We've been spending a lot of time and effort thinking about how best to structure the hackfests that we're setting up to run throughout the night of JUDCon. With this being the first ever JUDCon we don't have any precedence to fall back on, so we've been basing this on our collective experiences from other conferences and workshops.
In the general spirit of JUDCon ("By developers for developers") we're going to ensure that the hackfests are as technical as they need to be so people can come along and learn as well as contribute to their favourite project(s). There'll be several JBoss Core Developers around at each hackfest throughout, just to answer questions and facilitate collaboration. But the general theme will be on promoting different topics/projects of interest, with the potential for several groups to be working through problems with their communities concurrently. The initial list of topics will be published on the JUDCon site before the event, but we'll allow for people to add more on the day. I know that Bob McWhirter will be there to discuss JBoss Cloud, Ruby and JBossMC Deployers, for example, and I'm hoping to persuade Bill Burke to stick around and help with any REST questions and tasks that may arise.
If you're completely new to JBoss, open source or simply want to move from being a user to being a contributor, then we'll have a list of project tasks that we'll be giving out on a first-come-first-served basis. Of course we'll not expect you to have to work on them alone, particularly if this would be your first time, so the JBoss people will be there to lend a hand. But this is a great way to get to know the open source methodology as well as become part of an open source community.
Finally, we're introducing the concept of "lightning talks": every hour or so a few people will get a chance to stand up and give a quick presentation on a topic, project or idea that's important to them. It could be related to a JIRA that they've been working on. It could be about a new open source project they're thinking of starting up. It could be about a specific aspect of an existing project that they believe the audience will find interesting. As long as it's related to the core theme of JUDCon, pretty much anything will be allowed. There'll be a sign-up sheet on the day and we'll make the selections as we go through the evening.
So there'll be a lot going on in the hackfests and plenty of opportunity to get involved. I'm hoping we can provide sustenance for the body as well as the mind throughout the night, so come along!