Reporting live from FOSDEM 2008.
Our second day this Sunday morning of our Free Java meetings has just started. Yesterday we had a packed series of sessions. What stood out for me was the tense used in all of the talks regarding Java. Last year attendees were discussing what we could do once our source code for the JDK was out. This year, many of the talks are focused on what everybody is doing with the code. Roman Kennke spoke about his experiences mixing GNU Classpath code with OpenJDK and vice versa. Christian Thalinger discussed CACAO to run various class libraries from OpenJDK, phoneME and Classpath against various VMs. The energy and the diversity of the ideas are just amazing.
Speaking of diversity, Carla Ko and Linda van der Pal presented on "Women in Java" exploring the reasons behind the low percentage of women in core development jobs, how to improve on that but also about networking opportunities for women in this industry. In the ensuing discussion some interesting research was brought up. One was that the percentage of women in corporate software development projects is much higher than in open source projets (20% vs only 3%). Another was that in the 60's and 70's there was much more balance between the percentages of men and women in software development. A presented reason for the change to the levels of today is that then the profession overall had low standing. In any case, if you are woman Java programmer (or aspiring to be a Java programmer) then check out Duchess. Linda started Duchess to help women in the industry network, collaborate and exchange experiences.