Friday, December 10, 2010

Oracle vs. Apache Software Foundation: Absence of Malice (Take 2)

The resignation of the Apache Software Foundation (ASF) from the Executive Committee of the Java Community Process (JCP) is giving me a strong feeling of Déjà vu. Oh wait, I know why that is. It is bringing up the same feelings I had when I wrote this earlier blog post about the Oracle lawsuit against Google.

The same scene from the movie Absence of Malice still comes to mind for me. It perfectly captures my sentiments regarding the ASF's resignation from the JCP Executive Committee. The segment I am referring to starts at the 6:16 mark of this YouTube Video.
"Everyone in the room is smart, everybody is just doing their job, and Oracle's reputation as the steward of Java is dead. Who do I see about that?"
The response in the movie pretty much sums up where we are now:
"Ain't nobody to see. I wish there was. You're excused now sir."
My problem is that I don't want to be excused. As one of a select group of Java Champions, I want to stick around. However, I am finding it increasingly difficult to support Oracle as the new steward of Java. In fact, I can state without reservations that I do *NOT* support Oracle's recent actions that led to the ASF's complete withdrawal from the JCP.

My quandary now is what to do about that. Is it better to continue on as a Java Champion and be engaged with Oracle about my concerns with their stewardship of Java? Or is it time to submit my own resignation from the Java Champions community? I can say one thing publicly. The private discussions amongst my fellow Java Champions and our Oracle liaisons brings another movie to mind, Twelve Angry Men. Just like the scenes in that jury deliberation room, there has been a lot of unpleasant discourse about what is happening amongst us in private. I'm at the point that I feel like this one juror does at the 1 minute mark in the movie trailer for Twelve Angry Men.

I doubt that anything can be done to persuade Oracle to change course at this point. I only know that doing nothing about it is not an option for me personally. I am going to ask my fellow Java Champions to join me in endorsing a public statement in support of the ASF's recent decision to withdraw from the JCP (and denouncing the JCP decision not to honor the licensing commitments made to the ASF). If I am unable to get a critical mass of my fellow Java Champions to do so, then it may well be time for me to excuse myself. I hope it doesn't come to that though.

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Most Amazing Thing To Me

Some people would say it is pretty amazing all the volunteer community work I managed to do over the years with Java User Groups (JUG), Google Technology User Groups (GTUG), and Community Leadership Summits while still holding down a full time job as a web developer in Silicon Valley. The most amazing thing to me is that I will start getting paid to do community work as part of the Google Developer Relations Team on December 13, 2010. Or as Steve Martin would say, "the most amazing thing to me is ... I ... get ... paid ... for doing ... this."

I have the dot com bubble burst to thank for getting me started in my developer community efforts. When I escaped the imploding Silicon Valley startup world for a safe haven at VeriSign in 2002, I started the Silicon Valley Web JUG in early 2003 to scratch my own itch simply because I missed hanging out with other Java developers. I had no idea it would lead to me being part of a Global Community of JUG Leaders or that I would be the one creating our JUG Community Map or that I would eventually be selected by my peers to be a Java Champion. Of course, none of that would have happened without the support of Aaron Houston during his tenure supporting the JUGs at Sun or without Kevin Nilson coming on board as my JUG Co-Leader when I was on the verge of volunteer burn out.

I have Chris Schalk to thank for prodding Kevin and me to start the Silicon Valley GTUG. When we held our first GTUG meeting in January of 2008, we had no idea that three years later ours would be the longest running GTUG with 2400+ members. It has been wonderful to see the explosive growth recently in the number of local GTUGs all over the world. Stephanie Liu has done an amazing job supporting the GTUGs over the past two years. I am so looking forward to working with her to keep the GTUG momentum going strong.

Finally, I have Jono Bacon to thank for organizing the first Community Leadership Summit (CLS) in the summer of 2009 and Marsee Henon for putting the bug in my ear to organize the first CLS West in January of 2010. It was my involvement in the main CLS and subsequently in CLS West that made me realize it was time to make the move from software development to working with developer communities for my day job. If you get a natural high from hanging out with other community leaders like I do, then come party with me at our second annual CLS West gathering on January 15th, 2011.

That's All Folks!