Java Community Leadership: What Does It Really Take?
Mar 3, 2016 | 5 MIN READ
Mar 3, 2016 | 5 MIN READ
Last week there was a discussion started by a JUG leader on one of the Java aliases that got me thinking, which led to this blog post.
The JUG leader made two significant points in his original posting:
This JUG leader is based in Asia, so his first comment may be partly attributable to cultural and geographical issues. According to my friend Daniel deOliveira’s excellent research JUGs in Asia account for 14% of those in the world compared to 40% for Europe and 23% for North America. Having said that, there are a number of highly active JUGs in places like Tokyo, Beijing and Pune (where the JUG leaders have organised the excellent Indic Threads Conference for the last seven years).
I’ve not been involved in running a JUG, so it’s hard for me to be subjective about this but, since I know many JUG leaders, I do know just how much hard work and dedication is required to make a JUG a success. Even with a leader with these two qualities you still need to attract and engage an active membership, otherwise there won’t be much experience to share.
It is not uncommon for a JUG to start and become successful but, at some point, things change such as a leader starting a new job or moving away. Without a suitable replacement leader, the JUG may not survive, but that’s natural; it’s certainly not a reflection on the lack of popularity of Java. I see nothing to indicate a negative trend in JUG numbers or coverage. Quite the reverse, in fact: there are over 360 JUGs in the world according to Daniel’s data.
To address the second point, when it comes to supporting the Java community what does it require to be successful?
To me the Java community consists of three overlapping parts, all of which need their own type of support:
Once again, whilst Oracle are providing all this great content for free, there are many other companies and individuals doing similar work through webcasts, live events and blogs. Community is more about sharing than having one leader that everyone expects to satisfy their needs.
Nurturing a community, especially of Java developers, is a tricky balancing act. On the one hand, you need to ensure that there is sufficient support for the various parts of that community for them to be successful. On the other hand, trying to give too much direction can result in members of the community feeling they don’t have enough freedom. I think, at the moment, Oracle and other Java community leaders are getting it just about right.
One of the freedoms provided by the OpenJDK project and community is the choice available to developers of which implementation to use. Here at Azul, we’re doing just that with the Zulu JDK. Built directly from the OpenJDK source base and verified as compliant using the official TCK Zulu provides past, present and future (through early access JDK 9) versions.
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