Storage Informer
Storage Informer

Matthew Allum, Open Source Hacker

by on Jul.23, 2009, under Storage

Interview: Matthew Allum, Open Source Hacker

Matthew Allum is an Open Source hacker and ex OpenedHand boss man cat herder currently working at Intel. Beyond making Linux better on devices, his interests include design, mid century modern furniture and architecture, comics and an ever changing cycle of obsessions (currently amassing sofubi & kaijus). He lives just outside London in the UK with his wife Sidske, daughter Alleke, pugs Arnold and Clint, and cats Elsa, Aslan and evil Lazaru.

Dawn: What was it like when OpenedHand was acquired, and what made you decide to sell to Intel?

Matthew: Pre-acquisition, OpenedHand was doing really well – but really too well. My energies were being drawn more and more into just running and scaling the company to cope with demand rather than the more creative technical aspects of which I most enjoyed. It was becoming this spiraling chore, and I couldn&apost fix it.

Though we&aposd turned away other interest in the past, Intel appealed due to their heritage with Open Source and technology, the challenge of Moblin and a bigger landscape, and the assurance of maintaining the team&aposs dynamic and culture whilst being able to grow the design and user experience side of things.

In terms of what the acquisition was like, selling a company is a very educational but not really enjoyable experience; essentially 3 months of pretty much living in a lawyer&aposs office. It could have been a lot worse however – especially if the Intel acquisition team had not been so professional and reasonable to work with.

Dawn: What kind of work are you doing now, and is it much different from what you were doing at OpenedHand?

Matthew: At Intel I&aposm the lead architect on Moblin, focused on the UI side of things. In a nutshell, it involves leading the team creatively around areas of technical implementation, working closely with visual and interaction designers, planning, researching, interfacing with wider Intel and if I&aposm lucky – some coding :) .

There are of course parallels here with what I used to do at Openedhand, but much less on the business and &aposrunning a company&apos side of things. Because of this, I&aposm pretty sure my blood pressure is lower nowadays.

Dawn: You claim to have an ever changing cycle of obsessions. What were a few of these obsessions prior to sofubi and kaijus?

Matthew: Hmm, as well as my vintage Japanese monster toys there are lots of other obscure fascinations and collections – from a interest in experimental modular 20th century Architecture to abstract art to simply building Lego with my daughter.


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