Wednesday Aug 27, 2008

Mark Shuttleworth: from Debian Developer to Ubuntu Founder

The other podcast that I did while I was at Debconf8 down in Argentina was with the ever charming Mark Shuttleworth, Debian developer in a past-life and founder of the Debian-based Ubuntu.  Take a listen! (pay no attention to my sniffling and broken Spanish in the beginning :)

My interview with Mark (15:33)  Listen (Mp3) Listen (ogg)

If you havent met Mark he's 6'10" (notice the relative size of the cup).  As a student he was starting guard on the Capetown Krugerrands pro basketball team.\*

Some of the topics we tackle:

  • How mark got involved with Debian back in '93-- he noticed the lack of an Apache package so he banged one together and contributed it
  • After he sold his first company, what drove him to found Ubuntu and why did he choose to base it on Debian?
  • What is the business model behind Canonical and how has it evolved over time, particularly when in the case of Ubuntu, "the bits are free" (from technical support contracts to custom engineering)
  • Where will Ubuntu most likely get traction in the enterprise, via the server or desktop?
  • The trends Mark sees in the industry today
  • The Ubuntu+Red Hat+SUSE+ IBM "Microsoft-Free desktop" announcement that was made at Linux World and how this represents "a shift in what's possible"
  • Where Mark sees Ubuntu two years from now, what its like being your own angel investor and does Mark have an exit strategy?

\*(Mark really isn't 6'10 and I don't think there is such a team as the Capetown Krugerrands).

Pau for now...

Friday Aug 22, 2008

An Inside look at Debian -- Chatting with DPL Steve McIntyre

Down in Argentina I grabbed some time with Steve McIntyre, Debian's 11th project leader since its founding 15 years ago.  Steve has been on the job since April of this year and I checked in to see how it was going.

My interview with Steve (17:36)  Listen (Mp3) Listen (ogg)

Right after this picture was taken Steve took second in the Mar Del Plata Caber toss

Some of the Topics we tackle: 

  • What Steve's been doing his first four months on the job
  • The survey he sent out to all the teams to see what was working and what wasn't, and what he learned
  • Progress on the search for the sender of the death threats
  • The dunc-tank brouhaha and how things have quieted since then
  • The power of derivatives (e.g. Ubuntu, the City of Munich, Spain...) and trying to make it easier for them to contribute back.
  • How decisions are made in this organized chaos -- a do-ocracy rather than a democracy and how things be dictatorial as a release nears
  • How Debian is similar to

Extra credit reading: Debian GNU/Linux: 15 years old and at the Crossroads

Pau for now...

Wednesday Jul 16, 2008

DGilmore on the Fedora SPARC port

Continuing in my series of podcasts from the Red Hat Summit  and FUDCon, here is an interview with Dennis Gilmore the soft spoken ex-Aussie and key member of the Aurora SPARC Linux project.  Dennis is a Fedora community member but, as I found out, doesn't work for Red Hat but instead is employed by One Laptop Per Child.

My interview with Dennis (10:40)  Listen (Mp3) Listen (ogg)

Former Aussie and current Cubbies fan. 

Some of the topics we tackle:

  • Fedora and its quest to support SPARC
  • Making it so OpenJDK can run on SPARC -- How thanks to the hard work of Dennis and others, OpenJDK for SPARC  32 and 64 patches have been sent up stream and accepted so all flavors of GNU/linux can benefit.
  • The packages are now available on the Aurora mirrors.
  • How Aurora rose like a majestic phoenix from the ashes of the former official Red Hat SPARC port
  • Dennis' passion for obscure Hardware and the mini-home datacenter in his basement
  • How Dennis got involved in the world of Fedora and SPARC
Pau for now....

Monday Jul 07, 2008

Chattin' with The Linux Foundation's Executive Director, Jim "Led" Zemlin

I'm back from my week of vacation and am ready to pick up where I left off with the interviews I conducted at the Red Hat Summit/FUDCon last month.  After today's, I will have three left: Dennis Gilmore, Max Spevack and Chander Kant of Zmanda.

The Honourable James Zemlin

On the first day of the Summit I was able to grab my buddy Jim Zemlin, the Executive Director of the Linux Foundation for a spirited discussion about the Foundation, Linux and a bunch more. 

My interview with Jim (15:55)  Listen (Mp3) Listen (ogg)

Jimmy Z, all badged-up and ready to roll! 

