JBoss World: Roundtable and Hackathon

05 October 2007

community events java jbossorg opensource

Earlier this week, Katie Poplin sent out the notifications to people who submitted presentation proposals for JBoss World 2008. The official schedule will be posted later, but I'm happy to say that my proposal for a JBoss.org round-table discussion about running open-source projects was accepted.

I'll be drafting some core developers, external contributors and users of JBoss projects to discuss the various aspects of OSS projects. We'll compare the differences between projects that have community origins to those with corporate origins. We'll look into the different management styles of both communities and projects. We'll get some feedback from users and contributors, to provide a different perspective. It should be interesting.

Additionally, JBoss.org will be sponsoring a hackathon. This will provide a place for developers who seldom (if ever) meet in person to get together and write some code. Hackathons are a great way to learn a lot in a short amount of time or to knock out a major feature or improvement on a project. We'll be publishing more information about this soon, along with a wiki page in case anyone would like to coordinate their activities.

Itchy and Scratchy

23 September 2007

community opensource

Over in the LinkedIn Answers sections, on blogs, or in dimly lit conference rooms, I've heard a question repeated a few times.

What open-source project should I contribute to? How do you find a good one?

Normally, the supposed motivation for finding a project in the first place, the reason for this quest, is to increase one's skills (and employable worth), to give back, and to be wholly satisfied as a useful member of society. I and others have responded giving a logical laundry list of axes to be considered while attempting to answer that question.

Fresh contributors to open-source see no immediate financial benefit from their efforts. They're basically doing charity work. Altruism. Love.

Picking a project using a multi-dimensional matrix of variables and personal weights starts to feel like picking your favorite child, based upon the tidiness of their room, their popularity at school, and the odor of their feet.

But the seminal works (I'm assuming there are some agreed-open seminal works so I don't have to list references) always fall back to "scratching an itch" as the fountain of open-source motivation.

Scratching an itch. Your own itch. That's not altruistic. That's not love. That's not even a choice.

It itches. Scratch it.

You don't pick an open-source project. In Soviet Russia, open-source project picks you.

Throw that multi-dimensional matrix out the window. Stop asking people which project you should deign worthy of your love and affection. Just ask yourself one question:

What project that you already use pisses you off the most?

There you go. That's your answer.

If you pick some project you don't use, you're not "giving back," you're simply "giving." And then the whole equation of self-motivation skews, and those bastards not showing enough gratitude for your "gift" starts to really get on your nerves.

If you're scratching your own itch, you don't get upset when someone else forgets to say "thank you."

Seams to be a Good Day

20 September 2007

community groovy java jbossorg opensource

A couple of JBoss-related announcements today...

Picture 8.png First, if you're wanting to meet some of the JBoss guys out in the Real World, we've mashed-up Google Calendar over at our Community Calendar Page. Currently it includes some dates to meet the Drools guys in Orlando, Romania and Sao Paulo, some Hibernate guys in Atlanta, Dublin and London, and the Value2 tour across North America.

Additionally, Norm Richards has announced Seam 2.0.0-CR1. If you've been waiting to jump on the Seam 2.x bandwagon, this is a really good time to check it out. Being a candidate-release, this could quite possibly be The Real Thing. If while digging around, you find a show-stopper of a bug, let us know in the forums or via JIRA.

JBoss.org Podcast with Gavin King of Seam

18 September 2007

community groovy java jbossorg opensource podcasting

Back at JavaOne, the team and I chased down Gavin and made him speak on Seam, Web Beans (JSR-299), Groovy, Grails, and two-wheeled forms of transportation.

We've also included a transcript, since both Gavin and Mark have those funny accents.

JBoss World 2008 CFP

06 September 2007

community events java jboss opensource

presentation-boy.gifThe 2008 JBoss World conference has been announced as happening in Orlando during February 13-15. That's Valentine's Day. Bring your sweetie south, and thaw out with some hot Java in the sun.

Want to be a superstar and get a free pass to the conference? Of course you do!

Just submit a presentation. If you're selected, you get a conference badge, some free meals, and the glory of the community.

