Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Spotlight on Richard McDougall

If you haven't yet visited Richard McDougall's Blog you should fire up your browser and head over. I had the pleasure of meeting Richard at a SunUP Network Conference in Singapore where we were both giving presentations. We met up again at later conferences in Sydney Australia and Boston in the same scenario, and he hit it out of the park every time he got in front of customers. It's very rare to meet someone as brilliant as Richard who is also so down to Earth and generous with his knowledge; he is a true Jedi Master in the land of Solaris.

One characteristic you observe early in Richard's presentations is his enthusiasm for Solaris and its potential. This article on Chip Multi-Threading is a classic example of his style, and was what inspired me to write this entry. I remember him speaking about some of Sun Volume Manager's (SVM) new (at the time) features which were specifically designed to address the reasons customers had chosen Veritas Volume Manager. Rather than attacking the message with the technical nuts and bolts, he hit on a few topics and delivered the message that Sun was listening. I am certain that more people re-examined SVM after his delivery than any speeds and feeds preso would have motivated. A true Jedi master delivers important messages without patronizing through understanding the intended recipients.

The other item I want to draw your attention to is his new set of books: Solaris Internals and Solaris(TM) Performance and Tools: DTrace and MDB Techniques for Solaris 10 and OpenSolaris (Hardcover) which were just delivered to me from Amazon. First of all, I hate poorly bound books. I buy books to use as reference manuals - tools of my trade. These books feel like professional tools that you will appreciate returning to. Remember buying that Calculus book in college? The one that weighs 25 lbs? This is that book. I love it! They are expensive, but good books aren't cheap, and the investment the author made in sharing his skills isn't cheap either. The first edition of Solaris Internals is well known as the authoritative reference on Solaris plumbing, and with all of the exciting changes Solaris 10 brings, this book is timely. I'm anxious to dig into it and post a review, but in the mean time please check the books out. This page has more information, and sample content.

I'd like to start paying tribute to some of the Jedi Masters I've benefited from, and this post serves as the first. Please take a moment to read Richard's Blog. Check back frequently - if he posts it, you should know about it. And if you need a diversion from Solaris, he's also a great photographer.