A Wedding in Fulda

I have been working with open source software for over a decade now, and I do hate it when people describe it as some sort of utopia, where wandering bands of freedom loving coders roam the countryside handing out gifts of free applications.

The fact of the matter is that most of my business transactions are simply that – business transactions. The client gives us money in exchange for services and we try very hard to deliver those services.

But there is something about open source that makes the whole experience much more personal. I consider almost all of my clients as friends, and a few of them very good friends. I never really got that when I worked in commercial software.

So it was with a feeling of honor that I was invited to the wedding of Daniela Barbaro and Uwe Bergmann.

As you may be aware, Uwe is an OpenNMS services partner in Germany through his company Nethinks, and he is the main sponsor of the annual OpenNMS Users Conference – Europe.

It was nice to be invited to an event that usually only includes family and close friends, and so we scheduled training in Germany the week before in order to make sure we would be in the country on the big day. Both David and I were invited, along with Antonio who came up from Naples.

I had never been to a German wedding before, especially one where the bride’s family was Italian, so while most of the service was in the German language, when the hymns were sung each verse would alternate between the two languages. Not being very fluent in either, I was pretty much equally lost, but I could easily understand the love and admiration that was in the room.

After the service there was a reception outside the church, complete with Italian sweets, German bread, champagne and gelato. When I got to the bride and groom they looked very happy.

I also ran into a few people from Nethinks.

The two gentlemen on the left are Michael Batz and René Kleffel. The are Nethinks OpenNMS consultants who helped out with the class this week.

The cute couple on the right are Jeri Ryan and Justin Timberlake.

Actually, it’s Christoph Seipp and his girlfriend Caroline. Christoph used to work at Nethinks but now he is working to get Cloud services like Google Apps adopted in Germany.

After the reception there was also an evening party. It was outside of Fulda in a town called Grebenhain-Bermuthshain. David wasn’t feeling well (he’s been on the road non-stop for some time) so he stayed back while Antonio and I drove out through the beautiful German countryside with Ulf, our Kiwi mascot.

Ulf wasn’t able to make it to the wedding, but he did have fun giving his best wishes to the bride and groom.

Antonio and I wandered around and met a lot of amazing people. Christoph introduced me to Kümmel, and I returned the favor by reintroducing him to the North American exports tequila and Jack Daniels.

Ulf seemed to have his own agenda.

I had a wonderful time, and the only thing that could have made it better was if my own bride had been able to join us. I used to travel a lot for business before working with OpenNMS, and I found it kind of lonely. Now am I always come back home richer for it, not just in money but in friendships, and I have a feeling I know which will last longer.