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Java Posse Roundup 2008 & OpenSpace Conferences

by Jon Rose on Mar 10, 2008 |
Last week, the 2008 Java Posse Roundup was held in Crested Butte, Colorado. The Roundup is an OpenSpace conference.
OpenSpace is a simple methodology for self-organizing conference tracks. It relies on participation by people who have a passion for the topics to be discussed. There is no preplanned list of topics, only time slots and a space in the main meeting room where interested participants propose topics and pick time slots.
The Java Posse is made up of four veteran software architects: Tor Norbye (Sun Microsystems), Carl Quinn (Google), Dick Wall (Google), and Joe Nuxoll (Navigenics). The four host a popular Java podcast released on JavaPosse.com. They organize the Roundup conference along with Bruce Eckel.

This year’s Roundup included the Java Posse, along with about 35 other attendees. The Roundup adds an extra dimension to the OpenSpace format with the Rocky Mountain ski town setting, helping to create an extra laid back atmosphere.

Dianne Marsh, an attendee at the conference, describes the OpenSpace model in action at this year conference:
This year, we found that the collaboration aspect of the conference was really growing, and many of us have wanted to have some "workshop" experiences. So, we've conspired to add in some workshop and hacking sessions in the early evening, either over dinner or just before lightning talks. Joel and I hung back one afternoon and collaborated on some Scala code, and then presented a session comparing Java and Scala during one of those early evening sessions (before lightning talks). The flexibility to do this speaks loudly for the benefits of open spaces. At more traditional events, people might still hole up in a hotel room and work on code together, but only they would benefit from that experience. The other attendees likely wouldn't even know of their experience and certainly wouldn't get to listen to a talk about it.
Bruce Eckel, the conference organizer, shared his thoughts on this year’s conference with InfoQ.com:
Once again, the event was amazing. Everyone said they had an exceptional time. My favorite part is, after I tell people how it works, I get out of the way and just become a participant in the conference. At that point, people begin to take over and the conference just becomes its own entity, evolving where it wants to go.
The Roundup provides an excellent place to learn about new happenings in software and get a pulse on the industry. This year’s conference included sessions on a wide range of topics from ‘The RIA Ecosystem’, to ‘Why is Agile Hard?’, to ‘How Startups Should Avoid ‘Known’ Mistakes.’ In addition, the evenings provided a number of Lightning Sessions (5 minute talks) with topics ranging from ‘Filthy Rich [Flex] Clients’ to ‘The Internal Combustion Engine.’

A wrap-up conversation from the conference has already been posted on JavaPosse.com. In addition, the other round table discussions will be released as podcasts in the months to come.

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