Introduction: OSS Lab Manager Stephen Zarkos

by SteveZ on March 14, 2008 02:17pm

As my first blog on Port25, I suppose it's appropriate to write a couple paragraphs about myself... so here it goes:

My name is Stephen Zarkos, and I am a Program Manager at the Open-Source Software Lab at Microsoft.  I work directly with many of the other contributors whose blogs you've probably read on Port25, including Sam, Hank, Anandeep, Kishi and others.

I joined the Lab in September of 2005.  Having a strong Linux background, the prospect of working at a Linux research lab, at Microsoft, seemed like a bit of a conflict of interest for me.  But in the end it was simply raw curiosity that required me to take the job and discover what this place was all about.  I can honestly say that I have not been disappointed.

I started life at Microsoft as a "Penguin", which is a term we lovingly use to describe our test engineers and Linux/OSS subject matter experts that work in the lab.  It was just this last year that I moved into my current Program Manager position.  Nonetheless, I still consider myself a Penguin, and much of my job still revolves around the same research, technical analysis and testing we've always done in the lab.  And now as a PM, I also participate in the management and scoping of some of our research projects, as well as overall management of the lab facilities.  In fact, many of my current responsibilies I inherited from Kishi, who some of you may know from his contributions to Port25.

Since my first days here I have not only had opportunities to work with many amazing people and unique technologies, I have also had a rare glimpse into the ever apparent change occurring within Microsoft and its relationship with the OSS world.  I like to think that some of my blunt opinions and fanboy ranting played perhaps a small part.  I used to joke that with my strong opinions about OSS, most software companies would have probably kicked me out within a few months.  Sometimes, when I catch Hank on a bad day, I bet he wishes they had 😉

I think most readers of Port25 have a fair understanding of what the OSS Lab at Microsoft is all about.  Part of my purpose of blogging on Port25 is to open the door a bit wider, and write about some of the inner workings of the lab itself.  Be sure to watch this space in the coming weeks for more details about the OSS Lab, our projects and, of course, the Microsoft Penguins.

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