Software // Enterprise Applications
10:50 PM

High Five: Meet Hal Jespersen, CTO Of Open IT Works

At 57, Hal Jespersen is a man on a mission: The former Distinguished Engineer at Sun Microsystems, one of the fathers of the Posix line of standards, is now CTO of Open IT Works, a new company founded to bring CIOs and CTOs together in collaborative forums.

Hal Jespersen
CTO of Open IT Works

Interview by Richard Martin

Bob Young, CEO of Lulu

Photograph by Jeffery Newbury

"We know CIOs have limited budgets, and they're duplicating a lot of work that their colleagues are doing," Jespersen says. "We identify portions of activities that are routine and [help them] collaborate to take advantage of common solutions, rather than reinventing the wheel each time."

Open IT Works is similar to the open source model, he says, "but instead of just source code, we're creating solutions: code, best practices, evaluations, documentation--anything that makes sense to work on as common parts of the enterprise."

Jespersen is training for October's Portland Marathon with a group called Team in Training, which benefits the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. "We do a track workout one night a week at the Stanford track, and then on the weekend we do longer trail runs in places all over the [San Francisco] peninsula."

A current project for Open IT Works is open source applications: "We're working on issues that CIOs are concerned about: how to manage open source projects, how to minimize the risks to the enterprise, how to select a license, and so on."

An amateur Civil War historian, Jespersen had his own military experience in Vietnam. "In 1973, at the end of the war, I was running the military telephone system in Saigon. U.S. involvement had ratcheted way down, but we were still bombing. We'd wake up and hear B-52s rumbling in the distance--it was like an earthquake."

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