by kishi on November 06, 2007 03:21pm


I have been working as a Senior Program Manager with the Open Source Software Lab since the fall of 2005. After spending two of the most eye-opening and fantastic years here, sadly, time has come for me to move on. I am taking on a role in a different division inside of Microsoft but having been attached to Port25 for such a long time, I didn’t want to leave without writing my parting thoughts. You see, when I started my work with the Open Source Software Lab, I had no idea who Bill Hilf was or his role at Microsoft. So when I first came to speak to him about this opportunity, I was driven purely by the job description, the first line of which read “Everything is connected”. After talking to Bill, when I came back and searched for his name/credentials on the web, needless to say, I felt like a total idiot. Here was someone, who was literally the Linux and Open Source “guy” within Microsoft and I had no clue about his background whatsoever....taught me that I should have done better homework . After going through the interview loops and meeting up w/ some sharp minds in OSSL, I was very attracted to the opportunity and came on board.

Anyway, I have had the pleasure of working with some amazing people on this time, Sam Ramji, Hank Janssen, Michael Francisco, Steve Zarkos, Tom Hanrahan, John Kew, Anandeep Pannu to name a few. In the process of understanding and learning about Linux and Open Source technologies, I also learnt a whole lot about driving change through people, technology and especially practices (Sam – Thank you!). In my two years with the OSSL, I got the opportunity to REALLY push the boundaries of conventional or deep-rooted thinking. I was able to work on my pet projects/areas of interest such as Systems Manageability and IT Operations. I spent this past summer building the Interop Lab in Cambridge, MA – something I enjoyed whole-heartedly. I got face time with thought leaders like Miguel De Icaza and rubbed shoulders with creative thinkers like Tom Hanrahan. The experience that I am walking away with is quite profound at many levels. Let me explain why: You see, this team is so unique in what it does, that it’s perhaps one of the few places which has the ability to drive change inward and outward. In my experience here, I have not only seen the ground shift beneath my feet but have also tremendous progress towards community involvement and understanding as it relates to Linux and Open Source. The wisdom I am walking away with can best be captured by something Margaret Mead wrote “Never under estimate the power of a few committed people to change the world “. I say that with the utmost passion because the intellectual horsepower, pure passion and pace that I have witnessed in this group is hard to ignore or imitate.

Some other thoughts that I am taking with me are how much effort goes into simply undoing misconceptions and misunderstandings. Working in this group and watching Bill, Sam, Hank and all these guys work – I realized how committed we are to building bridges and doing a great job of listening as well as being understood. So, after working with Open Source enthusiasts and Windows professionals side-by-side, I whole heartedly endorse something F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote a while ago “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function“

In conclusion, I would urge the Open Source Community to really look at how far we have come in the past two years alone. Don’t take my word for it, see for yourself the work done on Port25 and http://www.microsoft.com/opensource

As always, your thoughts and comments are ALWAYS welcome…………….. Alvidaa (That’s urdu for Farewell)