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