners accusing me of trying to blow up the aircraft with a packet of unopened chocolate biscuits (try to nut that one out) to then being accused by customs checkpoints of trying to sneak into the country when all flghts were shut down due to weather and all carriers were putting passengers up on hotels for the night. It's high time the reverse happens. The Open Sauce crowd should have been asked if they were smuggling in bees and promptly sent packing with their hives. Both UK and USA entry treatment are rougher than what Ive received processing entry in Oz. But then they flew to the state were everyone married their cousin and had to enter there.

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Immigration Department

My understanding is that you have to fail an IQ test to work for Immigration in this country. They have a track record for moronic decisions which include deporting residents in error, rejecting legitimate entrants but accepting criminals, and generally making a dog’s breakfast of the country.

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Coat

Ummm

Can anyone name an Oz produced RDBMS?

I'm sure there are many locally produced database applications that can be written to any DB manager, but no DB managers as such.

Perhaps the Oz gov. had better ban all non-Oz producers of software from the country, including the software but that may be banned under the US/Oz free trade treaty which in many ways made Oz an associate part of the US without the benefits of full membership.

Has any Ozzie seen my coat? I'm certain I left one behind last time I was there.

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Coat

The Australian Inquisition

But then again, nobody expected the Australian Inquisition...

Mine's the one on the comfy chair.

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Anonymous Coward

Tie me kanger down sport

Australia is great, they have so much resource and so few people, they are set to be paradise, just keep the borders closed :)

You look at any country that opens borders, all of them have been hit really hard in the downturn, and why, well you cannot have a separation between culture and state.

A lot in the UK are cheering each time a big company goes to the wall, and why because we don't make anything from their existence, there is no loyalty, because they are not really run for UK interests.

Our government and especially the NHS is parasitic in nature, symbioses has just been flung out the window, and most in the top echelons of the NHS are not sole UK citizens they have affiliation with other countries, that is why it is all gone tits up :

You cannot have multi-cultures and cohesion they always work against each other. So really the Australians are just being pragmatic, go tell it to the Mawri :)

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what local businesses?

There are no local businesses, atleast no businesses that offer a locally produced database solutions.

Given that the public (civil) service is pretty much in the hands of microsoft, you have to wonder who they are actually protecting.

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Black Helicopters

WTF?

I dunno, I can't help thinking there must be a bit more background to this. I wonder what the exact content of the denial of the business visas was.

It may be they didn't provide the appropriate documentation:

Personal attributes and business background

Your personal attributes and business background must be relevant to your business activities in Australia. You may be asked to provide:

* evidence of educational or professional qualifications

* evidence of current employment and your role during your visit to Australia

* details of previous contacts with Australian business people or organisations

* documentation to show that the company you work for is an actively operating business

Examples: business registration certificate, annual report.

Purpose of visit

You may be asked to provide evidence of why you need to visit Australia on business. Evidence may include:

* a letter of invitation from the host organisation in Australia

* conference registration details

* your employment contract

* a letter from your employer stating the reasons for your visit

* your itinerary with contact details of the business parties involved.

However, unless they're expecting to get paid for the conference (and perhaps they are), I don't know why they just didn't get a standard tourist visa. Why fork out the $100 for a business one?

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Unhappy

Wait a minute,,,

How does a civil servant dealing with short-stay business visa applications know jack anything about Open Source, mySQL, Linux, or anything remotely related to the Cathedral and the Bazaar? And to believe that some anti-mySQL regulation exist in their home affairs department that prohibits visa applications for mySQL-whatever, seems pretty far fetched. (as in black-helicopters-far-fetched)

And unless El Reg can come up with some real proof that the mySQL bit is what resulted in those denied visa applications, I'm calling this article bullshit.

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Simple Solution

Pull the MySQL licence in Australia and lets see RooSQL* take the World by storm.

*(As distributed with CorkHat Linux)

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Stop

No word of a lie...

The first time I visited Aus the passport officer looked at my landing card* and directed me to the quarantine desk. I was greeted with this:

"G'day. Mr Coat, do you have any manure on your footwear?"

"I'm sorry," I replied and not being being in the best of moods after 36 hours of BA hell added: "the travel agent said I only needed a business visa."

No one does a stony glare quite like an official that has just had the piss taken.

