Tuesday Jul 02, 2013

Belgrade Open Source Software Development Center

A new Open Source Software Development Center is open at University of Belgrade Serbia. It centers around using Java & NetBeans as open source projects to learn from and contribute to. Assistant Professor Zoran Sevarac says that not only does the center allow him to teach software development using open source projects, but also "we are improving our University courses based on the experience we get from working on open source code." 

Some of the projects underway are a NetBeans UML plugin; Neuroph (a Java neural network framework, with a NetBeans Platform-based UI); a NetBeans DOAP Plugin; WorkieTalkie (NetBeans chat plugin); and 2D and 3D visualization plugins for NetBeans. Here's video describing the NetBeans UML plugin:

University of Belgrade also has an official university course about open source development, where students learn to use development tools, work in teams, participate in open source projects and learn from real world software development projects.

Students, teachers, and researchers at the University of Belgrade, and any member of the open source community are welcome to come to learn software development from successful open source projects. For more information, you can contact Zoran Sevarac (@neuroph on Twitter). 

Saturday Jun 29, 2013

Open Source Software Development Center at University of Belgrade

A new Open Source Software Development Center is open at University of Belgrade, Serbia. It centers around using Java & NetBeans as open source projects to learn from and contribute to. Assistant Professor Zoran Sevarac says that not only does the center allow him to teach software development using open source projects, but also "we are improving our University courses based on the experience we get from working on open source code." 

Belgrade centerSome of the projects underway are a NetBeans UML plugin; Neuroph (a Java neural network framework, with a NetBeans Platform-based UI); a NetBeans DOAP Plugin; WorkieTalkie (NetBeans chat plugin); and 2D and 3D visualization plugins for NetBeans.

University of Belgrade also has an official university course about open source development, where students learn to use development tools, work in teams, participate in open source projects and learn from real world software development projects.

Students, teachers, and researchers at the University of Belgrade, and any member of the open source community are welcome to come to learn software development from successful open source projects. For more information, you can contact Zoran Sevarac (@neuroph on Twitter).

Monday Feb 04, 2013

FOSDEM 2013



The annual Free Open-Source Developers' European Meeting took place last weekend in Belgium. The free event brought together 5,000 hackers from the open source community. There were 477 speakers and 488 sessions with a mix of keynotes, lightning talks, certification exams and developer rooms talks.


Tasha Carl, Java architect and the leader of the Brussels Java user group, wrote a blog about FOSDEM and the Free Java developer room. She mentioned Java talks and posted pictures making you feel as if you were there. "The Free Java dev room at FOSDEM is since many years the biggest OpenJDK meet-up around. You can not only see, but really high-five celebrities like – this year – Mark Reinhold, Chief Architect of the Java Platform Group at Oracle, Sean Coffey, Oracle JDK engineer and maintainer of OpenJDK 7u, Steve Poole, developer and evangelist working since ever  for IBM on the JVM, Simon Phipps, Andrew Haley, Charles Nutter, JRuby lead developer speaking about InvokeDynamic,…" she commented.


In another blog, Mani mentioned that "the OpenJDK topic has got massive coverage with 17 speakers, speaking and holding events covering various topics." Java community leaders including Martijn Verburg and Ben Evans were involved in the Java track. In addition to Brussels JUG, members of LJC JUG, CEJUG and others participated at the event.


In her blog, Heather VanCura shares the Java Community Process (JCP) presentation titled "JCP State of the Nation and Future Directions," as well as links to JCP.Next and the community program Adopt-a-JSR programs.


Friday Feb 01, 2013

The JCP Evolution!

Recent changes to the Java Community Process (JCP) program "focus on the way the organization itself is structured and organized" explained Patrick in this interview.  The changes will result from the implementation of three Java Specification Requests (JSRs). The first JSR, the JSR 348, makes the process more open and transparent to facilitate developers' participation. It was released a year ago and Heather witnessed increased transparency in projects,  additional participation and a simplified release process. "They are using public issue trackers and public discussion alias on projects. More people from the community are commenting and participating in the JSRs. The process of releasing final and maintenance releases is more agile," she commented.

