Working in a distributed team has many advantages. You can work from any place in the world and any hours you would like to. Asynchronous communication over email or Gerrit Code Review is not as distracting compared to being poked by colleague from the desk opposite to you. Some people are most productive in the middle of night, others early morning (I mean really early morning like 4 or 5am). Forcing them to work from 9am to 5pm could kill their productivity.
This is why many Open Source projects are so successful. People can do their work when they want to and how they would like to.
But even then, meeting face to face is needed from time to time. You can meet people that you only know from code review or mailing list. Talk to them face to face, in real time. Discuss ideas, use whiteboards and flip charts to discuss. This could save many emails and comments in code review and make substantial progress in very short time.
Therefore getting together on hackathons is so important. It gives an environment where contributors can work together. Have instant access to peers and share freely ideas and code. On hackathons things that would take months in asynchronous communication can be accomplished within days.
This is why CollabNet together with its partners Elego and Aservo are organizing a Gerrit Hackathon. This will be the second one this year, the first was held in Google HQ after the Gerrit User Summit in March.
We will start hacking Gerrit next Monday (8th of September) in Elego office in Berlin and will work together until Friday (12th of September).
List of topics is already long. We will choose five maybe six most interesting on Monday. Then work hard to accomplish them until Friday.
This time there would be 16 participants from WikiMedia, SAP, Google, CollabNet, Elego, Sony Mobile, HP, Spotify.
I am really looking forward to next Monday!