*The landing card has a question and tick box that asks if one has been on a farm within the last six months and I was stupid/honest enough to say yes.

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Australian RDBMS

I suppose that Powerflex database kinda counts as a competitor.... Runs on Linux, Unix, Windows... Their website here... http://www.pfxcorp.com/ Their database was AFAIK originally written to be a workalike clone of Dataflex.

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Australian RDBMS

I suppose that Powerflex database kinda counts as an Australian DBMS competitor to MySQL....

Runs on Linux, Unix, Windows... Their website here... http://www.pfxcorp.com/

Their database was AFAIK originally written to be a workalike clone of Dataflex.

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Happy

As nobody else has here goes...

"But he never expected the Australia inquisition.

Nobody expects the Australia Inquisition!

Amongst our weaponry are such diverse elements as fear, surprise, ruthless efficiency, an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope, and nice red uniforms!

I thank you and good night

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Dead Vulture

Bad Journalism

I'm with Billy (above) on this one. The article is only quoting from the blog. There is a lot that is not known. Immigration don't deny entry because someone is an expert in a given bit of software. They deny entry because the person appying fits the profile of a likey visa overstay (aka illegal immigrant) and is deemed likey to try to find work locally. This is why the applications like to know things like the employer's name. There is an undercurrent in the blog that the guys involved are not first world citizens, although they are claimed to be Sun employees. If you are a citizen of: Brunei, Canada, Hong Kong SAR, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea,or the United States of America, you can apply for a (usually instant) on-line business visitors visa.

Legitimatley applying to only attend a conference is not going to be an issue. Open Source or whatever.

In the blog Kaj explictily states "as they have been seen to be competing with local Australian businesses unfairly" but then goes on to reply to a comment "Governments usually don’t share their rationale with foreign citizens. Not even the Australian government. So I don’t have that information." So, actually he made an inflamatory statement that el Reg blithely parroted, which he then denied knowing was true, and in fact had simply made up.

So the story is nothing more than quoting someone's blog. No critical thought, no investigation, no balance. This isn't news. It sure isn't journalism.

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Flame

It is really pathetic...

.. that an article that is based on HEARSAY (from a blog entry - and does that not say it all!!), and without ANY evidence, sparks an Aussie (gov) witchhunt as seen by most of the comments posted thus far.

Sadly this type of behaviour is typical.. and one of the prime reasons the world is such a f'ed up place.

And of course, I should not have expected anything different from the average head-up-ass El Reg reader that will get on the old high horse, or jump on the old soap box, without an single effen shred of evidence. (look at what Trix posted and THINK before opening your traps - very likely the Sun people have not completed their visas correctly, or failed to meet specific visa requirements, a far likelier reason than making it a mySQL issue!!)

Oh.. never mind the coat, it does not fit when I have the old flamethrower strapped to the back.

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Any UK people barred?

If they were, I bet they were sent back in shackles ;-)

Barmy.

I do agree with AC 'tie me kanger down sport', I cheer every time a large multinational withdraws because it makes more room in the upturn for new indiginous companies. I cheer even louder each time an Indian outsourcing company gets barred from World Bank contracts because of the knock-on impact of it invariably will have on farming out yet more work outside our borders.

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Anonymous Coward

Muslim artists get through

I am in Melbourne, and recently worked here with a Muslim artist from Birmingham. Not only does he have a long beard, but he happens to belong to a religion with a poor PR image. He applied for a $25 business visa online, which was granted. When trying to leave the UK he got grilled for 2 hours in Brimingham before he even got on the plane. However, he did into Australia without any problems. The letter of invitation that I got for him from the host organisation helped in this regard.

If he can do it, how hard can it be for a mySQL geek?

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Stop

Like the software but not the developers?

Looking through the blog it appears it might be a case of local suppliers of MySQL services petitioning Aussie immigration to deny MySQL/Sun employees visas: http://bit.ly/9P0b

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This post has been deleted by its author

Australian RDBMS

There's mSQL (note the lack of the 'y'). This does share some history with mySQL, and O'Reilly published a single volume that covered both database engines as they were still so similar. As far as I can recall, mSQL had slightly more restrictive licensing, and withered away.

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Joke

I think there's a dyslexic Oz official....

