I spent the entire week last week enjoying some good weather and southern hospitality in the Carolinas. On Tuesday Mar 15 I had the pleasure of being invited to present at the Charlotte Enterprise Developers Guild organized by Bill Jones (special thanks to SystemTec for sponsoring the evening). On arrival I found the best dressed group of developers I have seen in a long time and felt compelled to apologize for my jeans and Converse. They sure keep it classy down South – something us Northwesterners could probably stand to learn from.
The focus of the talk (and subsequent discussion) was Java and PHP on Windows Azure. I was pleased to learn that the group consisted of a healthy mix of developers writing Java code, PHP code, and .NET code. In fact, close to 50% of the folks in the room indicated that they use multiple runtimes in their local data centers and are used to interacting with multiple codebases consisting of different languages. We had a great conversation about what it means to move to the Cloud and the approach Microsoft is taking to building an open an interoperable platform that will provide a robust general purpose platform for languages and runtimes far beyond .NET. I got a lot of great feedback on the Eclipse and ANT tooling that was recently announced and have opened some new discussions on additional work we are exploring enable additional Java developer workflows / build systems including Apache Maven. Stay tuned on this!
I also had the pleasure of attending the 4th Annual POSSCON (Palmetto Open Source Conference) in Columbia, South Carolina where Microsoft was a sponsor. The speaker lineup was great and there were a number of interesting sessions on the agenda particularly related to open source in mobile applications which seemed to be the hot topic of the event. I was pleased to finally meet such OSS icons as Jim Jagielski of the Apache Software Foundation, and attend a number of great sessions by other well known OSS advocates including William “whurley” Hurley, Bob Sutor of IBM and Jon “maddog” Hall.
My colleague Gianugo Rabellino had the opportunity to present a keynote at the event and took the opportunity to showcase a lot of open source work that is underway both in Microsoft and the Windows ecosystem. He described the change underway in Microsoft toward greater openness and discussed the future of collaboration between Microsoft and the the many Open Source communities on objectives we all share as technologists.
My best booth award (from a coolness factor point of view) goes to my new friends at RepRap.org who are working on building self replicating open source 3D printers. This is a sweet mashup of open source software, open hardware design, commodity component architecture and pure geekitude. We had a great debate about the future of self replication and when we were done my head hurt but it was a blast.
The conference had around 500 attendees and I even somehow became the mayor on Foursquare despite only checking in twice. It was a great time and I look forward to seeing what is in store next year at POSSCON 2012.