OpenSource and how to demo it

August 29, 2022

Burr is the person who has been preparing, executing and demoing all the Keynote Demos during the last Red Hat Summits.
Red Hat Summit is the yearly event from Red Hat for announcing news and bringing together all of its customers in a huge conference.

I wanted to know from Burr, how he got involved with OpenSource, what it means to demo OpenSource in front of such large audiences, and how demoing OpenSource has changed over that last years and decades.

An Interview with Burr Sutter, Mastermind behind and Presenter of all Keynote Demos at Red Hat Summit

Burr Sutter, Director Product Management, Red Hat

Matthias Pfützner, Chief Editor, Red Hat

Burr is the person who has been preparing, executing and demoing all the Keynote Demos during the last Red Hat Summits. Red Hat Summit is the yearly event from Red Hat for announcing news and bringing together all of its customers in a huge conference.

I wanted to know from Burr, how he got involved with OpenSource, what it means to demo OpenSource in front of such large audiences, and how demoing OpenSource has changed over that last years and decades. We also talked about the future of OpenSource and next Summits.

See the full interview here (a bit more than 35 minutes):

Transcript of the interview:

Matthias Pfützner: Welcome Burr. I am Matthias Pfützner responsible for one of our German blog posts that we do which is under the name of The interest that we have there is just putting everything together what’s with open source regardless of the topic. We even will have at Thanksgiving later this year something about open source seeds and how these things might work out.

And you have been in Red Hat for quite some time the person performing the demos during the keynotes of one of our most important events in the year, namely the Summit. My idea today was to just talk with you about these things. What you’ve learned in the last years, what the topics had been, where you and how you have been coming in contact with open source. And with that, I so-to-say, just want to hand it over to you to just introduce yourself a little bit.

Burr Sutter: Introduce myself. Well, I can start with the fact that I have such an odd name Burr Sutter. And it has to the fact that I have a hybrid background. I was a, I am a biracial person from Hawaii. My mother was Japanese, my father from Georgia, Alabama, and Alabama area. And the Burr name actually comes from the southern portion of my family. My middle name is Kavika, which is from the Hawaiian portion of my family and so already, I have an odd name and I’ve always had this kind of hybridized mental model because I lived in both worlds as a child.

And I got to see the world of Alabama, especially in the 70s when it was still incredibly racially motivated at that point in time. And I were still dealing with the aftermath of the civil rights movement in Alabama, and Hawaii where the rules are completely reversed. As an example I learned how to program in Hawaii only because they had computers. They didn’t have computers in Alabama at the time, but they had computers in Hawaii.

And I learned how to program and the part that’s interesting about that is when I got then back to Alabama, I was back and forth in my youth, right? Because I had family both places. When I got back to Alabama. I was going to college. I realized at that point that my roommate said that you could learn this thing called computers and programming and they paid you for that.

And I thought that was super interesting because like I already know computers. I know how to do that stuff. They pay you for that, because back in the 80s, we had no idea they would pay you for this. This job. We really didn’t, right? It was just, you know, some weird people worked on those weird computer things. Everyone else got a job selling cars or doing insurance or you know, teaching school or whatever. It might have been. yeah, so I actually started in the soft programming world 86, 85. And I think about it. And then and then of course went to school and graduated in 91 there and then got a real job you know, programming at that point. And my degree though is not actually in computer science or software engineering. It is specifically an MIS, management information systems, which we offer both programs here in the US. I don’t think they do in Germany

Matthias Pfützner: Yep.

Burr Sutter: but MIS comes out of the business school. So you learn programming but you learn in the context of building accounting and finance applications and HR applications and business applications. So I would say that my mental model has always been how to build business applications. And and that has served me well over the last 30 years because invariable, you end up working with a lot of people who are truly from the engineering side and they’re very interested in how to make the next compiler work or the next piece of middleware work or the cool framework or, here at Red Hat we have all those people. They’re working on the next framework or middleware or technology and I’m always trying to figure out how to raise it up to the point where it looks like something a business might be interested in.

Matthias Pfützner: Yep.

Burr Sutter: That’s probably where the demo I was coming from, right, is trying to make all these little Linux technologies and Kubernetes technologies and middleware technologies come together so it looks like that a business might be to take advantage of

Matthias Pfützner: Yeah, so you’re basically have always been not necessarily on the infrastructure side of these things but on the upper level. So the most important part for you, once then, so to say, were when Red Hat acquired Jboss and we added a couple of products that allowed business applications to be built out of these components or are we also looking at other business applications that were hosted on Red Hat Enterprise Linux because the world knows, so to say, that Red Hat started with Linux distribution and we added…

Burr Sutter: Right.

