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Do You Believe in the Users?

Ben Collins-Sussman (Google, Inc.), Brian Fitzpatrick (Google, Inc.)
People
Location: Portland 255
Average rating: ****.
(4.23, 13 ratings)

Too many programmers have forgotten about the lost art of customer service. All software has users, though most developers have forgotten how to respect them, trust them, or “sell” their software to them in an exciting (but honest!) manner. This talk will focus on anecdotes and strategies for keeping software design uncomplicated, making software fast, and putting usability above programming convenience. We’ll also focus on the importance of keeping a healthy illusion of simplicity, while allowing abstractions to deliberately leak for power-users.

Photo of Ben Collins-Sussman

Ben Collins-Sussman

Google, Inc.

Ben is a member of Google’s Open Source Program Office, working on projects to promote the spread of open source software both inside and outside the company. He is a technical lead for Google Code’s open source project hosting service, available at http://code.google.com. He helped port Subversion to Google’s Bigtable technology, which now runs across numerous machines and serves over 80,000 open source repositories. Prior to Google, Ben spent five years with Collabnet as one of the original designers and founders of the Subversion project. He is still active in the Subversion community and is also a co-author of the O’Reilly book “Version Control with Subversion”. He received his B.S. in Mathematics from the University of Chicago, and enjoys speaking with Brian Fitzpatrick at various conferences on topics both serious and irreverent.

Photo of Brian Fitzpatrick

Brian Fitzpatrick

Google, Inc.

Brian Fitzpatrick started his career at Google in 2005 as the first software engineer hired in the Chicago office. Brian leads Google’s Chicago engineering efforts and also serves as engineering manager for Google Code and internal advisor for Google’s open source efforts. Prior to joining Google, Brian was a senior software engineer on the version control team at CollabNet, working on Subversion, cvs2svn, and CVS. He has also worked at Apple Computer as a senior engineer in their professional services division, developing both client and web applications for Apple’s largest corporate customers.

Brian has been an active open source contributor for over ten years. After years of writing small open source programs and bugfixes, he became a core Subversion developer in 2000, and then the lead developer of the cvs2svn utility. He was nominated as a member of the Apache Software Foundation in 2002 and spent two years as the ASF’s VP of Public Relations. Brian has written numerous articles and given many presentations on a wide variety of subjects from version control to software development, including co-writing “Version Control with Subversion” as well as chapters for “Unix in a Nutshell” and “Linux in a Nutshell.”

Brian has an A.B. in Classics from Loyola University Chicago with a major in Latin, a minor in Greek, and a concentration in Fine Arts and Ceramics. Despite growing up in New Orleans and working for Silicon Valley companies for most of his career, he decided years ago that Chicago was his home and stubbornly refuses to move to California.

OSCON 2008