Get together at Appresso
On Wednesday, I visited a company where one of the Japanese Hudson committers work for — Appresso. We had a little get-together of about 15 people with several lightening talks, and then we all headed for a pub for drinks.
One of the things I learned (or perhaps "re-discovered" is more appropriate) here is that there are a lot of talented engineers in Japan who are just not visible from English-speaking U.S. communities (I mean, how many of us can implement an Eclipse E/R diagram plugin on top of GEF in a spare time!?), because they don't speak the language and therefore just don't show up.
This in turn made me think that one of the success factors of Hudson — its plugin architecture and how it reduces communication overhead among developers — is more important than I realized. When we think of a bunch of English-speaking developers, this "communication overhead" is just a loss of some time, because we can communicate if we want to. But if we think of developers all over the world, for many of them they can't communicate even if they want to (just imagine yourself wanting to contribute to a project running in Spanish, and that's exactly how it feels like for many developers here in Japan.) So reducing the need to communicate in English is very important in encouraging their contributions.
I think this applies to all the open-source projects. If you want to encourage contributions world-wide, reduce the need for communication, and promote architectural design for de-copled, independent code.
In any case, this was a very pleasant get together. I did a lightening-talk on sorcerer, and by the time I went to sleep it was 1am. (then I had to wake up 7am next morning for a customer visit...)