Matthias Pfützner: …components to that later on and I think that was one of my ideas here in our interview today, that you had been the person at the Summits demoing on these additional features and making them applicable or even, to sort of say, transported the enthusiasm for all these components over and enlightened and inspire the audience.

Whenever I asked somebody in Red Hat, which sessions from Summit we need to watch afterwards, they always remind me:

It needs to be the sessions from Burr Sutter from the keynote because he’s the most energetic person over there.

So, how did it come that you really became the person to demo all these things at the Red Hat Summits.

Burr Sutter: I got, I kind of fell into it like most things happen, but it actually starts for me, many, many years ago like literally 30 plus years ago again. In the case of when I was in high school in Hawaii, just going to get back to the 80s again. I had a friend who basically said, you know, he wanted to perform and at our school at the time they allowed performances from students, so you might go to the pep rally. And then there will be someone doing a lip sync and a dancer you know, or someone doing a whatever any kind of performance acting drama and the school was always encouraging that. And so I got really lucky, I got encouraged to do dramatic events and singing and dancing and all kinds of silly things because people thought it was great. You know, people don’t frown upon it. They thought it was cool at the schools I went to at the time.

And so, we actually formed, a small group of us formed, a male cheerleading squad in the 80s. And no one did this back, right? It was very much: What do you guys doing? Not cool, right. That’s the girls job not the male, the cheerleading, but we actually did that for my senior of high school. So this is right when I was also learning programming, both things simultaneously.

And we actually put on some massive performances. I mean, we chore. I’ve worked on choreography and presentation and we practiced our butts off, rehearsed like crazy. And we just went out there and performed for the entire school, about 2,000 students. So we had big audiences back then where you’re out there doing some really scary stuff like back flipping through the parking lot and things of that nature.

So whenever someone says, Why aren’t you terrified of being on the stage? I’m like, well terror’s relative when you’re when you’re in front of all your classmates singing dancing, you know? You know etc that’s pretty terrifying.

Matthias Pfützner: Yeah, it can be.

Burr Sutter: And even for when it comes to big demos, even back in the 90s, I was working in a company called Progress Software at the time. And Progress Software was perfect for me because I came to the software development world with that mindset that you should build business enabling applications. And that’s all Progress can do. It is an amazing technology for building business, enabling applications especially back in the early 90s.

When the world was transforming, from what I call chewy character UI, right, the old green screen, amber screen VT 220, right, world, into the world of Windows, and GUI, graphical user interfaces and event driven user interfaces. And so Progress allowed you to work in both worlds at that point in time. So it was really good at that solution for building business, database driven, relational database driven applications and they actually had a demo shootout, and this I thought was very clever and I actually think every vendor ought to do this, but they basically asked all the competing teams, basically Presales teams, I was in Presales Solutions Architecture at that time everybody had to basically produce a cool demo and then within their geography they would kind of shoot out and then they, we got to a global shootout in Orlando, Florida of all places.

So they actually brought the finalists from around the globe and I think it was my team just we’re the Southeast out of Alabama, Georgia versus the Dutch. The Dutch tend to, they always won for some reason, I don’t know why. Yeah the Brazilians Roy is the most enthusiastic. The Dutch tends to once win the game back then. But we won and and by and the final deliverables are from the entire audience of several hundred people of your peers in this case, Progress Software, people and then you had to put on a show and even in that case, it was and involved a dance routine, some drama and a very clever demo application. And at the time it was, it was related for Atlanta, right? Southeast United States was about to get the Olympics.

So this is early 90s. We’re going to get that. We knew, we’re gonna get the Olympics. We did this whole cool Olympic thing and I can tell you, the one big element that really got people was back then when you were doing Windows for the first time, you had the blue screen of death and actually before the blue screen of death it was actually calling a Dr. Watson Right. And actually had a little special modal dialogue that would pop up and would basically say, you know, system error and the only thing you do is hit okay, and the system would reboot.

And it happens so often at everyone’s live demos that everyone knew it was going to happen and I actually memorized what that screen looked like and I went into Microsoft Paint and I repainted it. So, the static image.

