My favorite current user group is the Coder Consortium in Sacramento. It covers generally new languages or less popular older languages. The evolution happened over the course of several years. Originally the core of the group was a bunch of Java devs who were a bit disgruntled with the language and the frameworks and the whole Enterprisiness of it. A few of us started messing around with Groovy and Grails, especially given we couldn’t find paying jobs doing Ruby yet. Eventually we decided to start up a Groovy User Group.
The Groovy User Group ran for a few years overlapping with a large number of JUG regulars. We were able to try out some new tools and experience things like Spock or Griffon. Gradually though we noticed members experimenting with new JVM languages like Scala and Clojure. As that trend became more prevalent, we jokingly referred to the group as the Alternative JVM Languages Group.
Finally, about a year ago we morphed into the Coder Consortium. While the name may leave something to be desired we fully embraced newer and unusual languages both on and off the JVM. We tried to do an into to 10 languages in 2 hours, but I think we made it through 7 or so. And next week we’re lining up a talk based on this paper comparing a number of languages in Github.