I'm just about over my jetlag and settling back into work at present, after a very enjoyable week in Las Vegas at the OpenForce conference. As always it's great to meet up with any of the other DotNetNuke developers, and finally put faces to some people I only know by email alias's.
However, one of the most enjoyable aspects of the conference was getting a chance to meet up with community members and see their enthusiasm for DotNetNuke and feeling reinvigorated by it. Volunteering on an opensource project is an odd and difficult pursuit to explain to people. Typically people want to know what you're getting out of it, and as you can't point to a concrete example of a monthly pay-cheque, they're mystified (I consistently get asked about "That free thing you do for free"). I'm sure like many others contributors, at times this confusion extends to the volunteer themselves.
Sometimes I ask myself why am I still awake debugging code at 3 in the morning, or spending my lunchtimes moderating forum posts. Other times when a forum post strays too close to the personal, and I have to take a few deep breaths and work on developing a thicker skin, it's not difficult to consider that life would be easier if I just walked away. However when I go to something like OpenForce and see community members as passionate and enthusiastic about DotNetNuke as we are, and hear about solutions from the largest commercial, Government or military installations right through to the smallest personal or non-profits it reminds me why I started out contributing. When I hear some of the innovation and imaginative way's it's been put to use developing solutions, some award winning, others allowing small concerns to compete with companies many times their sizes where DotNetNuke has allowed them to level the playing field, it reminds me that any time spent volunteering on this project is time well spent.
If anyone who was at the conference wants to continue any of the conversations we were having, my email address is cathal(dot)connolly(at)dotnetnuke(dot)com