Devoxx has always been one of my favourite conferences. Back when JavaOne was more product (and Sun) oriented, it was a bastion of independence and what was going on in the wider Java community. Even today, with JavaOne improving, it is still an important conference. And that's even though I prefer it's old name of JavaPolis (what's that they say about trying to please all of the people all of the time?) This year was even bigger for Red Hat/JBoss. Not only did we have our usual healthy mix of sessions on things ranging from Arquillian to Polyglot, but we were a key sponsor. We payed for the party at Noxx, which was a very interesting venue. We also co-sponsored the Hackergarten, which was a great opportunity to meet like minded developers and community members.
Importantly, we also used Devoxx as part of our renaming exercise for JBossAS. However, we did have to change our original plans slightly. Back at JavaOne when we announced the rename, we thought that we'd have started and ended the name collection weeks ago and had a select number of names voted upon by Devoxx. In fact I worried about how we would choose the final number of names to put up for vote from those suggested by the community. How wrong I was. We received over 2000 names and from that there were almost as many unique entries. There were only a few names we obviously couldn't take forward and even less from people who suggested keeping the original name. However, then we ran into the reality of copyright and trademark law! For each name our legal team had to do an exhaustive search to ensure we would not be treading on some other company's name or product. And this search takes time - proportional to the number of names!
What this meant was we simply had no way to get the names ready for vote until just before Devoxx. So we decided to repurpose our Devoxx announcement (at the start of the keynote) to telling people the above story and announcing the names for vote. Now just as some people may not have liked the rename of JavaPolis to Devoxx, Marathon to Snickers, Borland to Inprise, or Coco Pops to Choco Krispies, some also don't like the rename of JBossAS or the selection of names we've ended up with. But from the feedback we've received, including during the Devoxx BOF (more below), it seems that the majority of people so far get it or don't see it as too much of a problem and can work with one or more of the names. Now that we've added more descriptions around the various names (thanks to the AS team expanding on those submitted originally) I hope people can see the potential with them and give it a chance. (If you feel otherwise, then feel free to email me as I value your feedback.)
After the keynote, Ray and I had a session where we tried to give an overview of all things JBoss related. We decided to reuse this years JBossWorld keynote, but without the audience participation in the demo. Ray did a great job of re-running the demo with bots playing the various roles and this was great too, since it shows how much we've simplified the testing and simulation of complex applications. And of course there was the BOF, which really could have run even longer if we'd had the room longer. There was a lot of good discussion and community involvement, as well as beer! And because we're good community members, we let our beer spill over into the adjacent BOFs
In conclusion, Devoxx was a great success. Our sessions went well. The community gave us a lot of great feedback. I got a chance to meet new people and friends. And the general vibrancy around the conference made a fitting conclusion to 4 months of travelling!