I’ve been at Sun since 2000 in a variety of project management positions. I’ve worked on several corporate communications teams for the Java organization, and I’ve also worked with the tools and standards groups and many of Sun’s Open Source development projects. I also did a year as an executive speech writer for a couple of Sun’s executive vice presidents. Overall, I’ve logged nine years in communications at five companies (Sun, 3Com, Network World, Tufts University, Animals Magazine) in three different industries (high tech, publishing, medical sciences).
In early 2004, I moved from corporate communications to Solaris engineering to participate in the creation of the OpenSolaris project. I work on the OpenSolaris Infrastructure Engineering Team, which is a global group of over a dozen people responsible for building and supporting opensolaris.org’s web applications, multi-site server facilities, content, and open development tools and infrastructure. We also run community-development programs to facilitate a variety of contributions, including source code, documentation, and translations, and we are creating a package contribution program for the OpenSolaris binary distribution. All of our work is designed to build an open source community that participates at multiple levels of the project and offers contributions of value from around the world. Incidentally, the OpenSolaris Infrastructure Engineering Team was the organization at Sun that literally created the OpenSolaris Project in 2004.
Since the beginning of OpenSolaris, I’ve managed projects to help build community throughout Sun and on opensolaris.org and also at conferences, user groups, and universities internationally. I’m most interested in how engineers and users collaborate across cultural and language barriers, how large organizations participate in Open Source development, and how Open Source is growing in emerging markets around the world. My main focus right now is working on the opensolaris.org platform development project, but I also have a dotted line connection to Sun’s globalization engineering team, and I was elected to the OpenSolaris Governing Board for the 2008-2009 term.
My perspective on OpenSolaris comes directly from my history as a project manager. I view the project in its entirely — engineering, communications, logistics, marketing, infrastructure, strategy, governance, finances, licensing, politics, language, culture, globalization, and community. At its core, OpenSolaris is a global engineering project to build a community of developers, administrators, and users around a large base of source code, binaries, and tools. And all the dynamics involved in building such a community also lead to the formation of new products, new markets, and new opportunities. For my part, I’m trying to move in the direction of building community by managing engineering projects that encourage and support contributions into core products and platforms.
In general, I’m fascinated with how engineering projects operate and generate possibilities for everyone involved. Open Source projects are unique in this respect. They offer opportunity for individuals to excel and benefit personally in ways that simultaneously benefit the greater community. This is an entrepreneur’s dream. I used to run my own excavation business in New York, so I see software engineering as a similar experience to construction in some critical ways. I have also written and edited magazine articles, so I see creativity and communications and documentation as a big part of software development as well. But all my life all I’ve done is project management. Still doing it now.