Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Who am I?

I have been a UNIX user, developer, administrator and evangelist for 26 years.

Most recently, I started two Florida chapters of the OpenSolaris User group (Ft. Lauderdale and Tampa). I hope to start a third in Orlando next month.

I have been involved, as a volunteer, with user groups for many years. In 1986, I helped start the South Florida UNIX Users Group (SFUUG). I was involved with running SFUUG for many years. In the mid 90's I was VP then President of the Sun User Group (SUG) at a time when the User Group was "divorced" from Sun. From 1995 to 1997, I was the New Products editor for SunWorldOnline, an IDG publication and one of the first print publications to convert to Web and e-mail only.

I have just started my 10th year as Editor-in-Chief for the weekly newsletter, "System News for Sun users",, where we have published over 17,000 articles of interest to the Sun/Solaris community. More than 50k people subscribe to "System News".

I was recruited from Scotland in '84; "come to America, come work at AT&T, the home of UNIX" was a compelling sales pitch! After a winter or two in New Jersey, an engineering job in sunny Florida was too hard to pass up. One of the key organizer for the SFUUG was the local Sun SE. We quickly became friends and within a year or so, I became the second Sun SE in South Florida.

That was a time when Sun, UNIX, TCP/IP and Ethernet were "the" Open alternatives to VAX/VMS, token ring, DECNET and other proprietary systems. We had to fight hard to win mind share then sales. As we started winning that war, the UNIX vendors postured to say who was more open and so began the UNIX wars (Sun vs OSF, OpenLook vs Motif, etc.).

It's ironic that as Sun/Solaris/SPARC became more successful, that Linux came along and charged Sun with being the legacy proprietary systems.

As I interact with enterprise customers today, it's clear that OpenSolaris (unlike OpenVMS) and cool technology - like coolthreads and galaxy servers - are making life more complicated and more competitive!

One of my biggest challenges in presenting the "Sun story" today is how rich are the product offerings from Sun. LDOMs or VMWare; SPARC CMT or SPARC multi-core; SPARC or AMD (and soon Intel); Blade or not blade; Disk or Tape .... Makes for more stories in the newsletter and more of a need for Systems Engineers (or Architects as we like to say these days!).

Here are some other pieces of my resume.

CTO/Editor-in-Chief at System News, Inc.

October 2002 - Present (4+ years)

  • Supervise editorial staff in the production of 2,000 to 3,000 articles per year in 35 sections (News, Features, Servers, Storage, Software, Services, Security, Java Technology, Developer, SysAdmin, Oracle on Sun, Health care, Retail, etc.) for core news report, “System News for Sun Users”
  • Led development/support of custom applications: content management, news portal, dynamic news report creation & distribution, web tool for subscriber management. (Sybase, MySQL, Perl, PHP, C, DHTML/CSS, Java, Shell)
  • Direct technical operations to provide a weekly, custom PDF/Text/HTML news report for 65,000 subscribers. Support hosted service for subscriber management.
  • Provide customer support, training and user level documentation
  • Rolled out 40+ “private-label” editions of news report service

Sun Solution Architect at Forsythe Solution Group


  • Pre-sales Sun specialists providing Sun-based solutions to enterprise accounts in FL and GA

Principal Consultant at Forsythe Solution Group

2004-2006 (1 year)
  • Post-sales Sun specialists providing services to enterprise accounts

Senior Systems Engineer at Sun Microsystems

1987 – 2002 (15 years)

Technology Specialist

  • Sun Servers, RISC/SPARC, SMP, MT/CMT, Clusters, SANs, Solaris, Commercial Computing, Performance, Optimization
  • O/S Ambassador

Member of Visioneer Program

  • Delivered Sun's corporate Vision talks to Customers, Resellers and at events; supported Sun/Java/Linux user groups

Channel Specialists (1994-2002)

  • Supported sales in the recruitment and success of Resellers
  • Provided Sun technical training and support for Resellers (e.g. with major opportunities, RFPs, benchmarks, non-disclosures
  • Support Solaris "adoption" initiatives