Moving to NetBeans
No, I'm not changing IDEs, I'm already a NetBeans user. But after 6 years, I'm coming back to work for Sun Microsystems, and have just joined the NetBeans Team.
I had a great time working at Sun in the past. I started in 1995, just a couple of weeks before Java was publicly announced, and was lucky enough to spend the following 5 years dedicating my work and a good deal of my personal life to the technology. At that time, Java was released "with source code". That was quite a mind-boggling news, not to mention the similar alien notion of platform independence. That was a life-changing event, that eventually did change the world. In the years that followed we had long discussions about freedom of choice. And I like to think that this helped a lot the later development of the open source community, and also the growth of Linux.
In Brazil, this was certainly true. When Java was launched, very few companies and developers acknowledged that other platforms beside Microsoft even existed. During years of Java evangelism we struggled with companies that wouldn't understand why platform independence was even an issue... Some did, and were very successful. And it was a pleasure to work with companies like Brazil's largest bank, Banco do Brasil, that in 1996 started its move to Java technology, training over 2000 developers and investing strongly in Java development. Many others made similar investments, including many government agencies that were looking for freedom of choice. Years later, when Linux started to became attractive, those Java early-adopters were able to immediately move their applications to Linux, and that fueled the Brazilian Software Livre revolution.
I left Sun to go help large companies like those to successfully use Java in order to create innovative solutions. Working for Summa Technologies, a consulting company focused in Java development, I had the opportunity to work in some very large and challenging Java projects, that had strong influence for the evolution of Java in Brazil.
While outside of Sun, as leader of a very active Java User Group, SouJava, I helped support the pioneer work done by the Brazilian Software Livre community. These guys changed the country, and maybe a bit of the world. I'm honored to be part of it, helping to integrate the Brazilian Java Community into the effort. SouJava also helped to construct a long-term strategy for software development in Brazil, by promoting the adoption of royalty free standards, implemented as open source software and supported in multiple platforms. This gives the long-term freedom and choice needed by Brazilian companies and also the government, that were badly burned by the predactorial market tactics of you-know-who.
After promoting the merits and even supporting the creation of open-source licensed Java Runtimes, and specially helping to bring people together on this discussion, I'm coming back to Sun right on time for more mind-boggling news-- the release of the JDK as OpenJDK.
This is a special moment for Sun, and especially for NetBeans. The NetBeans Community is growing worldwide; the new version (5.5) just came out and is getting strong adoption. Java 6 is nearly out and the platform is finally open source. There's a lot of excitement around the technology. For me, it feels like starting all over, like in 1995. As NetBeans Community Manager, I'll be able to work on things I'm passionate about, especially Java User Groups, the Open Source Community and the Java Developer Community. Could I ask for more?
To be honest, I'm still trying to figure out where I should start. I have some very initial thoughts, but I'd love to hear your opinions on what needs to be done, fixed, improved, expanded or even left as is inside the NetBeans Community. I'll try my best to make it a better, stronger, empowered community.
(PS.: Roman Strobl was kind enough to interview me for his great Podcast series. In the interview, we discussed some ideas and initial plans for working with the NetBeans Community. You can hear the interview here, but be warned that it was recorded before the open sourcing of Java, so, a few things may have changed since then...)