She explained the different options for developers' participation in the JCP. Java user groups may become JCP members at no charge and contribute as a group. Individuals and user groups can contribute to the community initiative Adopt-A-JSR. Developers can give feedback on the transparency of a JSR process. Individuals, corporations and non-profit organizations (JUGs for example) can join the JCP. They then can comment on specs, join an expert group and become a spec lead





Information about the JCP program is available at jcp.org. Watch the recent presentation about Adopt-a-JSR with Martin Verburg and Java EE 7 JSR projects with Arun Gupta

Thursday Jan 24, 2013

Nordic Nighthacking Tour

From Jan 25th to Feb 7th,  Java Evangelist Stephen Chin will be traveling across the Nordic countries and doing live video streaming of the journey. Along the way he will visit user groups, interview interesting folks, and hack on open source projects. The last stop will be at Jfokus 2013.

You can join Stephen for the journey by watching the live stream in 3 easy steps:


  1. Follow @steveonjava on Twitter to find out when the broadcast is live.

  2. Come to the NightHacking UStream Channel to watch the free live feed.

  3. Interact with Stephen Chin and folks he is hacking with via twitter using hashtag #nighthacking.

Wednesday Nov 07, 2012

Java Magazine: Growing on Open

The November/December issue of Java Magazine is now out, with several great Java stories, including:

Growing on Open
AgroSense provides an all-Java open source platform for sustainable farming and precision agriculture.

An Engine for Big Data
Hadoop uses Java for large-scale analytics.

JavaFX in Spring
Stephen Chin shows you why to use the Spring framework on the client.

JCP Executive Q&A: Mike Milinkovich
The Eclipse Foundation’s executive director assesses the state of Java and the JCP.

Exploring Lambda Expressions for the Java Language and the JVM
Ben Evans, Martijn Verburg, and Trisha Gee help you get ready for lambda expressions in Java SE 8.

Get Started with Java SE for Embedded Devices on Raspberry Pi
We walk you through getting Linux and Java SE for Embedded Devices to run on the Raspberry Pi in less than an hour.

Java Nation
Get the news from JavaOne 2012 in San Francisco.

Java Magazine is a bi-monthly online publication. It includes technical articles on the Java language and platform; Java innovations and innovators; JUG and JCP news; Java events; links to online Java communities; and videos and multimedia demos. Subscriptions are free.

Do you have feedback about Java Magazine? Send a tweet to @oraclejavamag.

Wednesday Jul 18, 2012

Open Source 2.0: The Science of Community Management

Welcome to the mind of David Eaves (@daeaves), public policy entrepreneur, open government activist and negotiation expert. Speaking in a rapid fire style, Dave admitted to "dumping" hours of negotiation theory in a few minutes in his OSCON session "Open Source 2.0: The Science of Community Management." I, for one, was delighted to be soaked by the firehose.

Dave started by debunking the 3 Great Myths of Open Source communities:

Myth 1) Your Open Source Community is a Meritocracy.

Admit it, the first 10 people to join your project have much more power than the next 10 that join, even the next 100. The first UI person to the project will be "the UI guy," it will take a serious stumble by him or a person drastically better then him to be displaced. The meritocracy myth is particularly harmful because it creates the promise that if you work really, really hard, you will have the same opportunities as everyone else in the community. Because of human nature, that's just not true. People are generally creatures of habit and go to the people they already know. It takes real effort to expand the circle/change their ways. For more information, you can read Structurelessness, feminism and open: what open advocates can learn from second wave feminists (this is in part about why open source communities are not pure meritocracies).

Myth 2) Open Source is about Collaboration

The genius of open source is how *not* to work together. It's about taking complex problems, breaking them into chunks and that individual developers can go work on and then can slide back into the whole. Collaboration is slow, expensive and high touch, community leaders should always think of ways to move from collaboration to cooperation. For example, it used to require long negotiations with the owners of the trunk to get extensions into Firefox (collaboration). With Firefox addons, community members could add functionality and users could pick it up much more easily (cooperation).

