I had the pleasure to meet recently a number of individuals who run various software communities in the North West of England. The gathering was organised under the auspicious of Manchester Digital Development Agency. To my amazement, the North West has number of mature software communities who meets on regular basis. The communities represented included:
- Manchester Digital – was represented by council members Mike Ryan (of Idaho Technology Consultants) and Shaun Fensom (of Poptel). Manchester Digital actively promotes Manchester’s digital business sector, especially to attract business and inward investment from the UK and wider world. It also runs the "big chip awards". In its 9th year, the deadline for 2007 Big Chip awards entries is 12 March 2007. There are 26 awards and 17 entry categories. Shaun Chairs the Manchester Digital whilst Mike is the Secretary. Unlike other groups, this is a formal group with paid membership.
- Geekup – Daniel Morris and Andrew Disley
- Phil Winstanley – runs .net based communities working closely with Microsoft UK
- Paul Robinson – runs BSD and Unix groups.
- NW Ruby User Group – Dave Verwer
As result of the meeting, a Google Group was set-up for better collaboration between all above communities. Special thanks goes to John Keys of MDDA and Phil Winstanley for organising the get together. We are scheduled to meet again later this month.