Back home and over the jet lag; so how does the workshop look in the rear view mirror?

I think it was a success! The meeting mostly involved people who didn’t know each other in person beforehand, and it seemed like some new collaborations and maybe even some friendships were formed. New projects got started and people joined existing projects; something like a dozen people made their first contributions to community software. Lots of interesting discussion happened after talks, in unconference sessions, and at meals.

As an organizing committee member, I am really pleased that we were able to share some of the meeting with people who weren’t there, while the meeting was taking place. We tweeted and blogged (see my earlier posts and also Antonio’s and Abby’s), and even had remote blog coverage of our Tweets ! More permanent records are coming, with the unproceedings document (summaries of all the unconference sessions), talk videos, and an archive of talk slides.

So what made this a good workshop? The Lorentz Center staff do an amazing job of organizing things, so the scientific organizers can focus on the science program. Having us all stay in the same hotel and eat lunch at the same place every day added to the feeling of being together (I don’t think anyone had dinner by themselves either). The small number of participants really helped to feel like you could get to know people; I didn’t have to look at too many name tags by the end of the week. We had great participants. I will take some credit for this since I helped to pick them — but I think we could have picked an entirely different group of people and still had a great workshop, given the oversubscription rate. Maybe it’s just the nature of the workshop: people who work on open source software are more likely to want to cooperate rather than compete, and that’s a lot of fun.

I really enjoyed the workshop and am grateful to Tom, whose idea it was, for the opportunity to help organize and attend.