Myth 3) Coders Don't Need Soft Skills

If the success of your open source project is attracting (and keeping) community members, then your soft skills are your differentiator, not your coding chops. Be aware of the assumptions you bring to every conversation (Is this a negotiation? What's my goal? Is my goal just to prove the other guy wrong?). Your mindset can be resources are scarce, this is a battle, and eveyone else is stupid, crazy and evil. Or, you can believe that the pie can be made bigger, this is cooperative venture and people do what they believe is in their best interest. As a community leader, you can set the tone and maximize the outcome. Your job is not only to listen to what someone is saying, but to find out what are their real interests and concerns. A good solution may be closer than you think.

Architect in Cooperation

How can the OS community build "cooperation" into tools? Dave gave a few simple examples that would make Bugzilla more friendly:

Making Bugzilla a Little Friendlier

  • marking a user a new or that English is their second language (ESL) [think before you flame]
  • sample text in a fields that models "right behavior"  
  • providing a "Why?" field (getting to the underlying need).
  • creating a "support" state (which automatically generates an email that has links to similar entries in the support database rather than only giving a user-hostile reply of "invalid).

Tools are especially challenging area for the open source community, but it is time to start asking for (or building) ways to minimize the high ‘transaction costs’ it takes to work your project. There's lots of work to do, but knowing you have a problem is always the first step. :-)

For more information, Dave provided links to Posts on Open Source Community Management. There's also a nice set of notes on the session by Jeff Longland.

Monday Jul 16, 2012

Lessons for Open Source Communites

The Community Leadership Summit 2012, a meetup for community managers and leaders from all around the world, happened July 14-15th in Portland. It's open unconference-style event in which everyone who attends is welcome to lead and contribute sessions on any relevant topic. The goal of CLS is to help community managers and leaders to define and refine their work, share knowledge and make connections in a vendor-neutral way. It was, IMO, a rousing success.

The topics were wide-ranging indeed, including Clique Busting, Metrics, Building Community around Open Source vs. Open Data, Can Webinars Die Now?, and Community Management in China (notes are freely available on the wiki). While there were attendees across industries (tech, health care, non-profits), there was large representation from open source communities (Java, Drupal, OSI).

The combination of Jono Bacon's (author of The Art of Community) opening and a lavender latte inspired me to lead a session entitled "Managing" Huge Communities. The great thing about the unconference style is your session is a discussion, not a lecture or presentation. I started the discussion with a few thoughts about working with the Java community, and then the group was off and running, offering ideas, questions and stories. We started with "how do you define the size of your community?' which of course varied (registering, committing code, self identification) and defining community segments (user community, contributor community).  We also discussed how do you scale community "management" (identifying community leaders and empowering them, one staff member managing volunteers, providing support to user groups). Interestingly, though, the discussion went to the issues that are common to most communities, no matter the size: how do you engage members and get them from lurker to engaged? (remove barriers, Adopt a JSR, focus on the newcomer experience), how do you deal with time zones and cultural differences? (rotate meeting times, officially designate people for certain regions and languages), how to recognize leaders (Java Champions!), and how to deal with disruptive/negative people? (Constitution, agreed upon guidelines). It was a great lesson that though communities vary in the details (size, technologies used, goals), the themes and struggles are often similar.

One of the plenary presentations was by Greg Dunlap, Intiative Lead for Drupal, called Project Managing a Community Project. He discussed what he had learned from leading an "Initiative" (a release of a set of features) for Drupal. His goal was to lead community contributors without making it process-heavy. My takeaways:

  • you need to devote as much time to the project as your most active contributor
  • small amounts of predictable contributions are more valuable than larger chunks of random contributions
  • when sending out information to the community, expect or (if you can, prevent) bikeshedding (aka Parkinson's Law of Triviality)
  • define your MVP (Minimum Viable Product) and have that drive decisions
  • Timebox - define a point in time when the discussion ends or you agree to continue the discussion for another defined period of time
  • face-to-face discussions often can solve problems that online discussions cannot

Other sessions were lively and informative. Participants came to participate! They offered their thoughts and experience, and shared ideas and questions. It was a perfect prelude to OSCON.

CLS 2012: We Care About Communities!


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