It's been nearly two years since Sacha left and "passed the baton" to me. As instructed, I think/hope that I didn't "screw it up", as he requested ;-) It has been a very eventful 18 months or so and I continue to be indebted to Sacha for selecting me as his successor. Over this time we've seen some of our competitors get acquired, the release of Java EE6 (which we pioneered with CDI and Bean Validation), the start of a new JBoss developer conference series, some acquisitions, countless project releases, new standards efforts, adoption of newer languages, and new projects being created, and many new product releases. In short, it has been a very busy year and a half!
My thanks go out to everyone involved in what I have mentioned above. It would take an entire blog entry to mention them all and even then I'd probably miss out some, so I won't even try. Each of our projects and platforms has a thriving and growing community of contributors. Whether those contributors cut code, provide docs, log issues, comments, use cases, or whatever, whether they are Red Hat employees or work for some other company, they (you) are all part of the greater JBoss community and critical to our (your) success. And over this last 18 months I've been in the privileged position to monitor all of these efforts in one way or another, and sometimes help where I can. I've seen the communities grow and the core developers thrive on the challenges that their communities offer. In a word, it has been fun!
I've also watched out competitors increase their FUD against us (queue Richard Burton's voice and the ominous music from Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds!) Our market share has increased over this period. Our communities have increased over this period. But probably the most telling thing that shows how much of a threat we are to others in the enterprise Java middleware space is the amount of FUD that has also increased in this period. As I said in a separate blog, "I suppose [FUD is] easier to do than actually provide significant technical differentiation"! Yes FUD is annoying, but if you take the time to step back and think about it, it's actually quite flattering that you (we) have gotten to the point where companies large and small have to resort to it in order to try to retain their market share! JBoss and open source is a major player in middleware, whether you are looking at traditional deployments or new arenas such as Cloud.
So in the last 18 months I've definitely had "fun". But I suppose if there's one downside of Sacha (and Marc's) legacy, it's that I have less time to spend on actual coding. Or at least that's what I was worried about when I had to weigh up the pros and cons of taking over. Although it turns out that I don't have as much time for cutting code as I once had, I still manage to do it. (Which reminds me, I hope that my transaction addition to TorqueBox makes it into the trunk eventually ;-)! I think it's important to keep coding, particularly in an environment such as JBoss which is heavily engineering driven. Plus it helps keep my grounded as well as sane :-)
Back in March 2009 when Sacha asked me to take over, I recall thinking that this could be either the best move I could make for JBoss or the worst. It wasn't an easy decision to make. But now, almost two years on from that date I think I made the right choice and have to thank him and the wider JBoss community for a wonderful journey! If the past is any indication of the future then bring it on!!