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First Community Meeting

July 16, 2003





Editor's Note: java.net is itself a java.net community. We are in the process of organizing and figuring out how to best be a community. During this year's JavaOne conference, java.net's first community meeting was held. Here are the unedited notes of one of the Sun employees that helped steer this project before launch.

Agenda:

  • Introductions by java.net Partner Manager, Ken Oesterich
  • Remarks by James Gosling
  • Remarks by java.net Community Manager, JBob Bobowitz
  • Remarks by java.net Editor in Chief, Daniel Steinberg
  • Remarks by java.net Visioneer Dick Gabriel
  • Partner Testimonials
  • Community Q&A

The Program

Gosling: Started blogging a couple of months ago and has donated some projects to java.net. JavaOne makes him feel like Scrat from Ice Age, just LOOK at what everybody is doing with Java! Java games are really cool! Check out the APIs, etc. Java.net is meant to be really informal (not like JCP). It's just FUN. It's about COMMUNITY. Introduce JBob!

JBob: Has been working full time on java.net for about one month. Tremendous response and overwhelming number of contributions. Flooded inbox with ideas for projects. Done in the right spirit, the spirit of collaboration. The more brain cells that work on a project, the better. Java Community is self-organizing. Could be organized around an interest like Gaming, or an industry like Insurance, or even a localized interest as in a Java User Group. Where can you go to find everything that's happening in Java? JBob wants to bring the community together, with "tribes" maintaining separate identities but making it easier to recognize affinities. Java.net is a feature-rich environment, including CollabNet hosting, also Blogs, Wikis & RSS. Sun wanted to make a place where people could move in and stay awhile. Java User Groups are joining in droves. If collaboration makes Java strong, then fostering collaboration is a good idea. Sun realized that it needed a way to handle existing communities that are already very large (with their own identity, their own needs)? Federation and support for two-way RSS allows these types of participants to pick up services and to allow content hooks to flow in to java.net as needed and still remain autonomous. The community will tell us how we did with the design.

Who else is working on java.net? Sun is sponsoring, donating some code and hosting the "Best Of The Week" page, but CollabNet is providing all the SourceCast and CVS infrastructure and O'Reilly is providing editorial services and content and hosting of the blogs, Wikis and RSS feeds. There are tee-shirts for everyone (at the end of the meeting)! Who is wanting to join? Research communities, large industry groups who are looking for a place to code, Industry associations like (SIIA) for example. There is a broad range of participation. We specifically targeted some large participants and JUGs with memberships in the 1000s, including the largest 25. We are building categories and subcommunities to organize the city that we hope java.net will become. You'll have a higher likelihood at java.net of finding somebody who has solved the problem you're trying to solve, without using just a search engine as your primary tool. Introduce Daniel Steinberg.

Daniel: He's the Editor-In-Chief and yet doesn't know what's on the site today! It's meant to be a dynamic site! Likes the fact that we have unedited content on the site, no screening by Sun or any other entity. There are Terms of Participation which set out how we expect people to behave. Daniel loves that the Brazilian JUG (with 6000 members) will be bringing a more global perspective. Happy to talk to anyone about contributing to the site, just contact him: . Back to JBob.

JBob: Really liking the globalization! The site never goes to sleep! Real time, around the clock. JBob sees the Community evolving ... plans to run forums, projects about the site itself. Hopes to find leaders within the community. Introduce Chris Cheline (owns infrastructure/implementation) and Ken Lee (marketer specially assigned to java.net). Java-net is the name of the "Community Project," where you can talk about features of the site you'd like to see. Introduce Dick.

Dick: Model we had for java.net is like a great city where people come and go, where there is a literature, shared projects, etc. Bill Joy said, "Innovation Happens Elsewhere" and Sun is not the only, certainly not the only, locus of good ideas. Once you have a great city, you have people with their own agendas showing up. Sponsorship of the site is by a couple of companies, so we wanted the communities to take over governance. There are three documents you can read on the site: a) Vision Paper that describes java.net as a great city, b) Discussion of Guiding Principles (which Dick read aloud) and c) Governance. Initial roles are: JBob is the "Community Manager." He helps set up projects and makes decisions about resource allocations. There is a "Fairness Board" to resolve disputes. "Advisory Board" to make suggestions. There will be evolution over time to fit the needs of the Community.

