Shanghai Tech Days: Ian Murdock Wants to Know What Developers Want


Good day to you from Sun Tech Days in Shanghai! The Shanghai International Conference Center is packed with about 1000 attendees and I'm rubbing shoulders with technology luminaries like Ian Murdock, founder of Gnu/Debian Linux, who joined Sun six months ago as Chief Operating Platforms Officer. He's just hanging around to get a handle on what developers want. Well, what does he think they want so far? In answer to that question, Ian replied extensively:

"I'm here just to take it in and learn a little bit more about what developers in China want. I've been primarily focused on Solaris and Open Solaris since I joined sun about six months ago and my role is expanding to include the developer in the broader sense, so certainly knowing what developer communities want out of Sun is an important part of my job now and I'm here to learn as much as I can."

Certainly I know that what they want in China is very different from what they want in America and Europe, which is the ground that I'm more familiar with. Even though they're very different there are a lot of commonalities as well. I think the whole notion of a developer has changed quite a bit in the last five or ten years. It used to be that a developer was someone in a corporation writing applications for custom deployment or working for an ISV building products, but now these days with the rise of Linux and Open Source the face of the developer has changed quite a bit."

In Linux, for example, a developer is anyone who comes in contact with Linux or open source these days with Web 2.0 and all sorts of technologies that allow people to participate in the web, and building mashups and those sorts of things. You know it's the 15-year-old rearranging her page on facebook -- is that a developer?

So it's really become much more of a continuum, and at Sun we're focused increasingly on how do we reach the developer early in this continuum because that's when certain conceptions about technology are formed and those conceptions travel all the way through college, university, and into the corporate environment, which is ultimately where we need to reach them."

Okay, we'll catch up with Ian maybe in a few weeks so he can communicate what he's learned in his travels. Meantime, it's back to the presentation center for me, where a full house of developers are clutching their orange Tech Days backpacks (and hoping to catch one of those Duke dolls that are being thrown from the stage) and filling their heads full of the technologies and products that Sun has to offer. More later.

See the Shanghai Tech Days Photo Album for Oct 23rd.

Carla King reporting from Sun Tech Days, Shanghai.



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