So in the middle of the demo, we actually had a special hidden trigger that would work and we would be doing “working working boop-dink” and then everyone on stage was acting. We were like, Oh no. And then the whole audience was like, Oh, No. It was going so well. and we sat there for just a second to you know, looking at this big Air window thinking our whole presentation just blew up. And then, of course, I had the gag, which was well based on fact, we’re using our special software, you know, click the button and it shattered and fell off the screen and we kept a bit going on our demo.

I call that the fake fail and so you actually see some of those in some of our other presentations, too, because that, that trick works to this day,

People love the failure and overcoming a failure, and it has a dramatic moment. so yeah, so for me big time presentation started when I was a kid right you know and in my early part of my career building apps and former demonstrations and former you know highly competitive scenarios and so when when JBoss was acquired by Red Hat which was 16 years ago so, 2006 we at JBoss, we were already trying to do these demonstrations. Red Hat was not interested for one thing. All they had was Linux operating system, and you don’t really demonstrate a Linux operating system. What do you see except a terminal, right? And some commands, you could demonstrate awk and sed and you know vi or something, I don’t know. But at JBoss we did demos because we were middleware. We could build business applications on top and we had the SEAM framework. We had all the interesting JBoss, you know back then, JBoss Cache and JBoss messaging and JBoss App Server.

We had a lot of things to work with and much like the people at Sun Microsystems or BEA or whatever the day we could, we could do cool demos too. And we were doing JBoss World and then we actually ran into a big problem. I don’t know what year it was. JBoss World Orlando, 2007 or 2008? But the people who organized the keynote demo, which was not me that year, they messed up and I call it The Naked Baby demo.

Matthias Pfützner: Okay.

Burr Sutter: Because they didn’t rehearse well but they let, you know the demos, bring their personal laptop on stage, they wired it up to the AV system and they did since they rehearse well they just weren’t clean and therefore they couldn’t even tell what laptop should be projected at any given moment and that’s one big thing that fails. I’m, when it comes to these kind of presentations, is what projector is on stage? They didn’t figure that out and in which case someone had a screen saver on with his newborn child hopping around this, you know, and it was a naked baby. And for mixing, you know, the whole audience is looking at naked baby photos. And not understanding what technology is being presented, which all failed anyway, because they didn’t rehearse and they didn’t test it. Well, and so, there was a moratorium. On these keynote demos at that point in time they stopped, they’re like: No more. And of course, the Red Hat people like, Oh my God, this is why we never do demos. Look at what those JBoss people did, it was a disaster. So we had like three years where we were allowed to do them. Until JBoss world. Again, we got brave enough in 2010 to bring it back, where I went around to people and said, Come on, we can do this, I’ll do it. You know, I just if we’re whoever can help me, you know, we’ll come up with something, we’ll do it and they, they let us do it. And then we built up from 2010 to 2011-2012 until Red Hat Summit, which was aligned with JBoss World, basically said, OK, put it on the big stage and so, we’ve been doing that ever since.

I have to admit, though, these presentations are incredibly stressful and I, and maybe you’ll appreciate this one comment, they’re incredibly stressful.

Because as of this moment, it feels like we’ve never failed.

Matthias Pfützner: Yep.

Burr Sutter: And these things always fail. Bill Gates demos failed. I watched him fail. I watched Steve Jobs demos fail, right?

You know, all the big guys fail, unless they do the video editing thing. They only then they succeed because they cut out the video of the bad parts. But otherwise a lot demo, always fails and we’ve not had failures. But that’s mostly because the failures that we have had we kind of anticipated them, understood them, danced around them live on stage because if you actually go back and watch some of the video, you might see me hurrying through some phases or changing things on the fly a little bit because things were failing at some point in time. But we were able to dance around enough to get through the presentation. And, but that, that does worry me even to this day. It’s like…

Matthias Pfützner: Yeah but, but I think the most important part here is that people are knowledgeable in some cases and really see that it fails and what makes it so intriguing to watch all these things is exactly to see how you then really work around these failures and what you are doing and this is the part that makes it really engaging. So perhaps we might want to do some in the future. Some demonstrations, where we have some persons or people really introduce errors like pulling a plug or pulling the network plug.

Burr Sutter: Yeah.

