Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Flight of the Penguin, er, Phoenix

Dear Diary --It's been too long...

I'm in full-blown Phoenix mode. For those of you who wish to understand what I mean here(Reference Wikipedia):

I'm starting a new practice around what I've done in business for the past decade or so: Changing culture and embracing Free / Open Source Software. I'm also doing a bit of recruiting and sales. This is a natural extension and progression but in many ways it's a re-birth. I'll be blogging more about Free Software (big surprise) in the near future.

My thoughts have been consumed lately on all of the things that consume a startup -- my time has been sucked into a large void in some respects, but that doesn't excuse my blogging absence (it just explains it).

In my new role I'm truly getting to know the movers and shakers in the Free/Open Source (FOSS) space. It's a wonderful re-engagement, because I was far more connected in 1999 than I have been in 2009 (that is, lately). The happy surprise for me is that, unlike 1999, the world is happily embracing FOSS -- it's all over the place now. It would be laughable for people to ask questions like "Is Linux ready for the enterprise?"

I'm sharing some of my findings from the perspective of a sales person -- I'm getting to do that kind of duty now. I get to talk to a lot of people that are pondering the FOSS question.

The question is now turned the opposite direction -- the real question is "Is your enterprise ready for Linux?" There are still some hold-outs, in other words, that still see heavy value in proprietary infrastructure. A lot of these companies are now looking at FOSS with a far more serious gaze. The money is driving the activity, unfortunately.

The "Free" in Free Software is still about the cash for these companies -- and that's a crying shame. It's sad, because it's not about the cash at the end of the day (although a serious bundle is often on the table when these choices are made). Rather, it's about liberating the IT of your company -- it's about having real choices, flexibility and freedom as it pertains to using the technological underpinnings of your business solution.

My Phoenix is an intentional "burn-down" of the old Paul Ferris. I'm far from done on the technology side, by the way -- my time has been spent doing architecture and development for the past couple of weeks, so it's not like I'm going to ever shake that ability. The bird that is rising is one of new ventures, planning and entrepreneurship -- very exciting stuff.

For those friends who've been asking -- thanks for the gentle prodding. I'll write more often and you posted.