You know you want to.

Government Handouts

21 August 2007

community history north-carolina technology yard

usda.png If you Google around enough, with diligence and creativity in your search terms, plus a dash of willingness to check out page 12 of the results, you just might find some value provided by your government.

For example, I've been trying to spruce up the overgrown, dreary and downright treacherous shrubs, bushes and vines littering my yard. Using the pick-axe to uproot shrubbery is fun and easy, sure, but then there's a gaping hole, a void, a cavity of hope waiting to be filled. Plant guidebooks seem to either be jinormous compendiums of every plant, fungus or moss known in existence, or else they trot out the same few dozen marigolds, impatiens and dogwoods.

Designing a garden around the house requires a knowledge of the space, sunlight, water, drainage and soil. Without an eye towards color, blooming and size, the results may possibly be healthy, but boring and mundane.

I know my yard. This area is sunny. That area is shady. The dogs poop in that corner. And in that other one, too. This bed doesn't get much rain.

Knowing my constraints, now I must fill the emptiness. With color. That blooms at the appropriate time. Joy! Even more constraints.

Enter the USDA. Established in 1839 as the Agriculture Division, it's been collecting data ever since.

Their soldiers on the ground, in the fields and forests, steadfastly recording the plants they witness everywhere, have compiled a database of over 89,000 plants seen in the United States. While a nice online search form is available, results can be delivered not only in HTML, but also as slightly-ugly yet still useful comma-separated values.

The data includes what you'd expect, including the entire chain of Latin words to precisely describe the plant, along with its common name, of course. The data also includes, for some of the plants, information that is immediately useful to someone attempting to populate his yard. Commercial availability, US nativity and invasive status, the season and color of bloom. All categorized by the states in which the plants can be found.

Download the 17mb CSV results from a rather large query, slice, load into a database, swizzle and serve over ice.

Living in North Carolina and finding a purple flower that blooms in the spring for my partial-shade bed just got a whole lot simpler.

Trip Report: JavaOne 2007

15 May 2007

community day-job events java jboss jbossorg social

I got back from my first ever JavaOne, and I'd have to say it was a success.

First the obligatory "look how cool I am" section...

Name dropping


Drank too much with Hani of the BileBlog. Congratulated Cameron John Purdy at the Tangosol party. Finally met Phil Dodds and Brett Porter, from DevZuz. Dan Diephouse and Paul R. Brown ("Yes, we're the XFire guys") had candy at their booth. Jason Hunter handed me an invite to the Google party, where I finally met Crazy Bob Lee (one of the damn nicest people ever). There I chatted with Ola Bini who is a man who makes me feel short. Re-met Jon Tirsen after a 3-year hiatus (the first hausparty in Amsterdam). Paul Hammant expounded on Mingle and other things over bowls of curry. Chatted with Matt Quail and Pete Moore of Cenqua a bit while absconding with Google t-shirts. Chatted with Matthew Porter of Contegix, the hosting providers of the Codehaus. Stood around (in my JBoss shirt) in front of the IBM booth chatting with Lauren Cooney. Met Guillaume LaForge and Graeme Rocher finally. Put some faces with the Exadel guys I'd worked with during the opensourcing of their products. Greg Wilkins reminded me the Codehaus SSL cert was expired (fixed now). Geert Bevin was as enthusiastic as ever at the TerraCotta booth. Ran into Jeremy Boynes in the lobby of the W on my way out of town. Jason van Zyl wandered the streets of San Francisco with me in search of a 7-11 and an ATM. Alex Vasseur dropped by the JBoss party to discuss event stream processing. James Strachan and Rob Davis were everywhere, of course.


Did some podcast recording with Tom Baeyens, Emmanuel Bernard, Bill Burke and Gavin King. Chatted with Thomas Diesler, Michael Yuan, Matt Quinlan, and Sacha Labourey. Enjoyed dinner with James Cobb, Mark Newton and Bela Ban. Damon Sicore, my predecessor, dropped by the JBoss party. Met innumerable coworkers whos names all fail me during my stints in or near the JBoss booth.