Matthias Pfützner: I think we saw that when I was at the OpenStack Summit once, was it Barcelona I think, where that was part of the demo. They just wanted to show how failures are handled and how the system itself or the application on top of these systems, then really survives. So if we are looking at the infrastructure level, they somehow know how to handle these failures because it’s part of the infrastructure but in the business level on top of this, that’s normally not intended to happen and therefore the stress as you’ve mentioned is a little bit higher in having an application running all the time, and not really failing during a, such an important moment, like the, like the presentation.

So what, what did change in these years that you’ve been doing all these presentations? So is there any notable change that you’ve experienced over the time?

Burr Sutter: The notable change over the last, I guess I’ve been, I’ve done about a dozen years of these things now, right, for Red Hat, in particular, the what-has-changed is the cloud has changed the way we think of the world. So for instance, I’ve been working on a demo as of yesterday where I am communicating from South Africa, Cape Town to Tokyo, because with the cloud, I have access to all these resources.

So I’ve literally been working on: Demo from Sydney, to Frankfurt to Montreal, from Japan to Cape Town to Ohio, You know, here in the United States. And, and I’m working on those failure scenarios with Skupper, in so, basically trying to figure out particular, right, how we distribute load, have bursting from cloud to cloud. What happens if this network line is severed, can I communicate from the cloud back on-prem? That’s really what I was working on last night, was, you know, how do I make my own on-prem resources more visible to the remote hosted Kubernetes cluster? So the great evolution that has happened, a revolution in our industry, is the cloud. The fact that you have ubiquitous resources that are geographically distributed that anybody with a credit card, and that’s all I do, is, I go spin up all these things that I need and I think that’s absolutely amazing. And it’s probably the single greatest impact both negative and positive to open source that we’ve seen in the last 20 years, is this concept that the cloud makes these technologies incredibly easy to go touch for the very first time. If you want to try Linux it takes you a few seconds to spin up a Linux virtual machine on a cloud provider and you can go play with that Linux. Now, as my case, I’ll try two or three Linuxes just to see if they behave differently. You know, and I have EKS, AKS and GKE running. Sometimes I have, or an OpenShift. So I have four, five different cluster variants and two or three Linux variants running any given moment. And I think that aspect is really what’s changed our world for the better, right? It makes us all more productive, but it does make the world of open source a little bit trickier.

Matthias Pfützner: Yeah, so now that you’ve mentioned open source, what was your first encounter with open source and the philosophies behind open source and how did it influence you?

Burr Sutter: So in my case I didn’t, I didn’t do the Linux thing, like so many people did in the late, late 90s, early 2000s. I knew people who did and, but my brain was wired for productivity business application productivity. And at that point in time, Linux did not offer business application productivity. It was, you know, something for hobbyists to play with and have fun with and like, Oh look, it’s like SunOS (but it’s not), I can run it on Intel hardware. I’m like, I’m like I’m good with SunOS and Solaris, it works great for me, you know?

Matthias Pfützner: I fully agree.

Burr Sutter: And I did

Matthias Pfützner: I had been working at Sun in these days,

Burr Sutter: And I was using Solaris for my apps, right? And HP, and AIX, and all that. And those were fine because I was focused on the business application layer. So, my entry point was about 2001 where I discovered this open source technology, that was out of the Apache foundation time. We, we had Apache Web server, which people were starting to use. But again, it was, I didn’t need Apache Web Server at that time, I was in the application servers at that moment but I had the Struts framework. And so, it really was the Struts framework that turned me on to open source.

So that was where again it was a solution. I had actually built my own version of that for my own purposes and MVC, you know, Model View Controller style framework. And then when I saw that, I was like, Oh, I don’t have to rewrite this anymore. I’ve got one free and open source. And if I want to contribute to it, I can, if I want to try it with no licensing issues, no sales rep to call.

And that was probably the biggest thing I didn’t have to call the sales rep. I could just download it on my own, I could try it. See if I liked it and go on about my business and, and I actually did a presentation for the Atlanta Java User Group at the time, on all the different things. Actually at the Apache foundation I found interesting, Struts framework being the big one but I think there’s also another framework called POI at the time. POI which was related to how do you translate things to Excel Spreadsheets? Or something? There was another one later or maybe it was PDFs I can’t remember anymore right? But there was one for PDFs, one for Excel spreadsheets, the Struts, you know MVC. There’s a few different things that at Apache at the time they were open sourcing for the Java community and I just found that fascinating and that was also at the same time that I did became the president of the Atlanta Java Users Group. I did my presentation, the current president was like, oh you did a great presentation, do you want to be a president?

I’m like: OK.

