at FOSDEM 2023 Trip Report

“What if Simon Ritter’s Friends of OpenJDK keynote session at FOSDEM entitled ‘After Nearly 30 Years, How Is Java So Popular?‘ ends up being held… in an empty room?”

In a nutshell, this was my worst case scenario slash biggest ‘concern’ over the past weeks, narrowly followed by the image of someone taking a pic of Simon in an empty room talking about Java’s popularity.

After all, it’s been several years since the last in-person FOSDEM was held, so maybe there wouldn’t be that many people. Secondly, the abovementioned keynote session was scheduled at 09:00 AM on a Sunday morning. Also, thirdly, is Java at all still a hot enough topic to attract people at FOSDEM, where there are multiple rooms and tracks competing for attention and attendance, with lots of young fresh faced developers who might prefer spending time in any of the other many rooms.

The night before, we’d had a great gathering of speakers, plus many others, including their friends and colleagues, a subset of whom are in the pic below, the nice Bier Centrale manager who ran the whole evening not having been able to squeeze us all into one pic.

The dinner was sponsored by Sonatype, JFrog, and Azul (many thanks to each and all of them!) — and it was great to hang out with so many people, most of whom already knew each other from collaborating over the past years in and around, especially on the Slack channel.

Also, really great when Johannes from SAP got out his laptop in the middle of the dinner and demonstrated his brand new IntelliJ IDEA plugin to Marit from JetBrains!

Of course, on the day itself — in retrospect only, of course — one needed have worried.

There turned out to be heaps of OpenJDK-related developers, the room was well attended throughout the day and, especially wonderful, the room was full of engagement and discusion, and the quick fire 20 minute sessions worked out quite well, with a continuous program of content from first thing in the morning until the moment the equipment started getting packed up at the end of the day. (Check out the full schedule here.)

The program was split more or less into sections, the initial topics focusing mostly around migrating to the latest OpenJDK releases, the second set of topics focusing on security, then followed topics around performance and speed of OpenJDK-based applications, and finally there were several sessions on miscellaneous topics of all kind.


There were also stickers, which hundreds must have received, they were going around the room, and there were none left by the end of it, designed by Gerrit Grunwald…

…and maybe next time there should be hats and t-shirts too!

On the sticker is the URL to this site, so everyone should be able to get to it and join in with the community.

Many Thanks To…

…everyone involved: Simon for explaining why and how Java is still so popular; Johan for showing how to upgrade to the latest OpenJDK releases; Fawaz for discussing real-time stream processing and Hazelcast; Marit for exploring dependency management including vulnerability checking with a range of tools including IntelliJ IDEA; Tim for introducing us to OpenRewrite for bulk refactoring; Steve for alerting (and scaring everyone!) about the need to rethink ecosystem security after Log4Shell; Martin for succinctly and comprehensively outlining Elasticsearch’s internals; Lori and Fatih on securing software supply chains one open source project at a time.

Also, many thanks to Nicolas for sharing the perspectives on Java of a Kotlin developer; Frank on updating us on the current state of Java and the Raspberry Pi; Thanos for discussing in detail TornadoVM and its new API; Rich for taking us to just-in-time Java compilation as a service; Ondro for removing the fear of Java cold starts in serverless; Volker on process snapshotting, fast startup via Firecracker and CRaC (and his super helpful paperclip that solved the broken mic issue); Dmitry for discussing interesting developments in GraalVM; Johannes for discussing his research related to AsyncGetStackTrace (JEP Candidate 435); Kevin for introducing Quarkus; Mary and Enrico on modernizing legacy messaging systems with Apache Pulsar; and Fridtjof for managing to squeeze the highlights of an entire new OpenJDK language into 20 minutes!

Each link above brings you to a summary of the topic and, once the videos have been edited and uploaded, you should see videos there too, in most cases.

Thanks everyone, as well as the excellent and dedicated FOSDEM organizers and technicians. All in all it was a really packed day — which is something to think about, maybe we need two days at the next FOSDEM or possibly two different rooms one on the first day and another on the second.

There’s just too much to talk about in the Java ecosystem and too many speakers, some well established and some less well known, to share their knowledge, enthusiasm, and insights!

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