Saturday, July 29, 2017

A new GNOME Board

After my Board term expired, I had planned to stay involved with the GNOME Foundation Board of Directors until the official hand-off to the new Board at GUADEC. Since GUADEC is happening right now, this marks the end of my time on the GNOME Board of Directors.

It was great to serve on the GNOME Board this year! I know we accomplished a lot of great things. Among other things, we hired a new Executive Director, who I believe will provide strong leadership for GNOME. The GNOME Board is an important part of governance too, and the Board demonstrated that by keeping GNOME moving forward in the absence of an Executive Director.

I may run for GNOME Board again in a few years, when things settle down for me. It's been a busy time lately, but as things reach a new normal, I'll be able to take on new activities in GNOME.

Good luck to everyone on the Board for the coming year! I know everyone is highly engaged, and that's what really matters for a successful Board.

Friday, July 14, 2017

How I put Linux in the enterprise

I recently wrote an article for OpenSource.com that tells the story about How I introduced my organization to Linux. Here's the short version:

I used to work in higher ed. In the late 1990s, we moved to a new student records system. We created an "add-on" web registration system, so students could register on-line—still a new idea in 1998. But when we finally went live, the load crushed the web servers. No one could register. We tried to fix it, but nothing worked.

Instead, we just shifted everything to Linux, and it worked! No code changes, just a different platform. That was our first time using Linux in the enterprise. When I left the university some seventeen years later, I think about two-thirds of our enterprise servers ran on Linux.

There's a lot going on behind the scenes here, so I encourage you to read the full article. The key takeaways aren't really the move to Linux. Instead, I use this as an example for how to deploy a big change in any environment: Solve a problem, don't stroke an ego. Change as little as possible. Be honest about the risks and benefits. And communicate broadly. These are the keys to success.