And, you know, and so my involvement with the community in Atlanta, at the time was kind of born at the same time, I discovered open source. So really, for the early 2000s, I spent all my time, focusing on community, like, actual community, people, and organizing events and talking to them about the fact that, you know, what? If it’s free and open source, you can go try it. You can go just use it.

You can decide if you need it for your business applications, you know. And at the time it was just exploding in the early 2000s and the job community. All these different frameworks, all these different tools, all these different capabilities and that’s really where I got my start. And so, of course, JBoss was born out of that same movement and JBoss, of course, kind of ate the universe at that moment. What I can have is an open source App server, I don’t have to pay eighty thousand dollars for WebLogic. No, you don’t pay 80,000 for a WebLogic check anymore. Actually I have a slide, I use in my presentations to this day, that shows, if you want to build a website, a website, with a web application. We called it Dynamic Web Apps back then. Right in 1999 you had to spend about a half a million dollars for “Hello World”.

Now, because you needed Solaris machines, you always had two, right? You had a database machine and you had web server, you had the application server which is 80 grand from WebLogic or whatever. The database server, what from Oracle was the more expensive thing I think was 200,000

Matthias Pfützner: And it still is, I think

Burr Sutter: Yeah, and then and then you had an, even the IDE back then was $10,000 a seat, right? So it was $30,000 for your IDE for your team. And so to get started, it was half a million dollars and there were people over in Silicon Valley at the time, bootstrapping all that for you. So you could start your, do your startup.

Matthias Pfützner: Yep, sure.

Burr Sutter: Yeah. And so fast forward just a few years and Linux replaces the Solaris, right, MySQL replaces the Oracle, JBoss replaces the WebLogic, and now you’re starting for free. And you know, versus the half a million dollars. And now with the cloud, you’re starting essentially for free and you don’t have to wait for hardware to show up.

Matthias Pfützner: Still, you need to pay here.

Burr Sutter: Right. So I…

Matthias Pfützner: Still, you need to somehow pay the bill for the year for the usage, but it’s not fully for free. But looking back, even in those days when we had the software stack for free, hardware was not completely free, so you needed to spend something.

Burr Sutter: What on hardware and the hardware was not, was not free, but more importantly, the hardware required multi-month wait times.

Matthias Pfützner: Exactly, exactly.

Burr Sutter: That was really gotcha. It’s like I had to wait four months for the hardware to show up and get configured and rack it, rack it power, ping it, you know all that, you know in my case I would build out little things in my cubicle.

Matthias Pfützner: Yeah, you wouldn’t run it back here in such a situation because the network might not have been surviving on the requests coming in and stuff like that.

Burr Sutter: Right.

Matthias Pfützner: Totally understood. So when we had been talking now about how you entered the world of OpenShift, where do you see the world of OpenShift going to in the next 15 years or so?

Burr Sutter: OpenShift or Open Source.

Matthias Pfützner: Sorry sorry, sorry. Sorry, absolutely open source. You’re right, open source because it’s a broad spectrum. You are mostly covering on the developer focus and the human interfaces and stuff like that and the business aspects. Any thoughts on your side where this industry is headed to?

Burr Sutter: I, the, the beautiful thing about open source, right, is, it was in that enabling technology that basically made things free and frictionless. I look at those two words a lot and I would use the phrase open source back in the day, to essentially, communicate to my audience. It’s free, it’s frictionless, you can download it right now. Try it with no sales rep phone calls and you can see if it works for your use case. You can basically trial the technology, evaluate the technology without ever hassling with a sales team, and I always thought that was incredibly valuable because I started early enough in my career, where, in order to evaluate products and technologies, and I did this for the Air Force at the time, my very first job out of college was to build systems for the Air Force. And so, Air Force, of course is very regimented.

It had a big RFP process, you know, Request for Proposal process.

They would take many months and I would actually go to magazines and look for ads for technologies, I thought, would fit our use cases, you know, a database engine, a graphically util, graphical front end, middleware, technology, whatever it was at the time. And, and then you would have called the vendors up from the ad and then they would have to come, do their dog and pony show, sell you their product and then you would decide, you know, go to the RFP process and make the bids etc. So six months later he might get the software you needed to start building your app. You know, it was always six to 12 months later. Now I thought that was just nuts, it’s to slow. Open source made that zero months, right? You could go, instead of waiting six months, you get down to zero months, but you had the hardware issues. And the cloud, of course, kind of solved, kind of sort of both, right?

