Wow, is it Friday already ? Time flies when you’re having fun, and it’s certainly flown while I’ve been here in MPK.

I think the highlight of being here in the Bay Area is the people I’ve met, or encountered – a nice bunch of folks. I’ve been here a few times before, but more so this time, walking around the corridors of MPK17 has shown me two things :

  • I’ve got a much better memory for names than I thought I had
  • I recognise many of these names going back quite a few years

That is, the longer I’m at Sun, I’m obviously going to recognise more people. What’s interesting, and highly encouraging, is that many of these people are still here. I’m in the company 10 years (in June this year) and I’m seeing people’s names that I remember from way back when I started. This is a good thing because it suggests (contrary to some opinions) that I’m not being a weirdo by sticking with the one company for all this time, and also because it suggests that I’ve got a strong sense of community with the folks here, even if they’ve never met me before [ why would I rememeber their names otherwise ? ]. This makes for a very productive work environment.

Now, Sun Marketing is telling people (they’re mostly right by the way) that Sun’s entering into a “Participation Age” (if nothing else, listen to the section starting 31:40 into the audio) and that we’re looking to share our internal community with everyone else. This is all the more evident in the many open source projects that we’re doing now, or perhaps I should say, the open source work that we’re more actively promoting now – we’ve always been doing it. Across the board, from huge, attention grabbing projects like OpenSolaris to much smaller, rarely noticed, but nonetheless important projects like the Open Language Tools – the list of open source projects Sun’s involved in is pretty huge, here’s a subset… In particular though, we’re really serious about this – it’s not just us making a token gesture to grab headlines, like donating a mere 500 of our patents to the Open Source community, for example – we’re doing something more than that, with things like CDDL and blanket patent rights for OpenSolaris if you’re working on the project, which sounds much more sane to me ( I’ve referred to this before. )

The sense of community thing is an interesting thing – by working alongside people for an amount of time, you start to feel an empathy towards them, and you end up co-operating more in order to achieve what’s beneficial for everyone. This isn’t a new concept by any means, but if you’re looking for a modern expression of the idea, you should seriously check out The Cluetrain Manifesto – a book Simon recommended a few years ago when he visited the Dublin site. Indeed, if you look on you’ll see a lot of conversations going on, between Sun employees and the rest of the world. Hmm, I hope my memory for names has room for a lot more entries!

So, next week I’m off to Broomfield to meet more people, some of whom I’m sure I’ll have encountered via email before… Oh, I suspect a highlight for next week will be the Front Range OpenSolaris User Group meeting on Jan 19th, and better yet, the topic is ZFS, a community I’ve had the pleasure of being able to help out. I fully intend to keep adding to the list of names I know from somewhere…