Unspace have been great community builders in Toronto. Their Rails Pub Nites have been the heart of the Toronto Rails community for several years now (and have gone on to inspire other pub nites as well). They've always maintained a great balance between brilliant development work and great sense of cool (Unspace shared startup space and personnel with the band Hotel) and now they've cashed in on both for Rubyfringe - a killer bleeding-edge conference happening in Toronto this summer.
Check out the "never mind the bollocks it's London calling" invite. Then check out the names of the people who are already signed up to present. Obie Fernandez, Zed Shaw, Geoffrey Grosenbach, Damien Katz, etc. They're also promising uncharacteristically great entertainment - knowing Unspace, that's likely to mean a lot more than free beer and Karaoke.
Unspace really want to do something different with RubyFringe. We see ourselves as curators, and are actively sculpting the event it in a direction that gives it more in common with David Bowie’s High Line Festival in NYC last year than the predictable “1500 dudes in a fluorescent-lit conference room” that we’ve all become so intimately familiar with. We asked ourselves if we could put on a conference that Zed Shaw would have a good time at. Sure enough, Zed is a confirmed speaker.
The Zed Shaw comment likely refers to this review of the CUSEC 2008 Conference in Montreal. Knowing Unspace, they should be able to keep Zed happy.
I've always thought of Java / J2EE vs. Ruby on Rails as Prog Rock vs. Punk Rock. And here's Unspace confirming that. Wonder if Hampton will get a mohawk again in time for the conference?
As of announcement time, the 150-person conference already has 200 people on the mailing list. I don't think they'll have any trouble filling up. If I had one complaint about this whole thing, it's that this is going to be highly exclusive - although perhaps that's the point. If you get in, you can brag to your friends about it. I'm going to try to get a ticket, but hopefully they'll let the less-fortunate of us at least attend some of the parties!