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LinuxWorld: Nat Friedman, in his own right; Ximian (Helix Code) CEO interviewed

Feb 01, 2001, 19:26 (10 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Joe Barr)

"In August 1999... Miguel de Icaza... told me at the party that night that the idea to form a company to help make GNOME -- and by extension Linux -- easier to use was Friedman's, not his. He suggested that I do an interview with Friedman. ...it was the name change that finally got me off the dime and on the phone with Friedman."

"One of the more interesting things I learned during the call was that although de Icaza may get all the press, Friedman is quite impressive in his own right. He is an MIT graduate (1999) and the CEO of one the free software world's best-known commercial ventures. Not only that, he's just successfully raised $15 million of venture capital, and did it in an anything but "easy touch" market for start-ups seeking financial backing. Not bad for a 23-year-old just a year or two out of school."

"I also learned that Friedman and de Icaza met at Microsoft. Friedman told me that they met while de Icaza was interviewing for the Internet Explorer team in Redmond. Friedman was -- hold on to your hats -- a Microsoft employee at the time, working on the IIS (Microsoft's Web server) project. It boggles the mind. They also met online in a network set up by and for Linux developers. Soon de Icaza was mentoring Friedman in the intricacies of open source software and the Linux kernel."

"About the name change: A lot of people, myself included, liked Helix Code just fine. So why the change? Friedman said: "Helix Code we couldn't trademark. Very simply, we thought we could, but we couldn't. It was a temporary name which we ended up being stuck with after a Wall Street Journal article was written about us, and then it was just too late to change it."

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