At the moment I'm hanging out in the Oracle booth in the exhibition hall, waiting for the crowd to hit when the keynotes end. Although this is the first official day of Devoxx, we've been here since Monday for the University sessions.
This is my first year at Devoxx, and I'm very impressed. I've been hearing good things for years, but never had the budget to get here before. It's interesting to me to see the differences between the big conferences. I've now been to the original JavaOne many times, two international JavaOnes, OSCON, OSCONJava, Jax San Jose, and now Devoxx. There is always a community presence, and there are always technology heavy sessions. There is also always a certain amount of marketing - certainly to be expected in the exhibition halls, but sometimes that slips into the talks as well.
Here the community emphasis is the strongest I've seen. There are 60 different JUGs supporting the event, from 40 countries, and well over 3000 attendees. What makes this different from other events? I think the JUG presence comes through more strongly. Conferences are always good places to network and learn things about the technology. JUGs go beyond networking to provide a real support network for programmers of all skill levels. Many interactions here go beyond trading of business cards to real connections that strengthen the community for the future. It is a good thing to see and be a part of.
Tonight I'll be doing my presentation about the Java.net migration. It has evolved a bit since I was at OSCON. It will be filmed and available on Parleys.com at some point, and I'll publish the slides and that link when it goes up.