Some of the topics we tackle:

  • What exactly does the Linux Foundation do? 
  • Fighting the anti-Linux FUD that comes from Microsoft and "others"
  • List of events coming up that the LF is involved with like the Kernel Summit and the Plumbers Conference.
  • Props for Sam Ramji of Microsoft
  • How Marten Mickos did at the Linux Foundation summit
  • Will Sun release more of its Free Software under the GPLv2?
  • IBM and their mix of Free and proprietary Software
  • What Jim plans to do at the RedHat Summit
Pau for now...

Thursday Jun 26, 2008

Sun and Red Hat talk Open JDK

At last week's Red Hat summit I grabbed Boston local and Sun employee Rich Sands and Toronto-ite/Red Hat employee Tom Fitzsimmons for a podcast.  Rich is the Sun marketing guy for OpenJDK and Tom is one of the key engineers at Red Hat who've been working on IcedTea/OpenJDK.  (Last time I met Tom was at JavaOne where we did this podcast).

The day was a particularly auspicious one for not only was it the day Boston was celebrating the Celtics victory with a humungous parade, but it was also the day it was announced that the OpenJDK in Fedora 9 passed the Java TCK.

My interview with Tom and Rich (13:25)  Listen (Mp3) Listen (ogg)

Rich Sands of Sun (left) and Tom Fitzsimmons of Red Hat (funny thing is Tom is only 5'8") 

Some of the topics we tackle:

  • The people who make up the Red Hat/Fedora Iced Tea team.
  • The significance of passing the TCK and what a milestone achievement it is
  • Tom as the demo-dude floor demonstrating OpenJDK in Fedora on the show floor and the reactions he's been getting.
  • What's coming for Fedora 10
  • What about the Java plugin and Webstart from Sun and the implementations of these that Fedora has created
  • JRuby and Jython running on OpenJDK in Fedora
Pau for now...

My Interview with Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst

Figuring I had nothing to lose, the first day of the Red Hat summit I introduced myself to Red Hat's new CEO and president, Jim Whitehurst and asked if he would be up for a podcast. 

Instead of making up some plausible excuse, he was very receptive and gave me his card.  He also gave me his cell number and told me to give him a call the following day to set something up.

When we got together I was very impressed with how approachable and down to earth Jim was as well as his excitement and enthusiasm for his job.  Take a listen...

My interview with Jim (12:10)  Listen (Mp3) Listen (ogg)

Fedora fan #1, Jim Whitehurst

Some of the topics we tackle:

  • How Jim heard about the opportunity at Red Hat
  • Jim's programming background and his work at Delta as COO
  • Matt Szulik is the visionary, Jim's emphasis is on execution and "focus, focus, focus"
  • Red Hat is "all in" when it comes to open source and how their last non-free offering (RHN satellite) went free that day.
  • Proprietary software isn't wrong, open source is simply a better model (that being said, he'd love to see IBM open source DB2)
  • His conversation with Jonathan Schwartz and the challenge that Jonathan faces
  • Reaching out to other open source players and taking them to dinner
  • What are Jim's biggest opportunities and challenges
  • Jim's key areas of focus for Red Hat (a couple of which are virtualization and making sure Linux is "cloud ready")
Pau for now...

Wednesday May 28, 2008

Talking with Meena: Open HA Cluster - Whole Enchilada now Open-sourced

As of today, the third, final and largest code release for Open High Availability Cluster has been made available.  This now means that all of the Open HA Cluster code is available as free software.   This will allow developers and admins to access and build complete HA solutions built on source code from the OpenSolaris project.

Right before the launch I grabbed some time with Meenakshi Kaul-Basu, the engineering director at Sun responsible for Availability products, and whose group the Open HA Cluster falls under.  Take a listen to Meenakshi's explanation of the event and her insight:

My interview with Meenakshi (9:29)  Listen (Mp3) Listen (ogg)

Some of the topics we tackle:

  • The first phase of the open code release was the Cluster agent in June of last year.  Phase two was in December and and was for the Geographic edition.
  • This third release represents nearly two million lines of code (and this number doesn't include the test code).
  • In addition to code it also comes with docs and internationalization functionality as well as the above mentioned automated testing.
  • Open HA cluster is tightly integrated with built-in OpenSolaris features like ZFS technology.
  • Integration of Open HA Cluster with free software apps like ,Apache TomcatMySQL, PostreSQL, Glassfish...
  • Where can you get started? (Here
  • How to join the discussion (HA cluster forum)

BTW: for a bevy of engineering details, check out Oasis, the Sun Cluster group blog.

Pau for now...

Monday Apr 21, 2008

MySQL Conf08 - Marten Mickos tells all

At the end of the first day of the MySQL conference and expo I caught up with Marten Mickos former MySQL CEO and current Sun Database SVP.   Marten was in high spirits and eloquent as always.

My interview with Marten (10:29)  Listen (Mp3)   Listen (ogg)

Marten worked the floor like the consummate host he is. 