Matthias Pfützner: Yep.

Burr Sutter: So the, that’s what I actually see happening with open source right now because the cloud is almost free and even more frictionless

So it’s the even more frictionlessness now becomes more interesting than the dollar amount because if the dollar amount is low enough, if it’s 500 bucks or 200 bucks or five bucks, I try something, Then okay that’s nothing right. I’ll spend the 500 bucks if I need to, if I’m a large enough organization but it’s the fact that I no longer wait months but I wait maybe 60 seconds. Try that new Kubernetes thing, to try that new database thing, to try that new networking storage, whatever. It might be, you know, Amazon Lambda, or Azure Container apps, or Google Cloud Engine, or what, you know, there’s all these great things that are happening all the time in the cloud. And I see that as a disadvantage to open source, because open source, which used to be the most free and frictionless, is now, has something else that’s also nearly free and even more frictionless. And I think that’s a challenge for open source and and it’s a challenge for organizations in the open source world, open source vendors, like Red Hat and others, because the cloud providers will take that same open source technology, upstream technology, and host it.

They’ll host the Linux, they’ll host the Kubernetes, they’ll host the XYZ, whatever. Your favorite storage solution, your networking solution, your middleware technology, whether it be messaging, caching, app servers, etc, etc. And therefore there’s less energy on the open source side because the cloud providers don’t tend to contribute much. They just tend to consume and therefore, all your university students, all your hackers, all your weekend people, and all your Red Hat engineers, all your MongoDB engineers, elastic search engineers, you know, the people who work at Oracles and IBMs and everything in between, you know, your GSIs, your large consulting companies, they might still be contributing to those open source upstreams. But it’s the cloud providers that are benefiting more.

They’re able to monetize it easier. You know what? Just a credit card, and I see that as a negative pressure on open source world as a whole. On the positive side, I don’t believe open source goes away nor does it even shrink, it continues to grow maybe just at a different pace because the nature of community is still a key driving influence and in any good open source project and any good open source upstream, they’re very mature community where humans get together with other humans and they are there to empower and support other humans. And, and I always ask a lot of people even at Red Hat when they show me some new technology, like, you know, we have tons of Red Hat people innovating on all kinds of ideas and I will say to them: I said: Great you showed me your thing and cool. I think it’s, it’s cool, what you did

but where is my new superpower?

I use that phrase a lot, that question, and the reason I do is because as a human, I might be willing to invest my time and energy to come learn your thing to come understand your thing, maybe even use your thing, but that takes time, that takes an investment on my part. But I’m willing to do that if I get a new superpower out of it. You know, I think that’s true of all humans if I’m willing to explore but I don’t have a lot of time. So if I’m really going to invest my time and because really this point, time is most valuable resource, you know, in your thing, then I need to walk away from that with a net new amazing capability. Something I didn’t have before. And open source has always enabled that like JBoss App Store was a perfect example instead of paying, you know, $80,000 for WebLogic I got something for free and I can immediately build kick-ass web applications on top of that in Java, you know, using JSPs and servlets, and EJBs and all that back in the day and put my Struts framework on it and eventually Spring and dependency injection, you know, you know, all that magic that I gained out of the job ecosystem in the middle 2000s was basically enabling superpowers for me. And so that’s how I look at it even to this day.

And so as long as open source projects work incredibly hard on building their communities, enabling other humans, making sure humans serve humans, they’re good. They’re gonna win and you see that in the Kubernetes ecosystem. The Kubernetes ecosystem, I think, it’s a beautiful ecosystem. The community is incredibly vibrant, whenever you see them speak to each other. They speak at kubecon, they produce videos, they write blogs, the CNCF people, like, I don’t know.

Have you met CNCF people you don’t like?

Matthias Pfützner: No.

Burr Sutter: It’s, I mean everyone I’ve seen is witnessing like, you kind of want all give a hug

Matthias Pfützner: Yep.

Burr Sutter: And I think that’s huge…

Matthias Pfützner: Yep, it is.

Burr Sutter: …because the other day when humans serve other humans and enable other humans with superpowers, we all, everybody wins. It’s not a zero-sum game, right?

Matthias Pfützner: Yep.

