The newly formed "independent" Oracle Application User Group (OAUG) held its first conference without Oracle support in Sydney this week and attendees were gleefully saying they are now "free from the vendor's marketing message".
Nearly 300 participants were at the event despite the economic downturn which has made it tough for end users to go off-site for a three-day conference.
OAUG Australia director Jeannie Dobney said changes had to be made to the conference without support from the Oracle ,but overall participants are pleased with the new independent format.
"Oracle was taking advantage of this event and using it to demonstrate products; users were strongly opposed to this, they want to be free of Oracle's marketing message," Dobney explained.
Until early this year, the OAUG conference was staged with Oracle support with the vendor providing speakers and support for the various training tracks and providing up to 50 Oracle application engineers, but it ended over a dispute about "who controls the message", the user group said.
Dobney said the hottest topic at the conference was implementation of Oracle's new Web-based 11i suite and user's were keen to hear from early adopters.
She said it is a product that has changed considerably and as many attendees are looking to up, they are interested to hear about any teething problems.
However, there was still some bitterness from users not so keen to upgrade after spending vast amounts of money readying themselves for Y2K compliance by moving to Oracle 10.7.
Mpower Systems senior IT consultant Leigh Carpenter said some users felt an upgrade to release 11 was unjustifiable.
"The problem is that the support lifetime of 10.7 is coming to an end and no one can afford to have business-critical functions unsupported by the software vendor," Carpenter said.
In response to business user demand, Oracle has just announced it is extending the lifetime of its legacy suite of enterprise resource planning applications.
The company is extending 10.7 until June 2003, six months longer than it had originally planned, and the move has been applauded by OAUG.
The user group is currently in talks with Oracle regarding its next global conference and the level of support to be provided by the vendor, but OAUG said it wants to maintain its independence.
However, Oracle's chief marketing officer, Mark Jarvis, said the company supports joint conferences with OAUG because it "benefits Oracle users".