Some of the topics we tackle:

  • How he felt the first day of the conference went.
  • How MySQL employees took the news that they were being acquired and the range of emotions it engendered.
  • The "on-boarding" process at Sun and how Sun Visors have been the key.
  • What it means to go from being an employee of a 400 person company to being the employee of a 32,000 person company.
  • What Marten's priorities have been in these first few weeks.
  • The awards that were given out.

Pau for now....

Wednesday Apr 09, 2008

Dalibor joining Sun (Yippee!)

I just saw the link in Simon's blog saying that it was now official, Dalibor Topic will be joining Sun as our Java F/OSS Ambassador.  

Nis may by Nice, but I'm Hamburg bound!

Dalibor has been a tireless champion for Free Java and has been instrumental in bringing several Java technology-oriented free software projects together such as GNU Classpath, Kaffe and GNU Compiler for Java.   Over the years, Dalibor has gone from Sun critic to supporter and, as of last JavaOne, he has been a member of the OpenJDK interim governance board

In the role of Java F/OSS Ambassador, Dalibor will taking over where the magnificent M. Tom Marble left off.

Listen to What the Man Said 

If you want to get a sense for Dalibor and his thinking, check out this podcast I did with him last Fall at Sun's internal FOSS Summit.

My Interview with Dalibor (10:41)  Listen (Mp3)    Listen (ogg)

Welcome Dalibor and I look forward to working with you!

Pau for now...

Monday Mar 17, 2008

Two More OGB Interviews: Ken Mays, Alan Coopersmith

Here are two more and, most probably, the final interviews with the '08 Open Solaris Governing Board candidates.  Voting ends a week from today (March 24th) and the results will be announced next Tuesday.

Good luck to all!

Ken Mays (6:10)  Listen (Mp3)    Listen (ogg)

Alan Coopersmith (7:41)  Listen (Mp3)    Listen (ogg)


Pau for now... 

Tuesday Feb 26, 2008

Peter Bojanic of Lustre - Hows the integration going? Advice for MySQL?

With the MySQL closing hapening today, I thought I'd check in with someone from a similar past acquisition and see how it was going.  So I picked up the phone and called Peter Bojanic, director of Lustre up in Halifax

Lustre, as you may remember was acquired by Sun near the end of last year.  Like MySQL, it is basically a virtual company and its employees are spread all over the world.  Also like MySQL, and even to a greater degree, it is business is focused on the GNU/Linux platform (in fact, it is a key element of the new CentOS-based Ranger supercomputer).


My interview with Peter (7:08)  Listen (Mp3)    Listen (ogg)

Some of the topics we tackle: 

  • How the first three months of integration has gone for Lustre
  • How the Lustre integration and its geographically dispersed workers have served as a template for the MySQL integration
  • What advice he has for MySQL regarding the acquisition
  • The strong surge in support for GNU/Linux that he has seen at Sun
  • Sun's focus on Open Source and doing things in an open way.

Wednesday Jan 16, 2008

Welcome Marten and MySQL! -- My Interview with Marten

What fantastic news to read first thing this morning, Sun announces agreement to acquire MySQL!  (Check out the details from Jonathan in his entry this morning.)

Some of Sun's acquisitions in the past have been, shall we say, not that intuitive to me but this one I get.  This reaffirms our commitment to Free and open source software and, as Simon points out, means that we now have the ability to offer support on a full web operating system - OpenSolaris, Glassfish, MySQL, NetBeans and much more - something we can sell. 

GNU/Linux and beyond

What this further underlines for me is our commitment beyond the Sun stack and to the ecosystem.   Besides the SAMP (Solairs, Apache, MySQL, Perl/Python/PHP) stack, we will be investing in and optimizing for LAMP (Linux), WAMP (Windows) and MAMP (Mac).  As the "GNU/Linux guy" I'm excited how, like Lustre before it, this move serves to further bolster Sun's presence in the GNU/Linux space.

The day of the monolithic Sun stack is dead.  The world that we live in today (and for awhile) is about mixing and matching architectures and platforms whether thats Solaris on Dell, Ubuntu on SPARC or MySQL on an old Sun Enterprise 4000 running OpenBSD.

Marten Mickos in his afternoon keynote on day 2 at UbuntuLive. \*

Welcome Marten

I am also quite excited that Marten Mikos, MySQL's CEO will be joining Sun's senior executive team.  I had the good fortune to keynote alongside Marten at Linuxworld Open Solutions Summit Sweden .  He's a very sharp as well extremely likable guy.

