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A Vision for java.net

(Note: Thank you to Richard P. Gabriel Ph.D. MFA for crafting this Java.net vision statement.)

The goal of java.net is to stimulate the expansion of a diverse resource portfolio of Java[tm] technology by building a web-based community where developers, educators, researchers, business people, users, consultants, methodologists, managers, and others interested in the Java platform language can come to learn, teach, converse, and collaborate. Such a portfolio would include frameworks, libraries, applications, courses, books, methodologies, papers, research reports and data, articles, sample code, tutorials, and well-educated and talented developers.

java.net is made up of individuals and new, existing, or spontaneous ad hoc communities. It is a place for peers with common problems to come together to solve them collaboratively. For example: educators can collaborate to develop courses; companies sharing infrastructure can work together to improve it; business people can discuss the shape of the market; and researchers working on related topics can pool their resources.

An existing community that is related to Java technology may join via federation, thereby remaining essentially as they are with linkages between themselves and java.net, including news feeds and cross-postings. Other communities may build their community places using infrastructure available from java.net. Such places can be communities of interest or full-fledged open source projects. Spontaneous communities can spring up using wikis, mail lists, discussion groups, and blogs.

In short, java.net is a community tied together by a common thread: the desire to move forward using Java technology.

Why the need for java.net?

As Java technology moves into the mainstream and the work within industries and domains becomes more specialized, developers, researchers, educators, and business people can become insulated, thereby robbing themselves of opportunities for unexpected collaboration and innovation. And though there are collections of resources and assistance, as well as open source projects, and excellent tools, they are all scattered.

Work needs to be done as Java technology is built out and applications are written. java.net was created to keep the momentum going and building, to provide a single place to collaborate and interact, and to bring these scattered individuals, groups, organizations, companies, and many projects together, much as great cities are a source of creative energy by bringing together diversity in close proximity.

Why would such a community succeed?

Every place great with creativity is a confluence of smaller communities of interest and practice whose proximity serves as triggers for further creation. Renaissance Florence was great not because there were only painters there, but because there were also sculptors, goldsmiths, poets, writers, clerics, architects, builders, and an expectation of great creation. Today in places like San Francisco, Boston, Austin, and San Diego, there is tremendous diversity of thought, artists, technologists, chefs, theaters, and workshops. This is why companies and individuals flock to those places; that's why it's invigorating to be a part of them.

A recent study on the transformation of work includes this quote about creativity and places like this:

Creative people . . . cluster in places that are centers of creativity and also where they like to live. From classical Athens and Rome, to the Florence of the Medici and Elizabethan London, to Greenwich Village and the San Francisco Bay Area, creativity has always gravitated to specific locations. As the great urbanist Jane Jacobs pointed out a long time ago, successful places are multidimensional and diverse--they don't just cater to a single industry or a single demographic group; they are full of stimulation and creative interplay.

- The Rise of the Creative Class, Richard Florida

Stimulating a technological community is not a matter of more and better resources, though those are necessary. Invigoration is not a question of things but of people and attitudes--invigoration is a matter of the feeling of optimism, of being part of an energetic community, of creating new things, of being part of something important.

In building a place where people and communities working with the Java technology language can gather, we are hoping to bring together ideas and people who would otherwise rarely meet. By creating a place where projects can be worked on, we are hoping to create a context where helping and sharing can take place. And by making the experience of the place paramount, we are hoping that enthusiasm and a positive attitude toward Java technology can grow and persist. From these things a tremendous market for Java technology language products can blossom.

In a context like this, the communities will do what they do best: Create a wide-ranging portfolio of resources. In doing this they would be mimicking the great cities in history, which were not simply confluences of diverse and creative people, but also sources of rich culture, galleries, books, workshops, teachers, students, cafés, restaurants, cuisines, architectural styles, and building methods. A great city is creative only if things are created there.

java.net -- a source for collaboration on Java technology

At the foundation of java.net is an open source hosting infrastructure--a collection of tools that open source projects need to be successful. java.net itself is not primarily an open source site, but open source people and projects are exemplars of the guiding principles of java.net.

The most important technological part of java.net is the community-support infrastructure, which includes mail lists, identities and personalities, reputation, weblogs, and wikis. These support communities, whose activities may include working on artifacts center on interaction, discussion, reading, and experiencing.

Mechanisms for interaction and discussion are the heart of java.net

Mail lists and discussion groups can serve a lively collection of people—a small community—who share common interests they enjoy discussing. When paired with a document or a code repository, these simple mechanisms can help a community share artifacts and work on them—with just these, one can form a small, ad hoc, open-artifact community.

Identity and personality are mechanisms for developing a persona or a person one would like to be. At java.net, people can establish their identitiy as it relates to Java technology.

Reputation is merit that accumulates over time as one moves toward being a respected elder. In an open source community, it is the merit one accumulates by making good contributions and commenting wisely. On e-auction sites, it is the reputation one gains by acting as a good buyer or seller.

A weblog or blog is a type of online diary or journal. Weblogs enable people without much web experience to create, format, and post diary-like entries with ease. Some weblogs point to articles or other blogs elsewhere on the web, often with comments.

A wiki is a collaborative web site that enables web documents to be authored collectively using a simple markup scheme and without the content being reviewed prior to its acceptance. The resulting collaborative hypertext document is typically produced by a community of interest.

With this collection of tools, combined with a community host, and entertaining human guides, java.net will be a place where a diverse population of communities and individuals can meet to discuss common interests, work on common projects, find new ways to work, develop tools and informal libraries, find commonalities, work on innovations, help each other solve problems, and generally find enjoyment among peers and people of like minds.

java.net is an open, equal opportunity place

A company, open source project, university, research group, individual, user group, hobbyist group, or other organization can join java.net and start their own community of interest and open source project, or they can federate into java.net and join the conversations through syndication and other community infrastructure. java.net communities, whether federated or native, have full access to each other, and cross pollination is encouraged.

java.net encourages its member communities and individuals to be open and collaborative. By interacting with others, a community can gather more and better feedback, uncover synergies, expand itself, and spread the adoption of its values.

To foster the organic growth of java.net, its initial governance is based on a set of principles and aon small set of simple mechanisms. As java.net matures, the members of java.net can adjust the governance to fit its own needs.

The convergence of communities and individuals is the funnel or gate for the ultimate goal of java.net, which is to create a fabric of resources in the form of code, documents, courses, expertise, conversations, and markets. java.net is the gathering place where all these things will be created and collected, forming the foundation for even further innovation in the use of Java technology.