Burr Sutter: It seems like in the cloud world, it feels like a zero-sum game. They want to kill each other, right? They want to best each other but in open source community we all try to support each other. And when we do that, we, everybody wins. So I think that element will continue to benefit open source dramatically. We’ll continue to energize open source ecosystems. Now, there will be plenty of open source projects that fail at the community building side. And therefore, they’ll just kind of fade into the background where you don’t hear about them anymore, which I think is unfortunate, because the technology might have been very innovative, very interesting, but if they fail at the community building, then no one will even know, right? What is that phrase, if a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, right? Does anyone even know, and, and so the concept of community building I think…

Matthias Pfützner: Yeah, exactly.

Burr Sutter: …will be, is even more important going forward.

Matthias Pfützner: Yeah, definitely, definitely, I think so we’re getting close to the end of our half hour and therefore, just a question from my side. This year, we didn’t see you on stage during the keynote, but the Red Hat internals know that you’ve been doing the preparation for all the demos at the summit this time, will you continue to do the summit demos in the future? And how long can we expect you to be there for us? And to energize us and to keep the communities vibrant with the superpowers that you transmit from the stage into the audience?

Burr Sutter: So for 2022 as we switched the nature of Red Hat Summit, we decided to make Red Hat Summit an executive event. We wanted to be for the, you know, well paid people who wore nice suits and basically made big decisions and those people were there and they’re always there at Red Hat summit right? The Vice President this, and Vice President of that, and big bank, and big government, and big insurance, and big airline. And so it’s important that those folks be there because they often make very large decisions around our subscriptions and the very nature of how Red Hat will monetize things in the future. But because we’ve switched the audience to a pure executive audience and a very small peer executive audience, I actually scripted myself out. You know, I pulled myself out of the script if you will. And, and while I worked with the people who were on stage extensively, working on their scripts, rehearsing, rehearsing, rehearsing, So they could deliver a great presentation and they did, they did a great job.

Matthias Pfützner: They did, yeah.

Burr Sutter: We just, I wanted to be very much a, you know, let’s try to keep it as high level as possible. Take, take all the song and dance, if you will, out of it. That was not considered appropriate for an executive audience and because my on stage persona so much associated with the, that cool clever innovative, you know, developer facing user-facing content and we were not dealing with developers and users and Linux administrators and automators, and you know, those people were in the audience in theory, right? We want to deal with executives, I decided to pull my, the person who I am, out of the script. And I think that worked very well. So the real question is, does Red Hat Summit go back to being inclusive of all users, of all the people who made Red Hat great over the last 20 plus years, of all those people who adopted Linux, and made Linux amazing and helped contribute to the vibrancy of that ecosystem. And, of course, the vibrancy we’ve seen in the Kubernetes ecosystem and all the people who contributed to the JBoss and middleware and Java, and all that ecosystem. If we, if we get back to embracing users at a user event, and executives are fine too, you know, you can always kind of make, give them special opportunities at Summit. Like we used to, you know, where they had special executive briefings and special executive cocktail hours, and special executive, you know. You know, executives had to be treated differently and they definitely don’t want to see a terminal and code and all that stuff, right? So if we have a mixed audience again, then I think it becomes appropriate again for doing something like I did in my previous presentation works. OK, let’s show very cool technology enables a really cool business possible vision, you know, vision of the future. And as well as what users could gain in terms of capability. What I’m always looking for is that.

What’s that next new superpower for the user?

And, and the weird part about an executive, I don’t know what the superpower is for them because their goal is save money. You know, number one, save money, number two, you know, do more, you know, so and that, While they have to enable business functions, they don’t really care about what technology is used and enable the business function. You know it. If you told them, you could do it with Solaris, Oracle and, and WebLogic.

Matthias Pfützner: Yep.

Burr Sutter: They like fine, you know, then yeah. So that’s the nature of being executive, I want to say, executively, Red Hat executives. I mean, the customer executives.

Matthias Pfützner: Exactly. I just want to say Matt Hicks, now our new CEO and president, he started in Red Hat as an IT admin, even doing some software development. So we never know what the future CEO or executives might really come from and what perspective and background they have. So my thinking this year was a little bit: It’s sad to not have you had on stage because the opportunity that we had with the online version of Summit might have even been helpful in influencing other developers out there that might not necessarily come to an event like Summit. So depending on what next year will look like, depending on Covid development and stuff like that, I’m really looking forward to seeing you back on stage at Summit next year. And with that, I thank you for the time you’ve given us here today, and have given us the insight into the history of your presentations at Summit and:

Thank you, Burr!

Burr Sutter: Thank you.

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