Friday, May 23, 2008

Canonical Followup

Since my last posting I've received numerous, emails, IMs & text messages about going to work for Canonical. All in all, the majority have been good wishes and "glad to have you back in the community" messages. However I have had numerous questions so I thought I'd answer here since my blog is where it all originated from.

Q. What are you going to be doing?
A. Ubuntu Kernel Manager. (The following is more for my family since the title means nothing to them). Here is the job description:

Job Title: Ubuntu Kernel Team Manager
Job Location: Your home, given appropriate facilities including broadband Internet
Reports to: Ubuntu CTO (Matt Zimmerman)
Job Summary: Drive the leading edge of desktop and server OS technology based on the Linux kernel, open source methodology, and a supportive community of users and developers.

Key responsibilities and accountabilities:
• Lead a team of engineers responsible for the development and maintenance of the Ubuntu branch of the Linux kernel
• Take overall responsibility for day to day kernel development
• Manage project plans and schedules
• Encourage and enable community participation in accordance with the unique philosophies and practices of Ubuntu
• Ensure world­class hardware compatibility for Ubuntu by working with vendor and OEM partners to deliver driver support for their components and systems
• Provide direct line management for a fast­moving team of 5+ individuals
• Provide regular updates on program results and provide feedback and new action plans if necessary
• Lead and participate in regular development “sprints” involving international travel, 4+ week­long trips per year

Required skills and experience:
• Proven track record in project management and management of small­medium sized teams at a global level
• 3­ to 5 years experience in technical project management, Linux and open source focus strongly preferred
• Solid knowledge of software/software industry trends, particularly open source software
• Strong English language communication skills, especially in online
environments such as mailing lists and IRC
• Fundamental technical understanding of the Linux kernel and its development, and with architectural
principles of Linux distributions (including packaging)
• Ability to effectively interact with diverse group of people (technical, non­technical); multi­task when necessary
• Ability to be productive in a globally distributed team through self­discipline and self­motivation, delivering according to a schedule.

Key Qualities:
• Self­driven, results ­oriented with a positive outlook, detail ­oriented, responsive, proactive

Q. How does this differ what what you did at Red Hat?
A. I don't know. I am reserving all comments and speculation about the position until I've been doing the job for a bit. Canonical is not Red Hat and as such there will be differences as well as similarities, I just don't know enough to speak to them yet.

Q. What made you decide to leave HP?
A. Lots of things really. The primary driver was that I missed being in the Linux and Open Source world. While the application (HP's Server Automation System, formally Opsware) I was supporting did run on Linux, along with Solaris and Windows, you were very removed from the OS and free software in general. Many people will consider using MS Windows daily as a dumb reason to want to change jobs, just ask Amber she will tell you all about it. The fact is that HP uses MS Windows as the primary desktop and as such so did I. Let me first state that you can use other OSs (Linux, OS X, etc...) but they are not officially supported and most things that I needed to use on a day to day basis as a manger did not work with the "Non supported OS's". Many of the internal applications were written for IE and didn't work at all with Firefox or any other browser. As such I realized how bad Windows sucks. Reboots daily, applications disappearing in the middle of using them, lost data. Its really quite depressing having to use Outlook for email. I missed my Linux desktop.

Those were the top questions. I had lots of other ones that I don't want to answer just yet, mainly because I don't know enough about what the job is (or is not) going to be.

I am excited and will keep everyone updated here as thing progress.



Anonymous said...


It sad though that the job description does not even contain the word "upstream" as in "work with upstream" or "contribute the patches back to upstream", but does mention an "Ubuntu branch of the Linux kernel"...

Anonymous said...

Welcome back to Linux, Pete! Congratulations on the job.

dcantrell said...

Welcome back to the world of sane operating systems. I don't view being forced on to Windows as a lame reason to change jobs. Companies I worked at before coming to RH claimed to like Linux or use open source software, but they really didn't. They'd hand you a run of the mill Dell laptop with some sort of Windows installed on it and then expect you to either use SecureCRT or some other crap software to connect to the actual Linux system. "It's just what you wanted, right?"

Well, not really. My email lives on Windows in that world, you send me documents I can only access on Windows, and the connection between the Windows system and the Linux system I want to use is firewalled and routed to hell and back and I just don't have the patience to figure it out. No, it's not what I wanted.

When you spend your entire work days on computers, you want the right tools.

I'm not really familiar with Ubuntu or Debian, having never used it for more than 5 minutes. You'll have to share some of the likes and dislikes with it.