We talked with Chris DiBona, Open Source Programs Manager at Google.
Webstock: Chris, you manage the Open Source program at Google. Tell us a little about the aim of this program and your role in it.
Chris: We have two major foci in the group: First, understand that Google uses a fair amount of open source licensed software, and we ensure that Google is compliant with open source licenses. Second, we are tasked with broadly supporting the open source developer community. We do this by creating hundreds of new developers each year through the Summer of Code, releasing over a million lines of Google code into the wild each year and providing infrastructure to over 160k open source projects on code.google.com.
Webstock: Can open source save the world? And is it just about software – are there lessons that can be applied in other fields?
Chris: No. Only people can save the world. But using open source software, they can do so while still maintaining control of their computers. Preserving their software destiny, if you will.
Webstock: Most people have some vision of what working at Google must be like – the free food, the smart people, the free food. What’s an aspect of working at Google that people wouldn’t expect?
Chris: Actually, I prefer people look at the computer science we do, but that’s hard to do from outside the company. I’m personally very excited about our work on renewable energy through our Google.org subsidiary. In particular, Geothermal gets me pretty excited. The food is pretty tasty, though…
Webstock: You’ve been to New Zealand a few times now. What’s your impression of the NZ web and software scene?
Chris: I think that New Zealand is doing something very right. For a country the size New Zealand is to have such a presence in web development, and in technology in general, is remarkable.
Webstock: Finally, Google is the premier sponsor for Webstock (which we’re extremely pleased about!). But why? What does Google get from sponsoring an event such as Webstock?
Chris: We feel that webstock is the premier event in the southern hemisphere for reaching out to our friends in web development. We look forward to meeting people there each year.
Webstock: Thanks Chris!