Saturday, March 26, 2005

Mad Penguin Interview With Danese Cooper

A great interview appears on Mad Penguin with Danese Cooper (Reflections of an Open Source Diva).

This article is interesting (at least to me) on several levels – one is obvious (it discusses Linux, Open Source, Sun Micro, et el), but the other issue is the one that in some ways that I think is more important: transparency. Having worked at different points in my life for large and/or rapidly growing organizations, I’ve seen first hand the impact incompetent management can render on otherwise competent or innovative projects. This might also explain, at least in part, why Microsoft, despite billions of dollars in the bank, has to buy a slew of anti-virus companies before marketing an antivirus product under its own brand.

This article is as much a story about good management as it is about the blossoming open-source free software movement (free as in freedom, not free as in free-beer) that is giving Microsoft such a much-deserved headache.

Mad Penguin: You're someone who is trusted by both by suits and hackers in the open source world. How did you start out in open source?

Danese Cooper: You know, I might actually have been predisposed to it. I was in the Peace Corps when I was in my twenties; and I've lived in several collective community situations through the years. I try to live my life really transparently because it's just easier for me, but in the years before I came to Sun, I worked in software engineering for some of the biggest companies in the world, and I was appalled at the wasted time and the lack of transparency inside some of these companies.

People looking in from the outside think of the big brands like Apple or Microsoft as one big entity, everyone working together, it's a hive, and everyone's doing their job. But actually, they're often more like warring feudal fiefdoms.


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