goodbye hp, hello canonical

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The first time I hefted an HP48 in hand I was hooked. I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wanted to make things. I wanted to work at a company — at the company — that could make this thing, this touchstone, this piece of engineering. I wanted to work at Hewlett-Packard.

I read the HP Way and I believed.

Time passed. I discovered Linux. I went to University and they had real Unix workstations — HP workstations! I learned to hack. And I dreamed.

So when HP offered to pay me to hack on real, honest-to-Betsy Unix, that wasn’t opportunity knocking at the door; that was destiny burning down the house and dragging me out by the face.

Tastes change as one matures. I ascended Maslow’s hierarchy and discovered a need to contribute to a greater good. I’m not cut of academic cloth, but in Linux and open source, there was a way to help build a body of work that forms the foundation of the future. And HP kept wanting to pay me.

I was amazed to have found my dream job before I turned 30, to turn a belief into a career.

Well, 30 has come and long gone and I’ve earned enough scars in my past 8 years here at HP to realize that the intersection of dream and reality isn’t always pleasant. HP was formative for me and will always hold a dear place in my mind. But it’s no longer the place for me. So with a hint of bittersweet, I’ve decided it’s time for me to move on and seek elysian fields elsewhere.

I’m joining Canonical, who make Ubuntu Linux, a product named after the concept of “humanity towards others”. I don’t think it’s naive to keep dreaming of making a better world.

Thanks for indulging me this conceit.