Brussels / 1 & 2 February 2020


Interview with Daniel Riek
How Containers and Kubernetes re-defined the GNU/Linux Operating System. A Greybeard's Worst Nightmare

Photo of Daniel Riek

Daniel Riek will give a talk about How Containers and Kubernetes re-defined the GNU/Linux Operating System. A Greybeard's Worst Nightmare at FOSDEM 2020.

Q: Could you briefly introduce yourself?

My name is Daniel Riek, for a day-job I work in the Office of the CTO at Red Hat, mainly on our AI strategy. I have been in the Free Software business since co-founding ID-Pro, one of Europe’s early GNU/Linux start-ups, in ‘97. I also helped to create the Free Software Foundation Europe back then — albeit in a minor role. But I got a nice certificate of appreciation signed by Georg Greve and RMS out of it, that I still have in my office today. Red Hat I joined in 2003 — and have been there since, with a short interruption to try out another start-up. One of the roles I had at Red Hat was to lead the Red Hat Enterprise Linux product management between 2005 and 2011. I also was one of the people driving the container transformation since 2014.

Q: What will your talk be about, exactly? Why this topic?

There is a lot changing in software stacks and OS architecture — thanks to the incredible complexity of modern software stacks and of course because of the Cloud paradigm. I think it is important to see this in the context of historic development of certain aspects of operating systems and what motivates them — that can help direct us in the right direction. And, well, I have a good part of my life thinking about these kind of problems, so I want to contribute to the debate.

Q: What do you hope to accomplish by giving this talk? What do you expect?

My hope is, that it will get people to think about container and OS trends in a different way.

Q: How has the cloud paradigm changed the GNU/Linux operating system over the last 20 years?

I would say that Cloud as a paradigm is really only understood since 10-ish years. It has changed how users see software. It is all about on-demand elasticity, developer velocity, and encapsulated operational excellence. Amazon’s gig is to take (mostly Free) Software and operationalize it, so that people can use it without building the operational expertise on their own. This is very different from the traditional model of Free Software - which is all about democratizing the access to software but still puts the burden of operational knowledge on the user. I think that is something we need to deal with, and I will try to map out an idea about that.

Q: 2020 marks the 20th anniversary of (F)OSDEM. What contributions has FOSDEM made to the advancement of FOSS?

FOSDEM is the key event to keep the advancement of Free Software going — away from corporate marketing departments and industry trade associations (foundations). I think that is important.

Q: Have you enjoyed previous FOSDEM editions?

Yes. Although not as many as I would have liked.

Creative Commons License
Creative Commons License

This interview is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Belgium License.