The Bright Shining Mind of Masood Mortazavi
By Janice J. Heiss on Mar 13, 2009
One of the real pleasures of my job is getting to interview so many bright and wonderful people who work at Sun. Masood Mortazavi certainly is one of them. His range of knowledge was so impressive that we decided to do a two-part interview with him.
In the first interview he gave some challenging warnings about the dangers of the web for our well being, and even stated that, "Computers and the Internet are in serious danger of destroying personal relationships."
I can see how, to the extent that they take us away from face to face, personal interactions with other people, there's a problem. A virtual community simply can't give you what a physical one can in terms of human connection.
Among issues covered in Part One:
\* Contrary to the claims of Bill Joy and others about the future danger of artificial intelligence, ”As technologists, we have failed in the past and will fail in the future to create something that is computational and robotic and enough like ourselves to pose an existential threat to us.”
\* ”Working on bugs," says Masood, "is the best way to learn about complex systems of code as well as simple ones. In fact, if we think of missing features as ‘bugs’ in disguise, we can learn about programs as we ‘fix’ them.”
\* He agrees with virtual reality pioneer Jaron Lanier that "there’s something quite disturbing about the cult of personality (or cult of personalities) that has developed in some open-source communities, which usually occurs because the processes of some particular community have been too weak to encourage self-organization and self-management."
In Part Two of the interview, Masood talks more concretely about his work as a developer and a manager of other developers.
Among the topics explored:
\* His work managing a group of database engineers at Sun, including work related to Java DB (Apache Derby) and
\* The project management challenges involved in software engineering
\* The particular challenges running projects that are part of open-source communities
\* His patents and inventions
\* The importance of emotional alertness for developers
\* Java platform changes that have made his life easier
Masood's diverse gifts make him a treasure to the Sun community.
Be sure to check out Masood's 2 blogs on java.net and on blogs.sun.com where his always popular Sun blog is called "On the Margins."