Official: What's ya purpose of visiting Australia, sir?

Arno: I've come with my Squirrel.

Official:Ya can't bring wild animals in here. Refused!

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Black Helicopters

Had a look at the sponsors?

Nothing to do with the fact that the conference sponsors are IBM and HP?

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@R Callan

Prior to MySQL taking off one database people were using on Linux was mSQL, which was developed by an Australian company. MySQL won out though, as it had a less restrictive license (and this was before it switched to GPL)

The MySQL C API was based on mSQL's API, and MySQL still ships with an "msql2mysql" tool to convert programs from one API to the other.

So that could be considered pretty direct competition.

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Linux

Hey Australia

Who is Bush's poodle now, or should I say sheep dog :)

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xjy
Paris Hilton

Oz expects

Waddya mean - no one expects the Oz inquisition??? I ALWAYS expect it. And the UK one, and the US one. I've told you before how my almost empty tube of toothpaste, my almost empty bottle of shampoo and my less then 1 cl of eyewash were confiscated at Heathrow for an internal EU flight. Haven't any of you noticed how MySQL suspiciously resembles Al-Quaeda?? Capital Q for Chrissake. And USA resembles Usama Bin Laden.

(Paris cos she's a fair dinkum Sheila and not Curly or Blue)

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Weird..

immigration don't generally give you a proper reason why your application failed. So if they did give a reason there's probably a lot more to this then he's making out.

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Reading between the lines

The word on the street here in Oz is that the visa was just rejected because it was put in too late for a business application, not because of any real concerns. If you read the original blog you can see that there doesn't seem to be a lot of firm information about why the visa was rejection - mainly speculation.

I think the Australian immigration system has been pretty screwed over the last few years - but I think this is one case where they're not particularly to blame.

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Anonymous Coward

Oz immigration policies

You only need good references, work qualifications and history, and some industry expertise if you are of European descent, or are coming from a Western country, to be considered for entry to Oz - and even then that's no guarantee. But if you're a non-European refugee from a violent third-world country, with no experience other than participating in riots, gang warfare, street crime and fighting for survival under a military junta, you can enter easily, since Oz gov quite happily lets in some 40,000 such immigrants per year. This is because letting in such people a) increases crime levels, which justify draconian laws and more sweeping police powers; and b) creates a pool of cheap labour to undermine living standards and wage structures, which allows companies to get the cost benefits of outsourcing without the stigma.

Anonymous because anyone who comments on this disparity between Western and third-world immigrants is automatically branded a "racist" and has their life destroyed.

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Stop

Shenanigans

I call Shenanigans:

"I've been in touch with two senior Sun people to fix up meetings with them during the conference and neither of them has had any problem about getting a visa - else I'm sure they would have not committed to meeting me."

"He admitted he had not been denied a visa. He admitted he had used the word "several" when he had meant two. In short, he had jumped the gun and shot his mouth off.

There were various other clarifications too, too many to mention.

This is not the first time that such claims have been made. In 2003, a person who posed as a KDE developer claimed he had been mistreated at Australian immigration when he arrived to attend the LCA which was held in Perth that year.

It turned out to be a troll but the American technology news website Slashdot allowed several posts about it without verifying whether there was any substance to the individual's claims."

http://www.itwire.com/content/view/22638/1154/

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Pirate

Blog updated - Nothing to see here

The original blog has been updated with some clarifications:

http://blogs.mysql.com/kaj/2009/01/12/on-open-source-and-open-competition-in-a-not-so-open-world/

In addition a local news site has this article:

http://www.crikey.com.au/Media-Arts-and-Sports/20090114-The-Internets-Feral-Goldfish-get-it-very-wrong.html

In particular clarifying: "One traveller, based in Germany, already had a valid visa. But in an online chat an Australian MySQL developer scared him off".

Secondly "The other had applied for an online Electronic Travel Authority (ETA). It was rejected with the words: "SHORT TERM BUSINESS ETA APPLICATION WAS NOT APPROVED NO AUTHORITY TO TRAVEL TO AUSTRALIA HELD BY PASSENGER." But ETAs are often rejected. Resubmitting as a "proper" visa application is often successful. Alas, too late for that."

Yes the Australian government often sucks (especially immigration), but not this time.

-Andrew

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