It's my pleasure to bring you the CTO of Devil Mountain Software, Craig Barth, in this exclusive interview, his first, after the much publicized outting of InfoWorld's Randall Kennedy. Barth, perhaps best known for his Windows performance expertise, is also a huge Linux fan. Here now, is my interview with Craig Barth in its entirety. Transcribed from an Audacity recording over Skype.
KH: Hello, Craig. Thanks for agreeing to this interview. May I have your permission to record this call?
CB: Yes, of course.
KH: Let's jump right in with some questions about your involvement with Linux and its performance. First of all, how does a Windows-oriented guy become involved with Linux at all.
CB: Quite by accident really. I had used Linux early on but tossed it aside when the Windows 2000 product hit the market. Linux, we all thought at the time, was nothing more than a niche OS that would do well as a web server or a geek toy but little more.
KH: Why have you suddenly changed teams?
CB: I haven't for the most part. What I have done is realize that it is no longer a Windows world or a Linux world or a Mac world but a heterogeneous world in which we live. You can't run a data center or a software company in a vacuum.
KH: Do you think a lot of software companies exist in a vacuum?
CB: Maybe. Some of them isolate themselves so much that you wonder if they're even real or not.
KH: Interesting perspective. What gave you your "Aha" moment about Linux?
CB: As I said, it really wasn't. It was an evolutionary process. Little by little things began to add up and there it was, exposed.
KH: Exposed? How so?
CB: Sure, you know, exposed like a good story about someone with an alias or a secret identity that you found out.
KH: OK. So, what's next for Devil Mountain Software and Linux?
CB: We're working on some pretty heavy stuff, performance related software, like our Windows products.
KH: Anything you can tell me about during this interview?
CB: Sure, a little. We're looking at creating an entire suite of performance software that is operating system independent, open source and free. We'll only charge for support. It's a great model.
KH: That is intriguing. Does creating open source software and giving it away for free make your company seem, I don't know, maybe a little edgy or even clandestine?
KH: Gotcha. Some people might think that you don't really exist without those obvious business nuances. I mean twitter, Facebook and websites are almost required these days, don't you think?
CB: For those who are into that sort of thing, they are. We prefer to remain a little outside the norm. A bit on the fringe, if you will.
KH: How does that work out for your business?
CB: Ten years and counting. No issues so far.
KH: Do you ever read any of the ZDNet blogs? There are some really good ones on Linux, Windows and other topics of interest.
CB: Really? Never heard of it. You'll have to email me some links.
KH: You can count on it. And, it's been a real pleasure talking with you today. Would you mind if we do this again sometime--maybe when you want to announce your new software suite?
CB: Thanks, Ken, that would be great. Talk to you again soon, I hope.
That was my interview with Craig Barth, CTO of Devil Mountain Software. I enjoyed interviewing Craig. I found him to be insightful, intelligent and forthright. It was like talking to myself, if I may be so bold.
What do you think? Do you think a company can remain anonymous and still be successful?