The topic at Atlanta Linux Enthusiasts meeting tonight was Linux and Java - a can't miss for me personally. It was a great meeting, and Bjorn Roche and Michael Hirsch stepped up to the plate to give some great discussion-inspiring presentations. Java is a controversial topic with Linux folks; the cross-platform nature really appeals to some and the strict Sun licensing and closed source code reviles others.
There's pretty much no other platform that offers the ability to write an application and deploy it on Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X with a little bit of packaging. That "little bit" can be maddening sometimes, but by comparison there is not another platform with the level of tool support and richness of APIs that can approach Java.
I could go on about it, but I am out of time. Maybe I will have some further installments later.