21 December 2007

So Farewell, Then, Matthew Szulik

The announcement that Red Hat's CEO and President, Matthew Szulik, is moving on (back?) to become its Chairman, is obviously pretty big news, since Szulik has led the company for nearly a decade, a long time in the still-young open source world. His valedictory message is well worth a read; I particularly liked the following section:

My early days at Red Hat were sitting in small office with no door in Durham, NC, across from the free soda machine. People by the hour would stop and punch their selection for Mountain Dew or Coke. My challenge was that I was tasked to go and raise venture money for this free software company. And over the phone, in the middle of my sales pitch, corporate types at Dell, IBM and HP and others would hear the constant banging of soda cans dropping in the soda machine and would ask if there were fights going on outside my office. So, after a while, I told the prospective investors that YES there were fights going on. And yes, these fights happened frequently. It’s how people at Red Hat settled technical issues likes software bugs and features in new releases. Red Hat was a real tough place to work. Dell, HP and IBM became investors because they liked the fighting spirit of Red Hat.

Says it all, really.

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