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Sunday, January 25, 2004

My meeting with Harish

It's kind of like Pokemon ... I'm slowly managing to meet, in person, all the members of the Tapestry team. Last night I met up with Harish Krishnaswamy, one of the more recent members added to the team. We chatted about Tapestry and HiveMind for two hours at a bar in Waltham. Short hours for me, long hours for my wife, Suzanne.

Harish is a decent, quick witted, friendly guy. He literally came out of nowhere a bit over a year ago, and was suddenly answering newbie questions and providing patches, which is the growth path to becoming a team member. He works for a biotech company in Connecticut and leads a small team using Tapestry (and HiveMind, when it is available again).

When you are immersed in open-source, you kind of get used to working with "people" that are no more than a stream of e-mailed characters. I think the magical thing about open source (and something perhaps more obvious to an outsider) is just how egalitarian it is ... meritocracy rules (in terms of coding ability, communication ability, and professionalism) but all other barriers (such as physical location, age, sex, race, religon, and so forth) are beyond irrelivant, they are invisible. Mind Bridge takes this to an extreme, working behind a pseudodym to protect his identity (he wrote the introduction to the book, so his secret will be out shortly).

A recent article (which I wish I had bookmarked) drew some parallels between open-source development and scientific research. As with open-source, publishing research papers has no direct financial benefit to the author (though, of course, everyone in that realm is seeking tenure). In science, and in open-source, the coin of the realm is appreciation from your peers. I find open-source to be even more, well open, than science research because the barriers to entry are phenominally low.

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