I spent two very productive days at the EMEA JUG/Oracle User Group leaders meeting in Prague (you can check out the #eouc tag in twitter to see the full stream of comments).
Oracle has now been the steward of Java for a couple of years and have taken great strides in listening to the Java User Group (JUG) community and adjusting how they work with us.
So instead sitting through a number of Oracle presentations (which was the style of the previous meetings), this mini-conference was focussed on un-conference style conversations, lightning talks and lots and lots of two-way communication with the Oracle representatives. I have a greatly improved opinion of Oracle as a steward of Java as they continued to work extremely hard to record our feedback and in some cases were able to give us the changes we were looking for within a few hours.
I also learned a great deal from the existing Oracle user groups (which are typically focussed on products) in how they organise large communities, communicate formally and informally with Oracle and deal with the financial side of running a group.
In turn the Oracle user groups were able to take away points on how we use social media, create passionate users and break the mould of one-way communication with a vendor (Oracle in this case). Who knows, may they’ll even turn up in jeans and geek t-shirts next year
There is an amazing amount of collaboration that is possible, as the decisions affecting Java today heavily impact the Java/JVM based products that the Oracle User groups work with.
Of course the big news for us is that we are the first Java User Group (Ben Evans will be our representative) to win an Open seat on the Java SE/EE executive committee. This means alongside Oracle, Google, IBM, Goldman Sachs et al we have voting rights on Java Specification Requests (JSRs) that define the future of the Java ecosystem.
We are humbled by the trust that the JCP members have given us us and alongside the Brazilian JUG (who were nominated and approved for the ratified seat on the committee) we look forward to representing the millions of Java developers and users around the world.
There is clearly more to be done, JCP reform and clarification over Java’s TCK need to be addressed sooner than later. The Oracle/Google lawsuit is also causing massive harm. However, with Java User Groups getting a seat at the table and with Oracle continuing to listen and adapt I am very excited about the future of the Java ecosystem.
Martijn (LJC co-leader)