Speaker Interview: Russell Pavlicek

The SCALE Team caught up with Russell Pavlicek and asked him about his SCALE 12X talk, "Securing Your Cloud with Hypervisor."

Q: Could you please introduce yourself and tell us a little about your background?

A:  My name is Russell Pavlicek and I've been using Linux since 1995. I made the leap to a full-time Linux desktop in 1997 (how many people remember the joys of fvwm and fvwm95?).  From my first encounter with Linux, I have been passionate about evangelizing the use of Open Source.  I wrote one of the first books explaining the value of Open Source and the community which was creating it.  In the DotCom/DotBomb era, I was probably best known as the Linux columnist for Infoworld magazine, a panelist on the "The Linux Show" weekly webcast, and a speaker at many Linux conferences,  After far too long away from active duty in the community, I recently had the opportunity to get in the mix once more as evangelist for the Xen Project, the original enterprise-class Open Source hypervisor.  It's a great thing to be employed to do the thing you love, and I love talking about Open Source!

Q: You're giving a talk on "Securing Your Cloud with Xen Hypervisor." Without tipping your hand on the actual talk, can you give us an idea of what we might expect?

A: Certainly!  Most people know that the Xen Project creates a tremendously robust Open Source hypervisor which powers some of the biggest clouds in the world.  But many people don't realize that it has a number of really great security features which can help to protect those clouds from malefactors. Most of these features are not very difficult to employ, but you need to know about them and decide for yourself to use them.  In this session, I will discuss some of these key security features and develop a frame of reference so that people will have an idea when to use them.

Q: Is this your first visit to SCALE? If so, what are your expectations? If not, can you give us your impressions of the event?

A: My first time to SCALE was last year when I worked the Xen booth with Lars Kurth, Xen Project community manager (and my boss ;).  After being away from the Open Source conference circuit for a few years, I was thrilled to find that much of the spirit which drove people in the late 1990s was so actively present in a modern conference.  I am absolutely psyched about having the opportunity to finally speak at SCALE!  If you can get to Los Angeles for the weekend, it is absolutely the place to be, in my opinion.

Q:  We hear that you like to talk about the "Heart of Open Source."  What is that about?

A: As someone who still remembers the community attitude during the early days of Linux, I want to make sure that what we gained as people during the rise of Open Source is not lost in the current commercially-funded environment.  When Linux was still young and practically no one was actually paid to write Open Source software, geeks experienced their own empowerment for the first time.  Up until that time, geeks were the power tools of IT: we did what others told us to do.  With Open Source, we worked on our own time and did what we thought was best -- and the results were phenomenal!  For the first time in history, software geeks -- as a group and as individuals -- had a voice and had power.  There was no one to say, "no, you can't do that!"  Now, with the rise of commercial sponsorship of Open Source, I want to make sure that geeks don't trade that empowerment for the traditional "you will do ONLY what we tell you" role which permeated the industry prior to the rise of Linux.

Q: Is there anything else you'd like to add?

A: Just that SCALE should be a bang-up show!  And if people will drop by the Xen Project booth (and maybe score some excellent swag ;), I'd be happy to talk about some of the hot new features in the impending Xen Project 4.4 release.

[SCALE Team interview by Larry Cafiero]