I first met Marten at UbuntuLive and was able to grab him for an interview after his keynote.  (Its interesting listening to this again, in light of today's news -- good thing he said nice things about Jonathan since he will now be working for him :)

My interview with Marten (6:10)  Listen (Mp3)    Listen (ogg)

Some of the topics we tackle: 

  • The LAMP, SAMP and WAMP stacks
  • How Marten got involved with MySQL
  • 110 airports
  • The two audiences that MySQL serves -- the ones who'll spend time to save money and the ones who'll spend money to save time
  • How he thinks Jonathan Schwartz has done so far.

 \* See more professional pics from Ubuntu Live by Duncan Davidson (the first one is of myself and David Duffey, who turned me on to the pics, competing in the Bungee run. I won :)

Pau for now...

Wednesday Aug 22, 2007

My Interview with Sam Ramji of Microsoft

The day before OSCON officially kicked off, Jim Zemlin of the Linux Foundation introduced me to Sam Ramji, director of Microsoft's Open Source Software Lab.  Seeing the opportunity for an interesting interview I asked Sam if he'd be up for a "recorded chat." 

He graciously agreed and here's the result: Listen to the Inteview (8:27)

Topics:  Where the Open Source Software Lab fits within Microsoft; How big is Sam's group; When software technologies compete, you win;  What reaction does he get when he turns up at FOSS events; Debating Eben Moglen at OSBC -- no one wants patent Armageddon;  Is there a Wubuntu in the works?.

Note: This interview took place two days before Microsoft General Manager of Platform Strategy Bill Hilf announced that Microsoft was submitting its shared source licenses to the Open Source Initiative and that the company was launching an open source site -- moves that prompted this supportive article from Matt Asay, this entry from Miguel de Icaza as well as this analysis from Glyn Moody.

Oh, and lets not forget Chris DiBona of Google's negative reaction  and Ashlee's reaction to his reaction as well as  more thoughts in general, both supportive and questioning. 

May you live in interesting times... :) 

Pau for now...


Update:  ...And it related news, this just in: Microsoft kills its ‘Get the Facts’ anti-Linux site   Nice!

Monday Aug 20, 2007

My Interview with Ashlee Vance of the Register

Ashlee Vance, Enterprise Editor, The Register  Listen to the Interview (7:55)

I first met Ashlee Vance last year at the Ubuntu Developer Summit in Mountain View.  Given the snarky style with which he writes and the fact that the Register is a British endeavor I had pictured Ashlee to be some foppish Brit with spectacles and maybe a bow tie. 

The occasion of the meeting was to discuss the fact that Canonical was certifying Sun's servers for Ubuntu and that Glassfish would be a part of the Feisty Faun release.  When I got in the room where the chat was going to be held I saw a somewhat schlubby looking American guy who I assumed to be an Ubuntu hacker who had wandered into the wrong room.  Turns out this was Ashlee. 

Unlike what I had expected, Ashlee was very mellow and unassuming, I guess the better to lull his prey into a false since of security :)   If you're not familiar with Ashlee's articles here are a few recent ones that will give you an idea of his style:

Less than a month ago I had a chance to run into Ashlee again up at OSCON.  The result of that meeting is the following interview

Topics: He's neither British nor a woman; What it means to be a snarky writer; What he shares with Mark Shuttleworth; Open Source does it matter as a term, isn't it simply a different distribution method?  What is the OSI thinking;  How he's come to terms with his name.

Pau for now...

Monday Aug 13, 2007

My Interveiw with Gordon Haff of Iluminata

Ive still got a handful of interviews to roll out from OSCON as well as a couple new ones I taped last week at Linux world.  After getting feedback though, Ive decided to offer them up one at a time instead of  pushing out a whole bunch at once.


Gordon Haff   Principal IT Advisor, Illuminata      Listen to the Interview (5:38)

Today's talk is one that I had with Gordon Haff during O'Reilly Radar on the first day of OSCON.  I chatted with Gordon about his impressions of UbuntuLive;  His take on the spirited discussion between Eben Moglen and Tim O'Reilly; The importance of Open Data; and GPLv3.

For you reference, here is something Gordon wrote about OSCON the day after I met with him: 5 Questions to Ponder from OSCON.   As well as a couple of his postings on GPLv3 that I mention in the interview: GPLv3 Grinds Along -- Does it Matter (April 6, '07) and Linux and GPLv3: A Legal Take.

Gordon is a Principal IT Advisor with Illuminata and was at OSCON covering open source business models and licensing.  Recently Ive seen a bunch of Gordon, first at OSCON then last week at the T2 launch and then later that same day for drinks that Sun was hosting in conjunction with Linux World at the W in San Francisco.  Who knows where he'll pop up next!?

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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