Thursday Mar 04, 2010

/etc/init.d/blog start

Welcome to the Ksplice blog!

I struggled for quite some time coming up with a grand opening for this blog. Something profound like "We the people, in order to form more perfect computing..." or "The history of the world is the history of rebooting". But that proved too hard, so instead, I want to take a moment to briefly tell the Ksplice story, in the hopes of providing a bit more insight into who we are and what we're all about.

Ksplice was born on a beautiful summer day back in 2006. Crickets chirping, little kids splashing each other by the pool, ice cream trucks, etc. Ksplice's CEO, Jeff Arnold, then a student, was administering some very popular servers at MIT. A software update came out in the middle of the week, and, as any prudent system administrator would, he scheduled an outage window for the following Sunday at 2am, so as to disrupt as few users as possible, and went along his merry way.

Swimming pool
Where I wish I had been, Summer 2006
Of course, something much more sinister was lying in wait. Someone took advantage of the very bug that the update would have fixed, and used it to break into the system. I'm told that this event inspired the Alanis Morissette song, Ironic, but that "It's like the security update / when you're already hacked" didn't quite have the right rhythm to it.

You know how every superhero has some sort of traumatic childhood event that totally explains them? Like Bruce Wayne, Peter Parker, or even Fox Mulder? This was it for Ksplice---and really got Jeff thinking "Why do software updates have to be so disruptive?"

So he set out to solve the problem, in his award-winning master's thesis. The rest was a no-brainer: the need was obviously there, so he, Tim Abbott, Anders Kaseorg, and I founded Ksplice, Inc. in June of 2008.

Declaration of Independence
Ksplice, Inc.'s founding charter


A lot has stayed the same since June 2008: we're still slaving away in Cambridge, Massachusetts, working hard to bring you the finest-quality updates made only from fresh, organic free-range kernel source code. But a lot has also changed. For example, we're now up to twenty-something men and women. I've honestly lost count of the exact number (good thing I don't do payroll).

We're also a really tight-knit group, and share an interesting background: we're all humans, we all went to MIT, we all studied computer science, and we all were in MIT's student computing group, SIPB, together.

As you might have guessed, we like to geek out about, well, basically everything, and I'd be very surprised if that doesn't come out in this blog. The authorship of posts here will also rotate fairly regularly among my fellow Ksplicians (or is it Ksplicers?), and I'm definitely looking forward to their posts and your comments.

So go and add this to your Google Reader, Twitter, or whatever it is the kids are using to read blogs these days--you'll be glad you did.

~wdaher

About

Tired of rebooting to update systems? So are we -- which is why we invented Ksplice, technology that lets you update the Linux kernel without rebooting. It's currently available as part of Oracle Linux Premier Support, Fedora, and Ubuntu desktop. This blog is our place to ramble about technical topics that we (and hopefully you) think are interesting.

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