Michael Tiemann's Home Page

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All Images On This Website Are Copyright (C) Michael Tiemann

They may be freely used, (further) modified, and distributed under the terms of the GNU General Public License

When Red Hat decided to acquire Cygnus Solutions, 10 years of hard work and clean living paid off for me. In January of 2000 I became the Chief Technology Officer of Red Hat, a position I held until 2004, when I became Vice President of Open Source Affairs.

Cygnus History

I graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1986 with a BS CSE and a lot of ideas about compilers. In 1987, I realized that GNU software was some of the best software to be found anywhere, and that the GNU Manifesto was really a business plan in disguise. Being an entrepreneur at heart, I had found the perfect recipe for challenge and adventure. It took me two years to convince two other people to take me seriously. The three of us founded Cygnus Support (later called Cygnus Solutions), and the company has thrived ever after. You can read the story in the book Open Sources. Already read the book? Then hear the movie (an interview with Leo Laporte, host of The Screen Savers).

Our success was good enough to get me invited to give the 1992 Sun User's Group Keynote Address, top billing in in Fortune Magazine's first list of 25 Cool Companies (1993), and a number of other honors. In fact, we could have made the Inc. 500 list (the 500 fastest-growing privately held companies) in 1995, the first year possible, except we were too busy closing business to submit our numbers.

Not bad for a first try!

Update: In 1996, the San Jose Business Journal listed Cygnus as 96th on the list of the 100 fastest-growing privately held companies in the Bay Area. In 1997, we climbed to number 53. In 1998, we also joined the ranks of the Software 500! Was it because Tim O'Reilly, renowned publisher, entrepreneur, and open-source advocate put Programming with GNU Software in his Catalog? Maybe...

Speaking of Tim O'Reilley, here's a presentation (now lost?) I made in August 1998 at the Open Source Developer's Day. I think it loses a lot without me presenting it, but several people wanted to see it on the web, so here it is.

Before you write me off as an unapologetic capitalist, you might want to check out a timeline of my contributions to the GNU software project. Fortune Magazine gives testimony to the fact that this idea may just be the new dynamic for software. Before you start your own open source company, you might want to read my blow by blow description of what things were like in the early days at Cygnus.

My Work At Red Hat

I mostly spend my time on various Grand Unification Theories of Free and Open Source Software. These theories turn into presentations and/or whitepapers that I circulate among technology strategists and policy-makers. Here's a recent chronology:


You may notice that the images on my homepage are a bit dark. It isn't because the light hurts my eyes...it's because my monitors have a gamma value different than that of a TV screen (and yours may be different, too). TIFF knows how to deal with this, but JPEG does not (yet).


Family matters.

After taking advice from the 'net about photography equipment, and ignoring it on the subject of marriage, here are the first two of hopefully many travelogues with my wife Amy. The first, our honeymoon. The second, a bicycle tour of France. Our trip to Tokyo, Hakone, and Kyoto has not yet been published, alas.


And now for something completely different...some of my favorite links!

At long last, I've started donating to charity.

The GIMP is a totally cool free software project: up-to-date and on-the-edge. Way to go! Along with Blender, and Inkscape, even free software geeks can do art.

I've become fascinated by GIS software and all that it can do. The GRASS project, especially when combined with the R Project, the PostgreSQL database, PostGIS, and data from various government sources (such as NASA and the US Census) make for a powerful way to understand the world in which we live.

I've started reading again. I heartily recommend it.

I'm always on the looking for cool stuff in almost any wavelength, be it cool jazz, neat software, or even recipes that defy everything but good taste.

P.S. My brother Bruce is a world-class juggler. See an mpeg of him tying a world record when he dropped by for Christmas 1995. (Here's a smaller version that's de-interlaced.)