That is, the fourth Google London Open Source Jam, which I hung out at last night. The Open Source Jam is a casual semi-regular event sponsored by Google where a bunch of people can get together and chat about Open Source, listen to ‘lightning talks’ (five minute presentations, with or without slides), and generally hang out with pizza.
I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect: this was the first jam that I’d actually managed to attend, and it was also about Java, which is a language I don’t have a great deal of experience with. What I found was a lot of enthusiastic, friendly people.
Apart from the aforementioned pizza, we heard about 14 so talks about a variety of subjects. I missed a couple, but the topics that I personally found interesting were Jeremy Rayner’s talk about Groovy, which is a dynamic language that provides syntactic sugar for Java (and compiles down to Java bytecode), and Tom White on Hadoop (part of the Apache Lucene project), which is effectively a reimplementation of some of Google’s core infrastructure — GFS, MapReduce, Sawzall, and BigTable — in open source (as HDFS, Hadoop itself, Yahoo Pig, and HBase respectively).
As well as the lightning talks, I had the opportunity to chat with a couple of people: with fellow Subversionista Max Bowsher and the ASF’s David Reid about Java dependency management, Maven, and FeatherCast and with Simon Phipps about Sun’s decision to go with Mercurial for OpenSolaris and OpenJDK (which sounds like the best choice, given that they already have a distributed development model), and also about licensing for the JDK and TCK.
All in all, it was a lot of fun, though I think we probably had a few too many talks and not enough time for chatting, which is something we’ll try to fix next time. I’m looking forward to the next one (probably in July?) already!