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CA’s 'Mr Linux,' Passionate Mixer of Oil and Water

CA’s 'Mr Linux,' Passionate Mixer of Oil and Water

Meeting for any length of time with the man tapped by far-sighted Computer Associates CEO Sanjay Kumar to act as the Islandia, New York-based, company’s open-source pathfinder and visionary is an experience that few people recently have been able fully to appreciate…and even fewer to achieve.

Every hour of Greenblatt’s day and every day of his week is consumed — that is, for once, not too extreme a word — with Linux. Because CA, uniquely in Greenblatt’s view, is that rara avis, a commercial software business that has realized that open-source innovation isn’t just an interesting adjunct to the commercial paradigm: it is going to be the undoing of every major player today who remains in (what he would view as) denial.

“People familiar with the dynamics of commercialized computing ask me how many developers will support such-and-such a Linux solution,” and I tell them “Four hundred thousand — but I can’t put a name to a single one of them!”

“For business leaders used to even a major Linux company like Red Hat, say, having just two hundred or so developers, this leads to a certain amount of consternation,” Greenblatt reports, with a wry smile.

This, he believes, is a good indicator of the gulf that exists between what he habitually refers to as “the community” (Greenblatt’s shorthand for the worldwide open-source community) and the mainstream business world.

But it’s a bridge across which the mainstreamers are now almost falling over themselves suddenly to rush. “Linux was just ‘discovered’ this week,” Greenblatt says. “It’s as if we’re all suddenly rock stars,” he adds, astonishedly.

But it isn’t in reality astonishing to him. For after all, Greenblatt has personally helped bring Linux to exactly this climax.

Fired by the “rush,” the sheer exhilaration and pride he felt when he one day saw his own code, in his most active programming days, being used in a high-profile commercial context by a national retail bank chain, what Sam Greenblatt vowed was to do his utmost — whenever the opportunity presented itself — to expand the overall number of talented developers who could experience such a rush. Sharing is caring and open-source innovation being unleashed in the world of real-world business is a vision that still excites him just as much today as it did when he accepted Sanjay Kumar’s invitation to head up, for CA, what is formally called today the Linux Technology Group.

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SYS-CON's Linux News Desk gathers stories, analysis, and information from around the Linux world and synthesizes them into an easy to digest format for IT/IS managers and other business decision-makers.

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