Apolo­gies for pimp­ing my employ­er, but I became the sub­ject of the inau­gur­al ‘Meet the Team’ por­tion of the BizCubed newslet­ter.

It’s a good feel­ing know­ing that you work for a com­pa­ny that actu­al­ly cares about open source and open stan­dards. For exam­ple, we spon­sored the Gov­ern­ment 2.0 event in Can­ber­ra last week.

For the sake of pos­ter­i­ty, I’ll repro­duce the inter­view here:

Meet The Team — Sridhar Dhanapalan

We are more than a con­sult­ing com­pa­ny — we are a great team! In this sec­tion we will be intro­duc­ing one mem­ber of our team in each newslet­ter.Sridhar Dhanapalan

What do you do at BizCubed?

I make sure that our Sup­port sub­scribers are receiv­ing leg­endary ser­vice. We like to be an open com­pa­ny, and so knowl­edge shar­ing is impor­tant to us. I write a lot of doc­u­men­ta­tion on our wiki for the ben­e­fit of the Pen­ta­ho com­mu­ni­ty.

Inter­nal­ly, I ensure that our team is prop­er­ly enabled with any infor­ma­tion or infra­struc­ture that they need. I take care of our servers and deploy­ments. I also do the occa­sion­al devel­op­ment of BI solu­tions. It’s a var­ied role — I nev­er have a rea­son to be bored!

What attracts you to open source BI?

It seems incon­gru­ous that while we demand trans­paren­cy from, for instance, our polit­i­cal sys­tems and finan­cial insti­tu­tions, they rely on soft­ware that is opaque.

Process­es and organ­i­sa­tions can­not be thor­ough­ly audit­ed if the soft­ware that dri­ves them is closed. I also believe that in using open source and open stan­dards, you are show­ing respect for your users and cus­tomers. Your users can see what you see; touch what you touch. They can inspect and inter­ro­gate to their heart’s con­tent, and even make their own mod­i­fi­ca­tions if they so wish. They may not opt to exer­cise those rights, but ulti­mate­ly it’s their choice and not their vendor’s.

What were you doing before joining BizCubed?

I’ve been using com­put­ers since the ear­ly 1980s, and I dis­cov­ered open source just over ten years ago. I’ve been for­tu­nate enough to make a career out of it. I have a back­ground in net­work engi­neer­ing, satel­lite com­mu­ni­ca­tions, sys­tems admin­is­tra­tion and good ol’ fash­ioned tech sup­port.

I com­plet­ed uni­ver­si­ty with a Sci­ence degree major­ing in the His­to­ry and Phi­los­o­phy of Sci­ence and Tech­nol­o­gy, which I feel gave me an appre­ci­a­tion for the inter­sec­tion of tech­nol­o­gy and soci­ety. I think there should be more atten­tion paid to this in ICT, and it’s an area I often encounter in the field of BI.

Do you work with any projects other than Pentaho?

I’ve been very active in the open source com­mu­ni­ty over the past ten years. For the first half of this decade, I was an admin­is­tra­tor, edi­tor and author at what was at the time the largest Man­drake (now Man­dri­va) Lin­ux com­mu­ni­ty Web site.

I’m cur­rent­ly the pres­i­dent of the Syd­ney Lin­ux Users Group and also on the Lin­ux Aus­tralia Coun­cil. Through those, I organ­ise and co-ordi­nate meet­ings and events for the Aus­tralian Lin­ux com­mu­ni­ty. Oth­er than that, I’m involved in the Ubun­tu com­mu­ni­ty, One Lap­top Per Child (OLPC), the Grameen Foun­da­tion and a few oth­er projects.

What do you do in your spare time?

My open source con­tri­bu­tions take up the bulk of my non-work hours. I read a lot of news and cur­rent affairs, and I’ve been known to go on Wikipedia binges. Oth­er than that, I spend time with fam­i­ly and friends.

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