"Don't doubt the fact there's life within you
Yesterday's endings will tomorrow life give you
All that dies
Dies for a reason
To put its strength into the seasons"
First off, Wayne Walker++ for his help the past week. (Wayne is one of the administrators for pm.org)
The short(?!) story is that the guy that started Annapolis.pm (who I'll call Mike) and I worked in the same place, and actually "met" by answering (often contrarily) questions on our internal perl news group. We couldn't have been more opposites, and it was that drive to "save Perl" from him that really got me involved. The differences became even more evident when he asked me to co-author a book with him - a task that I (thankfully) talked him out of.
Annapolis.pm then dried up and vanished for a long period of time. Mike took employment elsewhere, doing a lot of OO, UML, and Java work (which better suited his personality, IMO), and our internal Perl community began to both grow, and die off. (Many of the Perl gurus went inactive, but the novice base started to grow.)
Then, out of the blue, I get an internal, friend-of-a-friend "Hey, call this guy" email about a Perl seminar being held. It seems that Mike is now running a local Jaycees , and his community asked for Perl training, so he arranged for MJD to appear, and could I please pass the word?
So I did, and we had about a dozen people show up - some from work, some from Baltimore.pm, some from the local Linux groups. It was a little disappointing, but was much more successful that I had anticipated. To close the meeting, Mike wanted someone to step forward and run Annapolis.pm - I task I decided I wanted no part of.
But I would contact some folks for speaking, and next up was Dan Sugalski, who I knew would be in the area around the next meeting time. So I contacted Dan, he agrees, and I query Mike for what the group's speaker budget is. (Since I knew he had picked up travel for MJD, and was hoping to get actually training for the companies that had asked for it, I assumed he had one.) I know Dan is on the grant, but any way we can ease that burden is a plus, and I figured Dan would be much happier not having to crash at my place.
But he didn't. Instead, he was going to charge admission. Well, no offense to Dan, but I don't know anyone in my area that would pay to hear him talk about Parrot. I'm still wondering if I'm going to get anyone to come listen to him for free. But beyond that, there was the general principle of the matter - you are telling the local companies that we are providing training, the companies then "require" it of their employees, who then show up and pay out of pocket. I don't think so.
So I did what I had done in the past - jump in with both feet to "save Perl" from him. I expand the group beyond Annapolis, secure two additional meeting locations and some limited financing, and adamantly refuse to charge members for anything. I quickly drop the rationale that this all is very unPerlish, as I'm fairly certain he just doesn't get it.
Then things quickly degrade over several email exchanges. It's not a cover charge, it's a membership fee. $50 a year. Not to join Annapolis.pm, but the Jaycees. (It's only fair, Mike explains, because they'll teach us how to write grants, and let us work their booths at the fair. Plus, of course, they are providing a third of the meeting locations, and a fourth of the "high-end" budget. (I, personally, contributed almost twice that to the PDFG, so I, needless to say, was not impressed.)
By this time, I'm livid. How can he do this to the Perl community? How can he do this to my community? And at about the time I reach my breaking point, I then realize that he has every right to - it is Perlish to run the group that way.
Not that I'd do it, of course. But three things calmed me down - the Perl Mongers, TMTOWTDI, and the Artistic License. All three exhibit the true Perl spirit, "to each his own." You do your thing. And so I decided I had to let Mike do his thing, and I had to do mine.
And so now the new Annapolis.pm, which I had expanded to Columbia, Meade, Elkridge, and Laurel, gave up its Annapolis.pm roots, and instead took on Arbutus. Now, Wayne, by this time, had made who knows how many changes to the group lists - first, Annaplois.pm is going away, to be replaced by this new group. Then it's staying, and I renamed my group. And then I get a message from both Wayne and Mike that Annapolis.pm has folded up shop, and so my original request stands.
So I'm now running the Columbia, Annapolis, Meade, Elkridge, and Laurel (Maryland) Perl Mongers - CAMEL.pm. (I had orginally asked for the "Camel Doctors" - CAMEL-MD - but CAMEL.pm will do just fine.)
As a footnote, I did admit in my emails with Mike that my views on "my" community and "saving Perl" were extremely arrogant, and probably flamebait to 99.9% of THE Perl community. I'm sorry for my impudence.