Monday Aug 06, 2007

Ian Murdock Talks Project Indiana

Larry Bird, David Letterman, Ian Murdock -- all proud son's of the great state of Indiana.  It is the last in this list that I caught up with during OSCON.  

Ian Murdock, Chief OS Strategist, Sun    Listen to the Interview (8:24)

Reservoir Dogs, Project Indiana style -- L to R: Mr. Pink (Patrick Finch), Mr. Brown (Jesse Silver), Ms. Purple (Sara Dornsife), Mr. Green (Ian Murdock,), Mr. Black (Glynn Foster)\*

What we chatted about

During our conversation, Ian took me through what exactly project Indiana is.  In a nutshell he describes it as a community project to build an Open Solaris binary distribution with the main goal being to make Solaris technology more accessible to a broader audience -- thereby  growing the market for Solaris. 

Ian positioned the project in evolutionary rather than revolutionary terms and talked about the packaging effort that is a large part of Indiana.   We also discussed "Wads vs. Distros," Ian's background in the FOSS world and what the Open Solaris community thinks of all this.

I hope to check in with Ian from time to time and get him to give us update as the project marches on. 

Pau for now...


\*Full disclosure: the glasses were added after the fact, these guys are really not this cool ;)

Monday Apr 02, 2007

My first trip back to the Mothership


As a recent member of the Sun diaspora I made my first trip back to the Bay Area last week. I took the "nerd bird" from Austin and arrived bright and early Monday morning.  I came out to give a couple of presentations and sync up with Ian Murdock.  The trip went well and I packed a bunch into my three days there.  Here are some highlights:

OS Ambassadors

Monday afternoon Simon and I presented to the OS Ambassadors, Sun's top OS SE's from around the world.  The ambassadors had gathered for their biannual week-long conference where they sync up with all thats going on around the company.  Simon took them through his FOSS pitch and I detailed our GNU/Linux business.  We got quite a bit of interest in both topics. 

Turns out that we were the warm-up act for Jonathan Schwartz who spent about 5 minutes on prepared remarks and then fielded questions from the audience.  He was his usual eloquent and laid back self.   He in turn was the warm up act for the Bryan and Mike show.  To call these guys, particularly Bryan, high-energy would be a severe understatement.  They regaled the crowd with tales of the extremely cool stuff they've been working on for the past year and were highly entertaining.

Presenting to Senior Software Execs:  Of Sticky Notes and Free Software

Wednesday afternoon the FOSS team got to brief our top Software Execs on the status of what we've been working on.  David Marr, our team's legal dude and one of Sun's representatives on committee B, and I presented on our relationship with the Free Software Foundation as well as GPL version 3.  As luck would have it, the morning of the preso the latest draft of GPLv3 was released to the public so David got to scramble and revise his preso for the afternoon. 

David drew on a host of high tech props including dollar bills, Post-it notes and notebook paper to get across the finer points of patent licensing.  (Needless to say, going forward we wont be accepting any Post it notes from 3M that are not GPLv3)

David Marr, with the help of volunteer Jean Elliott, explaining the nuances of patent licensing (Note: Jean did not get to keep the dollar).

My Dinners with Ian

Both nights I was there I got to dine with Ian (the first also included a whole gaggle of Sun luminaries such as Tim Bray, Josh Berkus, Simon, Bryan, Mike etc as sort of an unofficial welcome to Sun for Ian).  I've been very impressed with how rational Ian comes across and his clarity around where he wants to go.  Im glad he's on our team.

And speaking of GPLv3

When I ran into our fearless leader on campus I was good naturedly harangued regarding the GPLv3 shirt that I had promised him --  I told him the shirt was in the mail. 

To be clear:  In order for Sun to make a final decision on GPLv3 two things need to first happen 1) the final draft needs to be published and evaluated and  2) the shirt needs to be wicked cool.


The view of the estuary outside my hotel.


Pau for now..

Monday Mar 19, 2007

Ian's in the House!

Well the big news today is that Ian Murdock started this morning as Sun's Chief Operating Platforms Officer.  As the founder of Debian along with the work he has done as the CTO of the Linux Foundation and the head of the Linux Standard Base, he will bring a fresh perspective to our OS strategy. 

I had a great talk with him last week and am excited by his thinking, particularly around the area of Solaris and usability.   He mentioned that while he will be resigning as the CTO of the Linux Foundation, he plans to remain as the head of the Linux Standard Base, so that means Sun will be assured a representative there :-)  Im also glad to hear that in true FOSS fashion he wont be relocating.   The more Sun decentralizes geographically the better (says the recent Austin emigre).

Welcome Ian!


PS look for the answers to the Saints tomorrow.

Pau for now... 


I look after Sun's relationships with the various GNU/Linux communities as well as our relationship with the FSF. Last year, my family and I emigrated from Silicon Valley to Austin, TX.


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