new beginnings

5 April 2011 6:16 AM (oblong | igalia | guile | work | thoreau)

Friday is my last day at Oblong. It's been good times: my colleagues have all been generous, intelligent, respectful folk. It has been a real privilege to work with them for these few years, and I wish them all the best. Oblong is in a great position to emancipate both pixels and people from the proxy world of mice and windows.

At Oblong I was mostly focused on video, but if you're a regular reader of this electro-rag, you'd see that my passion is more on the side of compilers and free software, especially Guile. So when the opportunity presented itself to do something more directly aligned with those interests, I let myself be tempted.

igalia ho!

So what's next? Igalia is what's next! I'll join their new compilers group later this month, with an initial focus on JavaScriptCore optimization work and on Guile projects.

Igalia is a Spanish free software consulting shop that is fairly well-known in the GNOME community, but perhaps not so widely outside of it. I admit: it is refreshing (and relieving) to return to free software "on the clock", and to hack compilers for a living. This is fantastic. But that's not the thing that's really awesome (and unique, as far as I know) about Igalia.

No, the truly great thing is that Igalia is an entirely egalitarian organization. All important decisions are taken by the assembly, using consensus and similar collective decision-making procedures. That includes research, business development, budgets, hiring, salaries: everything. After a few years working there you become a partner, which makes you an equal co-owner of the business.

Wild, no? And wonderful. Igalia has been around for almost 10 years now, so the system definitely works, and I am very much looking forward to seeing how it works. It's a project, and I'm pleased to be a part.


My last note of this kind quoted Thoreau, ending with:

If I should sell both my forenoons and afternoons to society, neglecting my peculiar calling, there would be nothing left worth living for. I trust that I shall never thus sell my birthright for a mess of pottage.

Time passes, and it turns out that, among other things, Guile is my "peculiar calling". So the thing that I've worked out with Igalia folk is to go back to full time, though still with a nominal split between JavaScriptCore work and Guile work.

To be honest this split seems to be something akin to therapy. Before, I sold my time for sustenance, and if I could get interesting projects and nice folks on top of that, then great. But now, the prospect of drawing passion and work closer together is daunting at the same time that it's exciting. Hopefully, eventually, this split will heal itself, into a state in which I do what needs doing, while doing what I love. We'll see.

I'll be staying in Barcelona, at least until the fall. Until next time, dear readers, happy hacking. It's good to be back!

27 responses

  1. RubenV says:

    Fantastic news Andy! Good luck at the new job, great to see that you'll be able to do what you love.

  2. Bastien says:

    Yay! You compiler geek you!

  3. Lucas Rocha says:

    Great news! All the best on your new job!

  4. calvaris says:


  5. Alberto Ruiz says:

    That's a nice hire, congrats to the igalians!

  6. Frederic Peters says:

    Excellent Andy, Igalian sure is a fantastic company, and a strong match with you.

  7. guijemont says:

    Happy to have you on board. Welcome!

  8. Jordi says:

    Wow Andy, after reading about you joining igalia, a word popped into my mind: “awesome”!

    But, after reading *about igalia*, two words, not one, popped into it: FUCKING AWESOME (and I tell you, it was all caps in my head!).

    Congratulations, and have a lot of fun!

  9. Julian Graham says:

    Felicidades, Andy!

  10. Juan José Sánchez says:

    (I still remember the nice conversation that we had almost 3 years ago on the boat party during GUADEC about igalia, cooperativism and free software)

    It is great that you have decided to join us now.


  11. Brandon says:

    Igalia sounds a bit like a grown-up version of the Berkeley co-ops. If that's case, I'm sure you're fitting right in. I ran into a few of your compadres at the meego conference in SF.

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