by Esther Schindler

Tap Tap Tap — Is This Thing On?

May 27, 20086 mins
Data Center

Welcome to our first “Executives Online” discussion panel: Open Source in the Enterprise. This is an experiment for, so we’re making up the process as we go along… but I thought I’d let you know how the event will work.

You’ve all attended live conferences, wherein one technical or business session was a panel discussion. A moderator stood at the podium, introduced and framed the topic to be discussed, and invited each speaker to give a “who the heck I am and why you should care” bio. After that, the moderator asked questions to get the conversation rolling. Ideally, the panel discussion is a conversation, not a question-and-answer quiz show (“I’ll take ‘CIO Challenges’ for $500, Alec!”), sparking agreement and yeahbuttals among the panelists and the audience, too. In the best of these panel discussions, the smart folks sitting at the front of the room spread enlightenment, gave well thought out dissenting opinions, and helped you walk away with a firm sense of what to do next.

This discussion? Same thing exactly.

Instead of a live event, however, we can hold the panel discussion using online community features — right here in CIO’s Advice & Opinion section, in a blog devoted to the subject. On Monday morning, June 2 (or earlier, if the spirit moves me), I’ll post a few questions to get the ball rolling. Each of our dozen or so experts (and, you’ll soon see, we have a gaggle of very cool people who lie awake at night contemplating the risks and rewards of open source in the enterprise) will respond to my questions, reply to others’ answers, and start discussion threads of their own. You, too, can participate in the discussion. And we most earnestly hope you will.

The event will be “open” through Friday, June 6, with the experts stopping by at least once a day. The posts will stay up indefinitely, of course, so you can always respond… though you can’t count on these WayCool people being here to post an answer. We’ll have a bit of a “theme of the day” (such as Legal or Community Management) to provide some focus (since “open source in the enterprise” is just an eensy bit of a wide subject to cover), though there’s no real rule in that regard. (I’m actually taking a vacation day on Friday, to a spot that intentionally has no Internet access, so I’ll ask someone to step in as Hostess, Barkeep and Bouncer that day.)

In the meantime, this thread can start as an “Introduce yourself” discussion for the many fine people who’ll participate. Here’s the list, in no particular order and with varying degrees of detail:

  • Mike Milinkovich, Executive Director of the Eclipse Foundation
  • Joe ‘Zonker’ Brockmeier, Novell SUSE Evangelist
  • Bernard Golden, CIO blogger about open source issues
  • SugarCRM’s CIO, Lila Tretikov
  • SpringSource CEO Rod Johnson: the father of Spring and an authority on Java and J2EE development.
  • Fabrizio Capobianco, the CEO of Funambol, active in the mobile open source world.
  • Dominic Sartorio, president of the Open Solutions Alliance
  • Brian Gentile, president and CEO of JasperSoft; he helped create and build the Sun and Java Developer Connection programs.
  • Bob Zurek, CTO at EnterpriseDB and leader of the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council’s Open Source Cluster.
  • WaveMaker CEO Chris Keene
  • Marten Mickos, the former CEO of MySQL (recently acquired by Sun). Mickos is now the head of Sun’s database group and remains a prominent authority in the open source community.
  • Jon Ferraiolo, leader of the OpenAJAX Alliance, an organization dedicated to standardizing Ajax development; he’s also part of the Emerging Internet Technologies group at IBM.
  • Matt Aslett, an analyst in The 451 Group’s Enterprise Software group who specializes in open source software and contributes regularly to reports on the topic.
  • Ira Heffan, legal counsel for TopCoder, who has been involved in GPL v3 and other open source licensing discussions
  • Ron Gula, Ron Gula, developer of Dragon IDS and the CEO of Tenable Network Security which produces the Nessus vulnerability scanner
  • Bob Sutor, the vice president of Standards and Open Source for the IBM Corporation.
  • Wikipedia’s Doman Mituzas (board member, active participant in tech projects, and senior manager at MySQL)

And we may have a few late surprises. So yeah. I think we’ve got some fairly cool people. Don’t you agree?

Let’s use this introductory thread as an opportunity to go across the panel. Wave Hi to the audience, folks—and tell everybody who you are (that little bio-thing, ya know), what excites you most about open source (in general), and, hmm… let’s get personal. Tell us the book you read most recently that wasn’t related to work.

Perhaps it’s only fair for me to start. I’m senior online editor at, and also responsible for its community (a.k.a. your BlogMom). I’ve specialized in software development and open source for several years (in fact, I’ve written the Evans Data report on open source development a few times) and have more than a few articles here about both subjects (such as The Enterprise Committer: When Your Employee Develops Open-Source Code on the Company Payroll). I was also the sysop of the original Executives Online forum on CompuServe in the early 90s, and I’ve always loved the format. So I’m excited to see where we can take this.

Most recently, I finished the latest Lois McMaster Bujold novel in The Sharing Knife series. I’ve yet to write my Amazon review, but I can tell you that this fantasy novel is absolutely worth five stars.

Your turn….—Esther

Ok, since my last name starts with a Z, that means I’m the last on the list in a lot of panels, but not this one 🙂 Thanks for putting this together Esther and inviting me to participate. For a quick intro, I’ve been a founder and co-founder of several startups and have also worked as an executive at some large companies including General Electric and IBM. I came to IBM after the sale of Ascential Software and moved on to EnterpriseDB after 2 years at IBM (post the sale of Ascential where I was on the founding leadership team for 4 years). I’ve also been involved in the open source arena and look forward to participating in this discussion.

who is next…. – Bob Zurek