Poll Result: Impact if Java User Groups Is Substantial
This past week's poll suggests that Java User Groups have a substantial impact and play an important organizational role within the Java developer community. A total of 293 votes were cast in the poll. Here are the exact question and the results:
Do you belong to a Java User Group?
- 22% (65 votes) - Yes, and I actively participate
- 26% (75 votes) - Yes
- 5% (15 votes) - No, but I sometimes attend JUG-related events
- 3% (10 votes) - No, but I follow JUG-related news
- 12% (35 votes) - No, there is no local JUG where I live
- 31% (90 votes) - No
- 1% (3 votes) - Other
Among those who chose to vote in the non-scientific survey, 56% either belong to a Java User Group, attend JUG events, or follow JUG-related news. Among the people who stated they do not belong to a JUG, about a quarter have no local JUG they can participate in where they live.
Almost a third of voters selected the "No" option, which implies that they could participate in a Java User Group, but currently choose not to do so. That's a fairly low fraction, in my view.
The poll elicited four comments. rdelaplante and jwenting commented that the JUGs in their areas have too many commercial presentations by companies and vendors. rdelaplante said:
I think my local JUG should be renamed to SUG (Spring Users Group) since we've recently had 3 presentations from SpringSource, and some of the other vendors that give us their sales pitch focus on Spring too like GigaSpaces. Why isn't Sun out here pitching GlassFish and Java EE 6? I guess it can be challenging for JUG leaders to find a constant stream of speakers, and companies like SpringSource are eager to take full advantage of the opportunity to give their sales pitches in every major city.
jwenting commented: "From what I've seen around here the JUG(s???) seem mostly to exist for the purpose of companies presenting whitepapers and giving commercial presentations of products. Not very useful at all."
To these comments, JUG co-leader fabriziogiudici responded:
Co-leading a JUG and attending some meetings from others, I can say I've never seen any whitepaper, any commercial presentation or any speech by a big company representative - with the exception of some specific events (e.g. the IDE shootout or the Application Server shootout) where representative from the various producers were invited - in any case, the talks were exclusively technical. JUG Roma is the one capable in Italy to organize the largest single-day gatherings (1200+ attendants) and, again, no white papers or commercial stuff at all. In normal cases, speeches are mostly held by JUG member themselves and arguments decided by means of the mailing list - usually they are the guy's direct experience with a technology, which also gives good hints for a discussion. I wonder whether there are big differences in how JUGs are managed in various parts of the world.
Meanwhile, ipsi finds "very little promotion of the local JUG":
So, it seems like the size of the Java User Group matters a lot, along with the location; and probably there are also some differences in management. A big JUG where enough members live nearby probably has a much easier time with having technical presentations by the members themselves. Whereas, smaller JUGs, or JUGs in regions that are not all that metropolitan, will have fewer attendees at the JUG meetings. And, a smaller pool of active members translates into a smaller pool of potential presentations from the members themselves. So, in order to have something interesting and at least somewhat relevant, vendors are called upon. Surely some vendors are more adept at presenting a genuine technical talk, while others will present mostly their standard marketing spiel.:O'Reilly Media