JBob: The Fairness Board will initially consist of three seats: Ron Goldman, Ken Arnold, member from Oracle. Election cycle is: each non-Sun seat voted on yearly, one in April and one in October to provide some overlap. Community can figure out how to select these two people. JBob will lead a discussion on the Java-net project about how to make that selection. It's a complicated issue (multiple levels of participation in Federation, companies, individuals). Advisory Board will have a higher number of members. Right now there are four: Dick Gabriel, Ingrid Vandenhoogen, Tim O'Reilly, and Jack Sirtis, CEO of SwingTide and active in the XML community. Will add people in over time with a likely upper limit of 10 people.

Dana Cuffman, CEO of Object Ventures: Community Manager Bill Loftus. "Patterncentral.com" web site launched last month with high quality pattern repository to take patterns from academic to real. RSS already set up (on CollabNet) and seeing cross-traffic. My site is getting "hammered" story. It's not about trying to divert members. It's trying to aggregate, period.

Ann Miller, Partner Marketing Director, Thorsten of Software AG: Thought it was a great opportunity because of their existing efforts in XML developer community. Started a weblog about touchpoints between Java & XML technologies.

Brian Behlendorf, CTO of CollabNet. Long involvement with Sun on open source, and have been working for a long time to get deeper Java adoption in the open source community. Synchronicity between CollabNet, O'Reilly, and Sun is really good.

Dale Dougherty, O'Reilly, working on content. Mention of Javapedia to define some of the basic terms in Java, etc. Blogs are rolling in. CollabNet is doing Code Management and O'Reilly is doing Content Management. Developing content as a community asset.

Community Q&A

Q: If I'm a developer with a cool idea for a project, my first idea would be to go to SourceForge for CVS and then to Yahoo for mail. Why should I mess with Sun?

A: There may already be a similar project and you can assemble an impressive team. It's an easy process to sign up. Big differentiator between us and SourceForge is that we are kind of like "SourceForge meets Yahoo Groups." You can network with us. It's not just a repository, but you don't NEED to leave SourceForge to participate on java.net. You can take advantage of Federation and provide an RSS feed. Java.net is a huge aggregation site for all things Java; we'll take you however you decide to show up.

Q: Questioner skeptical because typically, open source starts small and SourceForge has lots of gratuitous projects. If Sun is throwing resources, won't you waste resources on stuff that has no value?

A: Community will decide. Ron: Not competing with SourceForge. You can use Wiki or Discussion Forums on java.net and still use SourceForge. We are trying to give you "one stop shopping" including things SourceForge doesn't have, like a newspaper to highlight great projects and get you more exposure. Really, we want to facilitate collaboration wherever it happens. Daniel: Wants to create a place for "All Things Java." Maybe you'll find your tools elsewhere, but you want us to highlight your project. JBob: We don't necessarily want to host all bits, only to make it possible for people to find each other.

Q: Will there be a reputation part of the site as is on eBay or Slashdot?

A: Dick: we talked to lots of folks who do Social Interaction software when setting up the site. Intend to add reputation, but wanted Community to help us make that design. Happy to take your input. So far we've talked to SocialText and BlueOx.

Q: Duncan: Again on Reputation. Weblogging communities already asking whether it will be censored.

A: Daniel: Having a company like Sun just allow us to push the site is significant. Lots of blogging without any censorship today. Appreciate how Sun is out of its comfort zone and how courageous they are being. Sun really wants this to work.

Q: If I decide to host my code on java.net, do people have to join or click through anything to get my code?

A: Anyone can have read access, but you have to click-though on warranty disclaimer to download code. SourceForge doesn't have this because they don't have much to lose if somebody misunderstands their intent, but Sun needs to be very clear.

Q: People looking for Java solutions need to learn from Sun's marketing people. Need to learn about solutions available. Need information about value to this type of solution.

A: Dick: Javapedia includes much information in a bulletin-board-type listing (Sort of a "Craig's List" for Java?) Ron: We're hoping to see Frameworks, Sample Code, Binaries, etc. Anyone developing in one specific area of Java can find what they need, quickly. JBob: Some participants are: Academics, SIIA, Business Schools, lots of interesting areas of discussion. Technology is only as interesting as it is useful. Lots of folks working on the non-coding parts of java.net.

Q: What support will java.net provide for international developers? What languages will you support?

A: JBob: We know that this is a huge need and it's on the roadmap, but we need the community to help out (as has happened at OpenOffice.org).

Q: Duncan asked about Sun's Reputation. Dick Gabriel is pointing at his own personal web site. How does he know when he sits down that he's about to write a good poem? It's up to Sun to get this right!

Danese Cooper prominent and forthright Open Source advocate has for many years been in vocal support of compatible Open Source Java.
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