I am in California.
This is the second time that I have been in this state.
The first time was over fifteen years ago. And I was here to see how a software company was planning on translating their product from a character based program that ran from a command line in either DOS or _nix - to a windows program.
They were going to try to use a program to translate a BASIC language system to Visual Basic. But the program required a person to make sure that the individual programs were written according to a set of programming standards.
They almost never were - so they ended up doing a substantial rewrite and forced those that had written customizations to write them all over again.
This time, I get to attend the 10th anniversary ApacheCon.
Over the past ten years, the Apache foundation has grown from a small group of people who forked the code from the NCSA web server - to an international group of programmers and users who develop and use a growing set of software projects (currently more than 60 and growing).
About three years ago, my day job gave me the opportunity to develop a substantial new system that would eventually replace a number of scattered information systems that spanned spreadsheets and flat file databases. It would also integrate that information with the company's accounting system.
In trying to figure out the best platform for developing this new system I stumbled onto WebSphere community edition (WASCE) and through it - Apache Geronimo.
I was hooked. Here was an environment to develop for that was scalable, standards based, open source, fast, ... everything I could hope for.
Through Geronimo - I found a number of other projects that are integrated by Geronimo. And each of them was the same - open communities that seek feedback and encourage participation.
I do not know how many people are reading this. Or how many of you are involved in software development. But it is an amazing thing to find people spread out across the whole world who are passionate enough to give away their time and energy developing and/or supporting software.
Last time in California turned out to be a moderately interesting waste of time.
This time, nothing has really started yet - and I am already excited to get to be a part of something so bold and (at least in my experience) unique.
This is, in a word...