Tuesday Mar 22, 2005

Transparency & Passion



Danese talks open source transparency and passion in this Mad Penguin Q&A -- Danese Cooper: reflections of an open source diva. Really nice piece if you are interested in a summary of her experiences at Sun doing open source. And some stuff from before Sun, too.

I particularly like this graph on transparency from the ACT! 2000 project at Symantec:

What they didn't realize was that we had taken this idea of transparency to heart, and we decided to run ACT! 2000 from an engineering perspective and a design perspective as a massively transparent project. We put everything on the web inside of Symantec. We essentially used open source and extreme programming methods to create ACT! 2000, and we got two-thirds of the way through the project before senior management realized that we had drastically changed the methodology. Of course, they had a fit. But when we shipped it, ACT! 2000 cleared 1500 bugs out of the queue that had been there for years and years, because we had that much extra time! We had pre-validated all of the designs, and developed everything transparently, so everyone knew everything that was happening the whole time. The whole process worked so much better, that I was completely sold on this model.

Cool. I think there's enough evidence from various open source projects these days to demonstrate that transparent development works on multiple levels. But notice Danese says "from an engineering perspective...."  Why just engineering? Imagine running the whole project in a transparent way -- engineering, project management, marketing, branding, legal, PR, sales, business development, service, everything. Is that possible? Just how would you open source the entire process? If the engineers are opening up, the other guys ought to open up, too, don't you think?

Ok. Back to the Q&A. Here we have some Danese thoughts on OpenSolaris:

OpenSolaris I think is going to be interesting. More so than the Open Source community thinks. I was interested in it partially because I was interested in creating change at Sun and it's a huge engine for change. It's so core to the company and there are so many of the company's engineers involved who haven't actually done Open Source before so it's got to change things. Additionally there is a vibrant community, I'm convinced. After watching the pilot project start up and noticing how much non-Sun interest there is in the project. People interested in getting a hold of that code and doing interesting things with it. I think it's going to surprise the Open Source community how much passion there will be in that project. One of the things that the Open Source community misses is that they assume that OpenSolaris is trying for the same kind of community that they have. You know, the Linux people assume that it's going to be like Linux, or that it's trying to kill Linux, and the BSD people assume the community is going to run like BSD. I think that it's going to find its own level and I think the OpenSolaris community will enjoy being involved with it, and whether or not the ideas bleed out into the other operating systems isn't as important as whether or not they can build a vibrant community around that technology and keep it going because they've spent years writing it. It has every bit of as much right as everybody else's work to continue to live. Diversity is a good thing.

Very nice.

Technorati Tags: OpenSolaris | Solaris

Saturday Mar 19, 2005

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. :)

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