I enjoyed attending RubyConf immensely, but I also regretted it. Not all is well in my personal favorite open-source community. (This article is full of complaints; for my love-letter on the same subject see here.) [Ouch, check the comments. My position on weekends is, um, not universally held.]
This Is Serious · Look, dammit, Ruby isn’t an insurgency or a conspiracy or a party, it’s a profession and a vocation and we’re getting getting paid for doing it. So why the flaming hell are we meeting on weekends like Trekkies or scrapbookers?
I have both a vocation and a family, which is a tough row to hoe at the best of times. Here’s my son last Oct. 31st, whom I spent a weekend away from in Charlotte, NC, hanging with geeks. You can see his real eyes through the holes in the mask and it’s never good when I have to look into them and why I can’t read him his bedtime stories or throw a football because I have to go to Charlotte or Tokyo or Shanghai.
An essential part of my compromise is that I may work insane hours and have to cross oceans too often, but at least I’m in the house on the weekend. Only the Ruby community thinks it’s OK to blow that up. They’re actively discriminating against people with lives and families and they’re wrong. Let’s start acting like grown-ups.
Transpacific Language Gap · Check out Charles Nutter’s Ruby Community Seeks Autotranslator. Charles is pointing at a great big hairy elephant in the room that nobody mentions; core Ruby development is done in Japan, in Japanese. Gaijin are not really in the loop. Look in the mirror: Rails development is done in English and any Japanese Rubyists who want to play have to do it in English. Ruby isn’t one community, it’s two, and we don’t talk enough. Both are nice, and we get along just fine, and Matz does an amazingly good job of straddling the divide, but let’s not pretend it doesn’t exist.
Charlie proposes applying a good auto-translator. In my dreams, we find someone who’s fluently bilingual and who wants to contribute to the community by translating both ways. But a semi-decent automated tool would be a step forward. Any volunteers?
Which brings me to the third point, also raised by Mr. Nutter.
Play Or Code? · Charles asks: Is Werewolf Killing the Conference Hackfest?
The issue is pretty fully explored in the comments to Charles’ piece. On balance, I’m probably with Chad Fowler.
I’ve only played a handful of games, but I did OK, on the winning side in Charlotte two out of three games, and narrating one for the first time, which is kind of fun. And I did once manage to gleefully expose Charles’ wolfish essence; he was tired and being just way too quiet.