For the first year I maintained OpenNMS, I worked out of my house. It took a little adjusting, mainly to the lack of human contact. My wife has a career of her own and thus I was home alone for most of the day. I related to the rest of the world through IRC and mailing lists.
I’m not sure how I made it through that first year. Luckily, the nascent OpenNMS community was there to help, and I had my friends at the Triangle Linux Users Group (TriLUG) as well.
Unless you’ve experienced this, it is hard to describe. I was once arguing with the CEO of another open source project (one with the “hybrid” business model of community [open] vs. enterprise [closed] versions) who viewed the code his company produced as a gift to the community, and not really community developed. He was proposing some changes to what would be in the open vs. closed versions of his software and I asked him what his community would think of it. He replied “if the f***ers, don’t like it, f*** ’em.”
This really pissed me off. I replied that it was much different with OpenNMS, because when it was just me, it was those “f***ers” who kept me and the project going when there was nobody else. That is part of the reason I am so adamant about keeping OpenNMS open.
Anyway, my main interaction with large number of humans was the monthly TriLUG meeting. I’d get there early, chat, stay for the presentation and pizza, and once we got kicked out of the room, stand in the parking lot chatting for another hour or two.
One of the key organizers of TriLUG in those days was Jeremy Portzer. Right about the time OpenNMS started taking off he took a job with Blackboard in Washington, DC, and about 18 months ago he transferred to the Sydney office. Since I was down here we decided to meet for dinner last night.
It was nice. I got to meet the Blackboard team in Sydney (there are other employees spread across the country but most work from home) as well as spend some time downtown. I took the ferry from Parramatta to Circular Quay and then walked to the high rise building where the office is to meet Jeremy. We then got some beer a local pub (I tend to drink VB when I’m here) and then had a great meal at a restaurant on The Rocks. While you can’t really see it in the picture above, this was what we were looking at as we ate.
Jeremy also hooked me up with a SIM card so that the phone that Alex gave me would work here. We stopped by his apartment to get it on the way to the train station. He has a really nice apartment, small but with a great view, and a large balcony that overlooks Central station from 12 stories up.
I hoping to meet other folks while I’m here. I’m going to be in North Sydney on the 20th and I want to see about getting a group of people together for beer and conversation. If you are local and want to help me organize it, please drop me a note. I’m thinking we can meet somewhere central, perhaps back at Circular Quay. I’m open to suggestions. That, and more beer, of course.