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....

Friday Jul 11, 2008

Talking with Zmanda's CEO, Chander Kant

At the Red Hat Summit I was able to grab sometime with Chander Kant, CEO of open source back-up provider, Zmanda.

I had previously met Chander at the MySQL conference where they were named a partner of the year, but we didn't get a chance to talk much.  It was pretty cool to hear about how he originally identified the opportunity for Zmanda and then built a business around it.

My interview with Chander (13:27)  Listen (Mp3) Listen (ogg)

Some of the topics we tackle:

  • How Zmanda was founded around the Amanda project, and how Chander realized there was a business to be built around it.
  • How Zmanda's subscription-based model works and how they offer both community and enterprise editions
  • The OS's they support including the wide range of distros
  • Working with Amazon in the S3 cloud for the past 18 mos.
  • GPLv2 and the watchful eye Chander is keeping on v3
  • How to get involved in the community
  • What the future holds (hint: some of it involves an announcement re. Oracle, better ZFS integration and much more)
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...

Tuesday Jun 24, 2008

RH Summit/FUDcon: Pics and Podcasts

Below are a few more pictures from the Red Hat Summit and FUDCon last week.

Just to keep you comin' back for more, below is the list of podcasts from the events that I will be posting in upcoming days:

Podcasts to come/Posted

BTW the person in the upper left hand corner is Mairin Duffy of Fedora/Red Hat who designed and produced the super cool FUDCon shirts using Free Software.

Pau for now...

Monday Jun 23, 2008

Back From Boston and the Red Hat Summit and FUDCON

The second half of last week I attended the Red Hat Summit and FUDCon which Sun and MySQL were silver sponsors of.  The events were co-located at the Hynes convention center in Boston. 

Although both events featured an impressive list of topics and tracks, other than the keynotes I spent the majority of my time meeting and talking to people.   One of my goals was to figure out how Sun can better work with Fedora to get more of our software into their distro. 

A few key Fedorans: Max Spevak, Dennis Gilmore, Tom "Spot" Callaway, Jeremy Katz, Paul Frields, Jesse Keating. 

President and CEO Jim Whitehurst chats with Fedora board member, Karsten Wade, while Spot keeps a watchful eye out for ninjas. 

Notes from Jim Whitehurst's two talks 

I saw Red Hat's CEO speak both at the opening keynote as well as to the assembled Fedorans at FUDCon.  Here are the high-level notes I took: 

The Keynote 

Jim has only been CEO since the beginning of this year and his speech was short on vision and long on reassuring the assembled customers, partners and developers that he was true to the company's open source vision. 

  • Red Hat is the leader in Open Source "period, full stop."
  • One of the greatest features of Open Source is that the best ideas win.
  • Jim discussed the recent patent settlement that Red Hat made talking about how it was the first time a patent settlement was made that was consistent with the GPL.
  • Red Hat will remain 100% Open Source and has no intention of becoming proprietary.
  • Job #1 is execute, execute, execute.
  • RH will be delivering more products this year than any other year in the past.
  • Service and Support are not career backwaters, the are key career paths.
  • Red Hat's weakness is they are not always the easiest company to work with.
  • The company's goal is to make community innovation accessible to their customers.
  • Jim talked about unlocking the closed software that is hidden away inside of corporations and gave the examples of JPMorgan and a Canadian Insurance company that turned projects of theirs over to the community

At FUDcon

Jim only spoke for about 20 minutes and then turned it over to questions from the audience.  I was impressed at how open he seemed and genuinely interested he was in the ideas and suggestions that came from the audience.   He was quite relaxed and let the session run over the allotted hour.

One area that he cleared up was Red Hat's desktop strategy which he said was to be a player in the enterprise desktop but not the consumer market.  Also when asked about the "Spaceman" he commented that he had never met Mark Shuttleworth but had some issues with the way Canonical did some things pointing out that while they may comply with the letter of the GPL, Ubuntu didn't necessarily comply with its spirit.

Stay Tuned

Right after the FUDcon talk I was able to grab Jim for a few minutes for a podcast.  I hope to have that up in a few days for all to hear. 

Sunset across the Charles taken at the Thursday night party at the Prudential Tower's Skywalk Observatory

Pau for now...

Tuesday Jun 17, 2008

In Boston for Red Hat Summit and FUDCon

I just got into Boston a couple of hours ago.  It sure is a heck of a lot cooler that Austin right now.

As the title of this blog alludes Im here to attend the Red Hat Summit and FUDCon which are co-located for the first time.  I'm looking forward to seeing some of the Fedora guys I met at JavaOne like Karsten, Fitz and Pat and meeting new folks.  I've got my podcast recorder with me and hope to grab a bunch of interviews.  Some potential targets: Jim Zemlin of the Linux Foundtaion, Gordon Haff of Iluminata, Brian Stevens Red Hat's CTO and a bunch of Fedora developers.  I'm also curious to see Jim Whitehurst speak and see if I might even be able to grab him.

BTW Bostonians must be glad to see me here.  Last time I was in Beantown the Sox won the series.  I'm sure my presence this time will be what it takes for the Celts to triumph over the Lakers.

Pau for now..

Update:  The Celtics won.  (Darn, I'm better than a rabbit's foot!)


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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