Danese Inside

So, my friend Danese Cooper is going to Intel. (Some info on this little move here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here.) Cool. I now know someone at Intel. It's a really big place over there, but I haven't run into anyone at Intel over the years. So that's good. Sure, it's sad for those of us here at Sun who know her well (and who get her), but it's probably a wonderful opportunity. Go for it, Danese. You've earned it, and you deserve it. Whatever it is. :)

I met Danese pretty much as soon as I walked through the door here at Sun five years ago. Open source seemed much more interesting than doing product stuff, so I dove right in. I was in Software PR at the time (read: painful), and we were all getting ready for JavaOne or something. Things were frantic. I remember one time I was in some marketing meeting trying to keep up with the noise and the spin and all the executive gyrations and wondering what the hell I did coming to this nut house of a company in California. It was very different on the east coast where I came from. Anyway, in walks this redhead -- late, of course -- with a cell phone glued to her ear. She was talking low, holding a big bag, and wearing some sort of brightly colored flowing gown or something. She hugged people, too. How odd, I thought. Ok, this is California and I'm from New York. But we are at work, aren't we? So she then plops herself down and jumps right into the conversation in the room -- simultaneously monitoring and contributing to the conversation on the cell phone, of course. Who she was talking to I have no clue, but the exchange didn't seem related to the substance of this particular meeting. Or maybe it was. Perhaps it was all one big conversation to her. On the surface, I thought that this chick is loopy. But down deep my gut told me that this was someone very special, and I should pay very close attention. I somehow knew I shouldn't miss this. Whatever it was. Ok, so the meeting went on and on. And on. It was one of those weekly "launch" meetings before a big show. Then at one point while she was engaging in a rapid-fire conversation of some importance with some senior guys, she reached into her big bag -- still talking as she bent over to dig deep. What was she looking for? I figured she'd take out a document or something important to help make her point, right? Nope. Instead, she pulls out some long needles and yarn and starts knitting. Knitting? Who does this? What else does she have in that bag, anyway? Where am I? The conversation never skipped a beat, though. Solid, direct, focused -- and fascinating -- content flowing like a river out of her mouth to the rhythm of the swish-swish-swish sound of two metal needles wrestling with thread. Welcome to California, Jim. Welcome to Sun. Welcome to Danese.

Yah, I could talk about all the open source  projects she has worked on at Sun -- the licenses, the communities, the press and analyst and customer and developer briefings, the executive meetings, the multi-level back channel dealings, the times she got me out of serious trouble, the times she got me into serious trouble, the work advice, the personal advice, the never ending flow of ideas she offers free of charge, and all that. But all you really need to know about Danese is that she knits in meetings, she hugs people, she talks honestly, she knows interesting characters all over the place, and she'll help you whenever you need it no matter where she happens to be on the surface of the planet.

Have fun at Intel, babe! But don't change your cell phone number. :)


So I've always wondered...Sun has had Danese, an "open-souce diva" working for them for so long. I saw the /. thread which featured her a while back...Sun has always had such unix-ish geeky folk in the service of unix...yet somewhere along the line Sun became the bad guy in the Open Source world (very \*nix-ish)...and "someone else" took the crown of The Greatest Benefactor and Friend of the open source/Linux community. How did that happen? Carelessness? Hubris? Naivette?

Posted by guest on March 20, 2005 at 02:25 PM JST #

Its a good question. I think part of the answer lies in what Eric Raymond told me years ago...(my paraphrase) "Sun should be the closest friend of open source. They started with SunOS, which was BSD but along the way they broke covenant with the open source community. We [the Open Source community] simply hold them to a higher standard. We expect more from Sun."

Fair or not, I think that's about half of the issue. The other half is apparent inconsistency. IBM isn't doing more or better by the open source community, but they aren't as transparent, either. No proprietary company comes gracefully to open source. I admire Sun for continuing to course correct and learn about open source. Its easy to exploit and harder to try to actually show up.

As I was leaving Sun, I had a parting conversation with Jonathan Schwartz where he told me again that he wants to build even stronger bonds with the Open Source community. I believe that eventually all of Sun's software will be built on open source core.

Posted by Danese Cooper on March 21, 2005 at 04:37 AM JST #

Should have also thanked Jim for the very beautiful post. I'll miss you too, Jimbo (not that I won't see you...we are neighbors after all). Yes, I DO knit in meetings (not ALL meetings, just the ones where my mind is starting to wander :-) ). It helps me hear the meeting if one of the channels in my mind is busy. Call it ADD (or advanced multitasking).

Posted by Danese Cooper on March 21, 2005 at 04:42 AM JST #

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