OpenNMS am Frankfurt

In a few hours I start the long trek back home from Frankfurt. It has been a really fun trip. The only change I would have made is to the weather: it was a little cold and we had some snow/sleet yesterday.

Last night around 6pm Markus picked me up from my hotel in Eschborn and took me to Frankfurt for dinner. We met Stefan at the Paulaner restaurant right next to the famous Frankfurt Dome, a dominating cathedral in the heart of the city.

Markus is one of my handful of blog readers and through the OpenNMS discussion list we managed to find Stefan and Dietrich, who showed up later on in the evening.

The restaurant was a great choice for dinner. I had a stew of wild boar and the spƤtzle that the menu claimed was a specialty (it was delicious). There was weissbier, the wheat beer of the region, and I finished with an apple strudel.

I should note that when I say “finished” 5 hours had passed.


Near where I live in North Carolina there is a village called Old Salem where they preserve the way people lived over two hundred years ago. As school children, we were taken on field trips there. Out in front of the tavern is a sign that reads “Entertainment”, and it was explained to us youngsters that in those days entertainment didn’t mean television or video games, but food and conversation.

Last night was very entertaining.

Stefan, me and Markus

We talked a lot about OpenNMS, and computers, and politics. Dietrich showed up about 8pm to join us. When we were leaving the nearly empty restaurant I saw the clock read 11:30 and I was certain it was wrong.

I’m writing this blog as sort of a diary of what it is like to try to make a business based on open source software. Forgive me for navel gazing, but I figure when we are successful maybe someone else can use our experiences to follow their own dreams (ain’t that the open source way?) and if we fail we can always serve as an example of what not do.

I definitely think that successful projects are built one person at a time. It’s not about press releases and downloads and “my web site is bigger than your web site”. It’s about people and their insights and giving them the tools they need to do what needs to be done. Sometimes it is about code, but sometimes it is just about talking over food and beer. I think the OpenNMS project grew a little stronger last night, and I made some new friends. Sometimes that is its own reward.