Inaugural JavaLand in Germany
It took trains, planes, and automobiles to get there. I had heard Germany ran some great conferences, but JavaLand was promised to be outstanding. Kevin already did an interview with one of the organizers, Markus Eisele, about why JavaLand is different. (https://weblogs.java.net/blog/editor/archive/2014/03/01/java-conferences-id-attend-if-i-had-several-free-months-wander-europe-part-2-javaland) But, I got to see first-hand if they deliver.
The main conference took place on 25th and 26th of March in Bruehl, Germany, located near Cologne. The conference claimed to be THE event created by the Java community for the Java community. But what they meant by that became much clearer immediately upon arrival. The German JUG umbrella iJUG e.V. (http://www.ijug.eu/en/ijug-verbund/associations-structure.html) was invited by the organizers to contribute in many different ways.
Coming in from a lengthy flight always makes me appreciate getting to the hotel. But anything I typically expected was turned upside down. The venue is a conference center inside a theme park with two theme hotels attached (Africa/Chinese). Everything was exclusively available for the attendees during the two days, and the limited number of rooms let me run into the first speakers and attendees before I'd finished checking in. The conference center inside the main park was the heart of everything. An extensive community hall gave plenty of room for things like hackergarden, nighthacking or adopt-a-jsr sessions. Session rooms were mainly on the first level. with the 4D theater ("Schauspielhaus") and the real theater ("Wintergarten") were used as bigger session rooms.
The Schedule and Speakers
The schedule contained 65 sessions split over different tracks. It was 95% German-speaking, but offered at least one English-speaking slot for every time of the day. Some of the speakers were internationally known names from Red Hat, Oracle and others. Even if the content was amazing, it was difficult for non-native Germans to follow along with all of it. No recordings of the sessions this year, so all we have is the (overwhelmingly positive) feedback from the attendees and speakers.
Java 8 Launch Event
At the evening of the 25th, Oracle hosted the official Java 8 launch with Mark Reinhold, Brian Goetz and others. The broadcast made it all the way across the pond to Germany and was streamed live to more than 300 interested attendees via Stephen Chin's nighthacking.com website. The special value add-on was the local panel with Gerrit Grunwald, Paul Backer, Simon Maple, David Blevins and Simon Ritter. They took the opportunity to comment on the stream, while telling the attendees about their own thoughts and experiences. The complete recording is available at http://nighthacking.com/java-8-launch-party-at-javaland/
Feeling and Mood
The Community Hall was amazing, plenty of room, tables and chairs, network, powerlines for you to hack, code, work or just hang out with friends. And, can I just mention that the food was AMAZING? The best I've had at any conference, no contest. It was also interesting to see the community hall still full of people once the different rides opened in the evening. There always was an interesting crowd to talk to, and everybody seemed to feel very comfortable.
I'll leave you with the impressions from my favorite roller coaster, Black Mamba:
Thanks for having me ...
Some video-impressions can be found at youtube and cover interviews from Andrew Lee Rubinger, Simon Ritter, Stephen Chin and others giving first feedback about the conference. https://www.youtube.com/user/doagtv/videos
Also all nighthacking interviews can be found http://nighthacking.com/category/video/
Two nice picture galleries from Joachim and Alexander give a broader overview about the two amazing days.
The 15th anniversary of OSCON showed its interest in diversity, and continuing to broaden the market for open source technology. I saw a lot of discussions on how to get people interested, and keep people involved. It was remarkably open to all sorts of ideas on how to keep open source going into the future.
I started with Tim Berglund
Do you know who my current hero is? Jono Bacon. Even for you coders/developers, he's a hand you should shake. He gets community leaders together to think about their community and ways to help it to be better. He helps us to help you, and it's more important than I had realized. CLS was an amazing opportunity for me to listen to and discuss questions on the non-tech side, which helps me to be better at my job. My favorite session of the weekend was Dealing With Negative Feedback, proposed and moderated by Daniel Hinojosa, who is the new CM for SourceForge. We had A LOT to talk about, and through that one session (and many others), I met a group of engaging, fantasticbrains, all bursting with ideas and questions of their own.
Next is the start of my second OSCON experience.