Matthew Szulik : Paraphrased Sound Bites

As I mentioned before, I had the opportunity to see Matthew Szulik speak this morning. I also brought up his intense, tribal intro video, which can be seen here. (Interestingly, while the video is apparently not in a proprietary format, it was played on Windows Media Player…but we won’t hold it against Matt. ๐Ÿ™‚ )

While the “Open Source Hippy” part of me has a bit of a “grudge” against Red Hat – after all, they “sold out”, didn’t they? why would I listen to him talk about “community”? – Mr. Szulik said a few rather interesting and poignant things having to do with the “new way” sort of approach of open source in general, and linux in particular. He also tempered this by saying things like,

[The linux desktop] is a little like teenage sex; everyone’s talking about it, but nobody’s really doing it”

Put in those terms, I guess that makes me one of the “cool kids“. ๐Ÿ™‚

Another topic of note was the difficulty of enabling creative, smaht young kids with brilliant idears (it turns out that Mr. Szulik is a New Englander). The difficult part is setting up a management and advancement hierarchy that allows these “creative types” to be creative without either complete anarchy or stifling beaurocracy. An interesting facet of this problem that I had not considered was the issue of promotions. In an organization that relies on the creative collaboration of brilliant youngsters, the typical advancement scheme of Peon->Lower,Middle,Upper Management->VP isn’t necessarily desirable, as the talents of any given engineer in a management position are really wasted. It’s not clear, however, that the solution to the problem is to stick all engineers into permanent peon-itude. (Being an engineer, I can positively say that this latter approach is not The Way).

An additional piece of this problem was brought to my attention by a friend who actually worked for a dot-com during The Bubble at its high point. Like all the rest of the wildly successful dot-coms, her particular company was drunk on VC funds and hemoraghing cash; everyone working for the company became a millionaire, more or less overnight. The difficulty then basically boiled down to this: How does one maintain a collaborative community of dedicated, idealistic, young individuals…when all of those individuals are driving Beemers? Say what you like about “Money isn’t everything”…that kind of differential in means brings about a drastic change in the way in which people think. I’m willing to bet that if every developer on every open source project were to inherit a million dollars overnight, the open source movement would come to a screeching halt…as it necessarily should in that situation, were it to occur. After all, it’s hard to be a “starving artist engineer” when you’re…err…not at all “starving”.

At any rate, these are the sorts of thoughts that came to me as I think about Matthew Szulik’s talk. I’d like to get a chance to talk to him some more about some of these things – in particular, I’d like to ask him how he responds to the attitude of the community toward Red Hat as a “traitor”. Maybe I’ll ask around and see if he’s still in Charlotte…


Matthew Szulik : Monday morning plenary

I’m sitting in on the 10AM plenary, which will be given by Matthew Szulik, president and CEO of Red Hat. I just found out this morning that he would be speaking; I’m looking forward to his talk (if they ever get past the preamble; man that’s an intense intor video!). More after the talk.

ASIS&T 2005

I’ve arrived in Charlotte, NC for the ASIS&T 2005 conference. The flight was okay (read: short) other than the 2-hour layover at ATL; one finds some pretty interesting (read: neurotic) people in airport bars.

The Westin Charlotte is a pretty excellent hotel – upon seeing it, my buddy Jopop asked, “You’re staying in the Motorola RAZR?” – and while I haven’t stayed at many hotels, this is one of the nicest hotel rooms that I’ve had. I can attest to the fact that the Heavenly Shower is, in fact, just that.

The downside: wired internet in the room is $10/day, and wireless internet in the public spaces requires a “Group Code”; I’ve been unable to locate said “Code” thus far, but I’ll be investigating it shortly. For now, I’ll just have to keep “posting” to my text editor and hope that a connection to teh Intarwebs presents itself before I get back home.

Update : I seem to have found an access point in the 1st floor lounge. I don’t think that it’s coming from the hotel – I’m most likely hijacking someone’s wireless across the street – but at least it gives me a chance to post and check email…and play my turns on LotGD ๐Ÿ™‚

Ubuntu Blog

I stumbled upon Ubuntu Blog today (one of today’s “Hot Blogs” on the main page).

Ubuntu is, in my humble opinion the easiest and best way to switch from Windows to a free/open-source operating system. In order to make your transition easier, and to help those that have started using ubuntu, this weblog will feature a series of articles with tips and tricks.

Most of the “tips and tricks” so far are fairly Ubuntu-specific, but some of it might be of general use to linux users. Check it out!

Meet the Flockers

…or rather, the “anti-Flockers“:

Fighting the Web 2.0 revolution is important.
Itโ€™s about less hipsters on the Internet.
Itโ€™s about getting real and less hype.
Itโ€™s our blog.

I can’t quite figure out why this guy is so angry about Flock. He’s laid down some pretty fierce invective speech, ranting about topics from fonts on the Flock website to the Flock source code:

…when you break Flock into parts in terms of file size, it is 85% Firefox, 7% of colours matching pink and 2% of the Flock GPL license and 6% percent of .js files. Now isnโ€™t this awesome?

Note that if you are under 18 (or overly sensitive to language consiting of an approx. 75% mix of rather naughty words), you shouldn’t click on any of the above links (save perhaps the one to Flock itself). ๐Ÿ™‚

Pure Pwnage (again)

I know that I mentioned pure pwnage before on my old blog, but I thought that this pic of teh_pwnerer himself mugging beside a No Noobs sign was too good to pass up posting:

I don’t know why I get such a kick outta this…I just do, okay?

Rosa Parks Tribute

‘Nuff said.