The Java Posse is a group of guys (Dick Wall, Carl Quinn, Tor Norbye, Joe Nuxoll) who love Java enough to dedicate time to staying up on the latest in the Java world and reporting it for the rest of us. I suspect that I'm not the only one who is only able to keep up on the news because of the time that these guys spend each week. Two years ago, they teamed up with Bruce Eckel to host the first ever Java Posse Roundup Open Spaces conference. Participants decided what they wanted to talk about, using the very lightweight process of placing a post-it note up on the conference schedule. Voila! Conference born! The Posse (as we call them) was dubious at first. Would people come? Would they get something out of it?
The first year (2007) was a huge success, judging from the reactions of the participants and the posse. We all learned a lot. Friendships lasted beyond the week of Java immersion. Everyone embraced the idea of making the conference their own, and lightning talks evolved in the evenings as well.
The second year (2008) saw previous year participants sharing houses, more lightning talks, and a pre-conference day discussing Android (which was hot off the presses last year). And, we added some workshops in the evenings as well. The conference continues to evolve, and that's really the beauty of it.
This year, a pre-conference hackathon was added. The pre-conference day is free to anyone who happens to be in the Crested Butte area on March 2, the hackathon will consist of a loosely organized set of houses, each sponsoring a different language on the JVM. At the moment of this writing, Scala, Jython, Groovy (Grails, Griffon), and Fan have been identified. More may emerge (Clojure anyone? JRuby?). We'll kick of the morning with a short intro/orientation at the Posse House (a house in town where the Posse is staying), then quickly spread out to the various houses around town hosting different languages. People will be free to move between houses/dojo sessions just as they are free (in fact, encouraged) to move about the open spaces sessions that will make up the main conference March 3-6.
I look forward to this conference all year. It's never the same, always fun, and always wickedly informative. And yes, there's skiing too. Each day during the week has time for participants to head off to go skiing. Some people will choose to stay back and code on those days, or just hang out, but the ski hill does see a lot of geek talk that week as well! I'm hoping to again ditch the ski hill in favor of skinny skis (nordic trails). Each year so far, I've been successful in recruiting some people to go out with me. Joe caught Tor crashing on camera last year … hilarious.
If you want to join us, you can still register at http://www.mindviewinc.com/Conferences/JavaPosseRoundup/.