My Extended Java Family
"The world has changed so much since I was a child." I used to hear my parents or grandparents say such things. I never thought that the day would come where this statement would be coming out of my mouth. We all know much progress had taken place in the 20th century, after all. You'd always hear statements such as "there was no television at the time, we listened to the radio." Now I get to say to my kids "we had no computers back then, there was no internet." I prefer this one: "there was no cyberspace, we actually spent time in 3D space." :-)
In this time one of the most pronounced changes I see is how diverse we have become. This is especially the case in the United States. So many of the people I meet are Americans, but they have accents. We're all "from somewhere else" and yet, we're all American. I believe this trait we have is an asset. It allows us to feel kinship with people from everywhere. No one is _really_ that foreign to us.
The reason I bring this up is that Java has shown us that many of us, irrespective of where we live, have a common passion in programming. On java.net and on the JUGs community mailing lists we often hear people talk about "my JUG in India," or "at my JUG in Warsaw.." Some recent threads on the JUG leaders mailing list represented folks from Poland, Russia (St. Petersburg), Norway, Brazil, the USA, France, Java (the Island) and many more places. What a delight just to be listening in on this channel!
Separately in the USA, the No Fluff Just Stuff series of Symposia for 2005 has begun. I had the pleasure to visit JUG members from Milwaukee and Philadelphia thus far. This weekend I'm looking forward to meeting JUGnauts in St. Louis.
Thanks to java.net I've had the chance to virtually meet with all kinds of people who are vocal about our community. People such as Bruno Souza from Brazil and Totto from Norway, people such as Joshua Marinacci, David Walend, and Daniel Steinberg.
So to all of those people who were forward-thinking and took the initiative to help create the java.net community I would like to sincerely say "Thank you." But in fact, the reason java.net exists is thanks to all of us. Community systems such as java.net are a reflection of the thousands of peole who each contribute a small part to a greater whole. The java.net front page is a great example of that: it aggregates individual webloggers pieces together with information from the various java.net projects and communities, comments from the forums, events information, articles, and news. So ultimately what makes our community work is all of us. Bruno Souza says it better than I do: "you are part of this, you're doing this too, without you, there would be no community".