MVP Profile – Charlie Russel

charlie_russel A chemist by education, an electrician by trade, a UNIX sysadmin and Oracle DBA because he raised his hand when he should have known better. An IT Director and consultant by default, and a writer by choice, Charlie is the author of more than 2 dozen computer books on operating systems and enterprise environments, including "Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Administrator's Companion"(MS Press), "Microsoft Windows Small Business Server 2003 R2 Administrator's Companion"(MS Press), "Microsoft Windows XP Resource Kit, 3rd Edition"(MS Press), and "Oracle DBA Scripting Quick Reference"(Prentice-Hall PTR) and the upcoming “Microsoft Windows Server 2008 Administrator’s Companion” (MS Press). He has also written numerous white papers and case studies on and is a regular columnist for the Windows Expert Zone and the Windows Vista Community Site.

What does being an MVP mean to you?

Being an MVP is a recognition of the work I’ve done in the community, and I’m proud of that work. I was doing it before I was an MVP, and I would continue to do it regardless of the award because I believe in the community. A strong and healthy community benefits all of us. The MVP award is primarily important to me because it enables me to be more effective in the community.

If you could ask Steve Ballmer one question about Microsoft, what would it be?

What is it going to take for Microsoft to stop being about lawyers and go back to being about software?

What do you think the best software ever written was?

The original and early versions of WinZip. It was a small program that solved a very needed problem and did it well. It didn’t try to be too many things, and it just worked. There are lots of other examples – small programs that do one thing, do it right, don’t cost an arm and a leg, and just work. The sorts of programs I automatically load in every machine I build, and that have permanent space on my USB key.

If you were the manager of Windows Server, what would you change?

Tough one, because I know how hard it is. I’d find a way, somehow, to get PowerShell into Windows Server Core. PowerShell is the most exciting new software from MS in a long time, and Server Core is a huge new change for Windows Server. Not having PowerShell available on Core is tough. But fixing this is non-trivial, and as someone once remarked, at some point shipping is a feature too. 😉

What are the best features/improvements of Windows Server?

Terminal Server Remote Applications – this is just plain cool!

Windows Server Core – something we should have had for ages

NAP – The promise has been there, but now we have a working version that normal humans can use.

What was the last book you read?

Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma. Powerful, compelling, and thought provoking. And a great read.

What music CD do you recommend?

Diana Krall`s “The Girl in the Other Room”

What makes you a great MVP?

I think all MVP’s are great, each in different ways, because they all give back to the community. I don’t think I’m a “great MVP”. But I am proud to be part of the worldwide group of people who are MVPs.

What is in your computer bag?

My Acer Ferrari laptop, running Vista 64bit; an ancient TechEd CD/DVD case with a dozen MSDN and other CD/DVDs in it; a 2 GB Crucial Gizmo! flash drive with essential utilities on it; a Granite Digital USB to IDE/SATA Bridge Adapter and a 2.5” 100GB HD; a Swiss Army knife (with USB drive); spare network cable; Shure E5c headphones and an iPod Nano.

What is the best thing that has happened since you have become an MVP?

Moved to Canada.

What is your motto?

If you don’t have time to do it right, how are you going to find time to do it over?

Who is your hero?

I don’t have one hero. I think many people are heroes, some briefly in a very public way, others every day in little ways.

What does success mean to you?

Success? Success is the little things. An email from a reader; a thanks from a newsgroup user whose problem we solved; a good bug that actually gets read and fixed.

Comments (2)

  1. Graham Jones says:

    I have the privilege of knowing Charlie and he totally epitomizes the principles behind being an MVP. He is also one of the most widely knowledgeable MVP’s that I know. Previously Dana Epp was featured here who I also greatly admire. Dana and Charlie do a terrific "double act" togethor which you must see if you get the chance. The community is richer for having support from people like Charlie.

    Graham Jones

    President, VANTUG

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