Interview Mark Hinkle – SCALE11X, Open Source, and Cloud.

Mark Hinkle works for Citrix as the Senior Director of Cloud Computing and will be speaking a couple times at SCALE11X. We had some time to talk to Mark about his talk at SCALE11X, Open Source, and Cloud.

Q: How did you first get involved with the free & open source community?

A: First, I used to be the Director of Technical Support for internet service provider, MindSpring, back in the 1990s and we relied heavily on open source to provide services. For example, every tech support rep had a shell account on a Debian Linux server. We used all the Bind tools (ping, traceroute, nslookup) to troubleshoot Internet access problems. We also had a team of web hosting reps who used Red Hat Linux (pre-Red Hat Enterprise Linux) desktops to support our web hosting customers. We also created a lot of tools using open source software Griswold, a vacation tracking system was hosted on Apache webservers with data was saved in Postgres. We also created a custom front-end for the Hylafax fax server that reps could administer through a web interface. At that time though I didn’t understand how to contribute those inventions back to the open source community. Later on I started writing articles for LinuxWorld magazine about the Linux desktop and as a reporter got to interview a lot of open source community members. They taught me how to contribute to the open source community. Since then I have been active in the promotion and development of a number of open source projects.