The fabulous Cindy Scheneck, Rebecca Goldstein and Chantal Yang arranged the booth, the party, the printing of the t-shirts and everything else that made it all awesome. Mad props to that trio, Burr Sutter, and the gaggle of sales-engineers who did an awesome job with the attendees.


With the large investment announced by Interface21, a lot of side-line analysis of business models was happening. Exactly where is the sweet spot of professional opensource? Is it training? Certifying a stack that you control? Supporting a stack that you don't? Purely professional services?

At the booth, technical demos seemed well received. A large screen and a good sound-system were definitely a wise investment. Every demo drew a large crowd around the booth. A lucky few got to see Gavin debug a demo live on stage. Seam is definitely hot this year.

Luckier still are those who "received" a "free" copy of Michael Yuan's book about Seam. Did I mention Seam is apparently hot?

We all need to realize that parties can occur on nights other than Wednesday. Luckily the JBoss->Eclipse->Google triathlon worked out, but many parties were concurrently scheduled.

I heard a lot of positive feedback from people I met about liking what we're doing at JBoss.org. They like the new look and layout. When it's common for people to throw around criticism and negativity, it's really nice to hear kind words. Sure, we've still got a long way to go, I'll readily admit, but I think we're doing a-okay.

In general, conferences like these are somewhat educational, definition inspirational, and help cement human-to-human relationships. While we all might be competitors, we're not enemies. In the world of opensource, we share the same community, so we all might as well get along and order another round of beers. Conferences demonstrate these cross-cutting commonalities that crosses P statements.

It'd be Groovy to Meet

04 May 2007

community events groovy java

groovy.png The fantastically French Guillaume LaForge pinged me about the Groovy Meetup on Monday, in San Francisco.

It's limited registration, so you best being heading over to the sign-up page.

I assume they'll regale us with stories of that crappy hand-rolled parser that one of the founders insisted upon.

What a loon.

JBoss at JavaOne 2007

02 May 2007

community events java jboss jbossorg traveling

Picture 5.png JavaOne is next week. Would you believe this is the first JavaOne I'll ever have attended?

Some of my colleagues have put together a page detailing JBoss's participation at the conference.

Speakers from JBoss include Gavin King and Emmanuel Bernard, Michael Yuan, Tom Baeyens and many others.

I'll be hanging out at Booth #1418 along with James and Mark from my team. We'll also be wandering the halls talking to anyone who looks like they need some opensource Java love.

Wednesday night, there's going to be a party at the Metreon. You'll need to go register.

Launch at Lunch

24 April 2007

community java jbossorg opensource

While you sit down to enjoy that turkey or tofurkey sandwich at your desk, perhaps you could surf over to JBoss.ORG and marvel at the new design, organization and layout.

The team that pulled this together includes Adam Warski, Tomek Szymanski, Rysiek Kozmik, Przemek Dej, Pawel Wrzeszcz, Mark Newton, James Cobb and Meriah Garrett. Assists from the guys on the Portal team, including the estimable Julien Viet. Last minute assists from Eric Brown and Tom Benninger were also crucial. The whole process was kicked off by my predecessor Damon Sicore. Picture 2.png

The guys in Poland developed their fingers down to nubs, particularly crunching out much-needed code towards the end (releases never go smoothly, of course). Mark created the voice and narrative that guides you through the site. James worried over every image, border, font, pixel-perfect placement and navigation flow late into many nights. Plus, an appropriate amount of snark was tossed around with aplomb.

I'm extremely proud of the team for pulling it all together and getting it out the door.

But the journey is not over. Not at all.

While this may seem like a big-bang release, it is actually the start of an iterative phase with shorter release cycles to promote continuous improvement.

With this personality adjustment also comes the freer hand provided by the new enterprise product vs community product strategy. The commercial side of the house will cherry-pick and refine versions from the "pure" opensource community releases of the projects. We'll keep adding features and functionality, mashing up fun web2.0 things, and generally making JBoss.ORG a robust community for opensource projects.

The future starts now.