Tom Hanrahan était en France le 29 janvier dernier à l’occasion du salon Solutions Linux ou il a donné un keynote d’ouverture Linux and Windows Interoperability at Microsoft.
C’ était une bonne opportunité de faire plus ample connaissance avec Tom qui a accepté de se prêter à une interview écrite pour les lecteurs de porte25. J’ai laissé volontairement le texte en anglais pour rester fidèle aux réponses de Tom qui nous décrit sa mission et ses impressions après quelques mois chez Microsoft.
So maybe you can start by introducing yourself to the readers of this blog.
My name is Tom Hanrahan. I joined Microsoft about a year ago. At the time of my hire, I’m certain I appeared to be an unlikely candidate for an unlikely position at Microsoft. I had been Engineering Director at the Linux Foundation and the Open Source Development Lab (OSDL) for three years, and prior to that I had spent 5 years in the IBM Linux Technology Center, where I managed Linux kernel developers.
The position I was talking to Microsoft about was “Director of Linux Interoperability.” This was a position that had not existed until we began talking, but the more Sam Ramji, who was director of the Microsoft Open Source Software Lab, and I discussed it, the more excited we both became about the possibilities.
Among those possibilities was the opportunity I would have to help cement the relationship between Microsoft and Novell that had begun the previous year. I had worked with Novell’s engineers and business and program managers for several years, and now, one of my responsibilities would be to take on the task of managing Microsoft’s interests in the Microsoft and Novell lnteroperability lab that the two companies were jointly creating in Cambridge, Massachusetts. I felt my contacts at Novell and the positive relationship I had with the company would be an asset to the position.
A second opportunity was related to the work I had done previously around virtualization. I had participated on a team of engineers who had conducted an in-depth comparison of virtualization technologies and product offerings, and Microsoft and Novell were both interested in using the Cambridge lab to help develop and test interoperability between Suse Linux Enterprise Server and Microsoft’s forthcoming virtualization technology, the Hyper-V hypervisor, and between Windows Server 2008 and Xen. As a result of the work I had done in the investigation, I had the technical knowledge to help lead the test effort.
A third opportunity was the knowledge of Samba that I had gained in my previous positions as well as the relationships I had established with the Samba community. Microsoft was interested in improving relations with the Samba community and I felt I could make a positive contribution to that process.
So with this experience, what made you decide to accept a position at Microsoft?
I had participated in number of end-user forums over the past several years, and the single, most important issue discussed was interoperability between Linux and Windows. I had come to Microsoft the previous year to talk with Bill Hilf, Sam and others at Microsoft about interoperability, and the meeting was a positive experience for all of us. As our conversation progressed over the following months, I realized I wanted to work closely with Sam and the team, and I felt that working for Microsoft would give me an opportunity to make a big contribution to improving interoperability between open source software and Windows.
What is your first impression after a couple a months working for Microsoft?
Well, my first impression is that time flies, because what seems like a couple of months has actually been 10! But really, my first impression within those first few months was how serious Microsoft takes interoperability. Interoperability is one of the highest imperatives at the company today. Evidence of this abounds. One exciting development was the recently announced strategic changes in technology and business practices to expand interoperability to:
· Ensure open connections
· Promote data portability
· Enhance industry standards
· Foster open engagement with industry, including open source communities around interoperability and standards
But there are many other programs and activities including:
· The Interoperability Executive Council, which consists of executives from industry and government who help Microsoft identify and prioritize interoperability issues
· The Interoperability Vendor Alliance, which consists of vendors who help Microsoft address interoperability issues with third-party products
· The Interoperability Core team with Microsoft, which helps drive interoperability into the design of Microsoft products
· The Open Specification Promise, which puts protocol documentation and access to IP into the hands of open source developers
· Strategic partnerships with open source companies including Novell, Xandros, Linspire, and Turbolinux
· Open source community outreach activities including interactions with the Mozilla Foundation, the Apache Foundation, the PHP community and Zend, and the Samba community.
Can you explain us more about your current work, the progress and what is still to be accomplished?
The answer to this question could be a whole series of blogs, but I can give you a synopsis.
The Microsoft-Novell Interoperability Lab has been constructed and is fully operational. Microsoft and Novell test engineers are working together as a single team to test interoperability between SLES and Hyper-V and between Windows Server 2008 and Xen. Importantly, the lab is an integrated and critical part of the Microsoft development and test team located in Redmond and the Novell development and test teams located in Provo and Nuremberg. Our testing is part of the acceptance criteria for both companies. What’s left to accomplish is to ensure that the released products from both companies are robust and perform well.
The trade secret agreement recently signed with members of the Samba community has put all of the protocol documentation associated with print and file services into the hands of key community developers to ensure compatibility between Windows and Samba. We are currently working with the community to find the best way to maintain the documents going forward so that development at Microsoft and within the community stays in sync.
A big part of my job (and a very fun part of my job) is simply to talk with people within Microsoft and in the open source community about the importance of interoperability and the programs we have in place to advance interoperability between Windows and Open Source. And equally important, my job is to listen to those same people tell me what they believe are the key issues that inhibit interoperability. Armed with that information, I try to provide resources or connect the right people to solve the problems we’ve identified.
What is your next step in your agenda?
I want to expand the work we are doing in the Microsoft-Novell Interoperability Lab to include testing of standards-based system management interoperability. We are in the early stages of designing a WS-Management protocol standards compliance test tool, and it is my hope that we can release this tool under an open source license.
I am helping implement the strategic changes announced in February and in particular am taking an active role in developing the Open Source Interoperability Initiative to promote engagement between Microsoft and open source communities.
I want to make sure that those of us at Microsoft who interact with the open source community are equal partners with community members - that we contribute back to the community in meaningful ways that make sense for us. As one example of this, I’m continuing to work more closely with the Samba community to test interoperability between Windows and Samba. To those ends, I am hiring a test engineer to run tests and plan to share the results of those tests with the Samba community, up to and including testing patches they may ask us to run when we find problems that need to be fixed.
And finally, I plan to continue listening and talking to people who use and develop open source and Microsoft solutions to help ensure that interoperability happens by design.
Je remercie encore Tom de nous avoir donné son point de vue qui j'espère vous aura intéressé.
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