Even though I can't remember who said it I've heard several times that Germany had one of the best railway systems of the world. Poor rest of the world.

Monday morning I entered the train scheduled to leave for Venlo at 7:25 in time and started to read my newspaper when there was an announcement that some other train had broken down and was blocking the rails and our train wouldn't be able to go - it probably was to be cancelled but we should wait for more announcements to be made. Stepped outside, looked at the board and it said: delayed by approx. 25 minutes. It still said the same thing an hour later without any further information provided by the Deutsche Bahn. Then they announced the next scheduled train to Venlo (8:25) would be leaving from a different platform - obviously, my train was at the planned platform. I decided to take the other train and for some reason that one wasn't blocked by any other train. I reached Venlo, changed to a train going to Eindhoven, changed to a train to Amsterdam and arrived just an hour too late.

Since I also had to change trains twice on my way back I was a bit afraid the same thing might happen again, in particular since the train leaving Venlo at about 10pm was the last one to reach Germany for the day. My train left Amsterdam in time, was a bit late in Eindhoven but the connecting train waited for us and I even left Venlo in time. Soon after I reached Germany the train came to a full stop and we were told there was a train broken down and blocking the rails. Deja Vu. Fortunately it took them only thirty minutes to resolve that and I reached home at half past eleven.

Deutsche Bahn vs Dutch Railway 0:2.

Between those train rides the Hackathon was really successful, I met a few people I didn't know before and had a really good time. I even found out there was a route of bridges crossing the big channel between the Mövenpick and the hotel I stayed in that I didn't know, this route cut my time walking from my hotel to the Hackathon in half - ten instead of twenty minutes.

Let's see how my plans worked out:

As usual there was some more Gump activity during the Hackathon. Petar Tahchiev re-added Cactus and we first ran into a problem with Cactus requiring JUnit3 while the Maven2 proxy would provide JUnit4. When switching to JUnit3 we see a Maven2 error message I don't understand. Is this Maven complaining that the surefire-plugin downloaded from central was broken in some way?

Niall Pemberton fixed a Solaris issue with commons-io that was showing up on our Solaris zone and also fixed a race condition in the commons-collections testsuite that was breaking tests on the zone - I don't know whether it was the speed of the zone, Java6 or the concrete Java VM for Solaris that uncovered it. Right now we see several failures on the Solaris zone (like the hanging tests) that look as if they had been caused by a different thread scheduling policy from what was expected.

Thomas Vandahl helped me re-discover village which now is a part of Torque, I hope the next build of it is going to be successful (needed to manually add some plugins to the local Maven1 repository).

Henning Schmiedehausen had a quick look at some Velocity test failures in Gump which are most probably CLASSPATH related. It doesn't work, yet, but I do know a few things to try next.

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This year I'll only attend the Hackathon at ApacheCon EU, which means I'll arrive Monday morning and leave early Tuesday evening. Besides the usual "meet folks and put faces to email addresses" aspect I really intend to spend some time coding this year, in particular I want to

And then I'm really looking forward to finally meet Erik Hatcher in person. It must have been around five years since he started to commit to Ant.

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Being there for only 30 hours has been far too short, it even looked as if we could have become productive during the hackathon.

The pedestrians of Dublin seem to ignore traffic lights completely. When I realized that I was the only one standing at a red traffic light for the fifth or sixth time in a row, I thought that my German education was showing more than I knew - you will probably find Germans waiting at a red traffic light in the middle of the night with no cars in an area of a square kilometer around them. To my defense I may add that the cars are all driving on the wrong side of the road in Ireland and I was afraid I was overlooking something.

People in Ireland must be rather short or being used to back-pain. The wash basin in my hotel was at the height of my knee and similar equipment was a lot lower than I'm used to as well. Sure, I'm rather tall at 1.96 m, but this was very unusual.

The automate in the gents restroom wasn't only selling condoms - which it probably does all over the world - but sweets as well. I don't think anybody would ever try to sell chocolate in a restroom in Germany.

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As many others have already blogged, ApacheCon EU is taking place in Dublin this week.

This year it collides with school vacation in Northrhine Westfalia and so I won't be able to attend the full conference - building castles out of sand on a Northsea beach is the schedule for the rest of the week and beyond.

I met Carsten and his wife at the airport in Düsseldorf. We left Germany at somewhere around 26 degree and reached Dublin about 90 minutes later at 13 degree. When I entered the bus into town I met Betrand. This is what ApacheCon is mostly about for me, meeting people I've only ever met occasionally. I don't expect to do much coding, maybe discuss a few AntUnit things or try to get Torsten to fix the BCEL build in Gump, but not really become productive.

Right now Conor is sitting next to me which really tops it all. We've been working together on Ant for more than six years now but never met in person.

I even had my first Guinness (early as it is) while I watched Australia fall to Italy in a game decided by a last-minute penalty resulting from a bad decision by the referee.

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I didn't feel like blogging about the individual sessions. Most of the sessions I visited have really been worth it, even though I didn't feel I really learned something new - maybe I shouldn't have picked the topics I already knew 8-). All three keynotes have been great.

The hackathon was fun, even though Jan and I didn't manage to do half of what we intended to do.

The greatest part was meeting people. When I was to my last ApacheCon (London 2000) almost nobody would recognize my name and I was running around trying to meet some people. This time I heard "the name rings a bell" quite a lot. In part this is probably due to Planet Apache and Gump's nag mails may have played a bigger role as well.

Speaking of Gump. I managed to talk Danny Angus into modifying the James Server build file so that Gump could use it. Leo managed to draw Spamassassin's Malte Stretz into his Gump session and Malte is really interested in having Gump build Spamassassin. Upayavira and I discussed some potential solutions for Cocoon's Gump descriptor (which is also needed during Cocoon's build process) and I hope we get this resolved in the next few days.

Ken and others have already described the neat setup of the key signing party. After I arrived home, I have now signed all keys (including those of the people who gave me their fingerprints outside of the key signing event) and uploaded all of them to pgpkeys.mit.edu - don't expect an additional mail about that.

All in all it was fun and I hope to be there next year, wherever it is going to be.

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