About Me and the OGB

Why Run?

I'm running for a position on the OpenSolaris Governing Board (OGB). The OpenSolaris Community is completing its second very successful year, and as we approach that anniversary we are actually addressing some of the most important issues to date -- development infrastructure, website functionality, global community growth, governance, the role of Sun, the role of the OGB, the migration of large numbers of Solaris engineers to open development, relationships with other communities, and many other issues. No individual board member can be expert in all areas, or even have interest in all areas, and I'm surely no exception. But I'd like to be involved in some key functions that I feel passionate about. I also have the least amount of technical experience of all the candidates in the field, so I'm bound to offer a somewhat different perspective on some of these things. That's why I'm running.

Background

I've been at Sun for almost seven years in a variety of project management positions. I've worked on several Corporate Communications teams for the Java organization, and I've also worked with the tools and standards groups and many of Sun's open source development projects. I also did a year as an executive speech writer for a couple of Sun's executive vice presidents. Overall, I've logged nine years in communications at five companies (Sun, 3Com, Network World, Tufts University, Animals Magazine) in three industries (high tech, publishing, medical sciences). More than three years ago, I moved from Sun's Corporate Communications group to the OpenSolaris project in engineering. I'm the Community Manager on the team, and I've been involved since the beginning.

In general, I'm fascinated with how things are designed and built and with the people doing the building and managing. I used to run my own construction business in New York, so I see software engineering and open source development as a similar experience to construction in many ways. I have also written and edited and published a lot of articles and dealt with a lot of technical people, so I see communications and logistics as a critical part of software development as well. All my life all I've done is project management, and I'm still doing it now.

My Position for OpenSolaris

The OpenSolaris Community faces many issues, but we also have some amazing opportunities we can embrace as well. I'm  not going to address the more technical subjects because they are simply not where I spend my time and I have no real technical expertise to offer. Instead, I'm more concerned with how the community grows, how it functions, how it communicates with itself and with others, and how it maintains its values. That's my focus.

Growth: It's clear the OpenSolaris community is growing. What does it mean to have tends of thousands of people get involved in rapidly emerging markets like China and India? How will the culture of the OpenSolaris community change because of this trend? It's also clear that Sun wants the OpenSolaris community to grow since the company is not only funding the project itself, but it's also investing in new programs such as the global distribution of OpenSolaris Starter Kits that require registration to be fulfilled. That's a good thing, obviously, but global programs can have a significant impact on the community, and the OGB needs to be aware of such moves. We all want to grow, but how we grow and how we invest our resources to grow is just as important as the growth itself.

Participation: The OGB ought to encourage community participation and help facilitate that participation -- both within Sun and outside of Sun and in both technical and non-technical areas. Sounds simple? It's actually a pretty dynamic and challenging job that requires a complex mixing of cultures and the implementation of new technology. It takes time and tools and ultimately requires a lot of face-to-face contact to support the ongoing online operations. Also, the OGB needs to address the challenge of increasing participation across the natural barriers of language and culture around the world.

Values: The OpenSolaris Community has a fine set of documented values. The OGB should actively lead the promotion of those values so we remain an open, honest, honorable, respectful community. Recently, our values have been tested, and in some areas trust has broken down. The new OGB will have to emphasize values as a core competency for community participation. Community members need to feel that OpenSolaris is a welcoming community and one that values diverse opinions and new ideas.

Communication: The OGB needs to establish ongoing communication channels with the community and with Sun's executives. The OGB will probably have to build new lines of communication to other open source communities and perhaps other companies in the future, as well. There are clear communication challenges that can be addressed, especially between Sun's executive management and the OpenSolaris Community. So we may as well start talking. The OGB will only be successful in this area if it leads through an ethic of understated, consensus-building conversations. That's the only way the board will earn the respect of Sun, the community, and other organizations.

The current CAB/OGB did an excellent job of creating the OpenSolaris Charter and the OpenSolaris Constitution. The next OGB will have to bring those documents to life, so they are expressed in the community in ways in which we can all be proud. I'd very much like to be a part of that process.
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