The "Heroes of Java
series has a run these days. Sacha took some of his precious time and
joint as no. 19. Most of you know him from his JBoss time.
founded the European headquarters for JBoss and, as GM for Europe, led
the strategy and partnerships. In 2005, he was appointed CTO of JBoss,
Inc. and as such, oversaw all of the JBoss engineering activities. After
JBoss was acquired by RedHat in 2007, Sacha became co-General Manager
of Red Hat's middleware division. He ultimately left Red Hat in April
2009 and he formed CloudBees, Inc. in April 2010.
Who are you?
My name is Sacha Labourey, I live in Switzerland and I was born 12 years
ago when I joined the JBoss project to contribute its first clustering
implementation. I immediately felt in love with middleware, open source
and Java. I have now decided to work on the future of middleware and
make Java developers cool again, and that happens in the cloud.
(Oh, and don't worry, JBoss' clustering implementation has been totally
rewritten at least twice since then, so you are now at no risk of using
JBoss AS. )
Your offical job title at your company?
Do you care about it?
You bet, I'd better! This is really a great passion and I am very lucky
to work with some of the brightest guys in that industry, so this is
Do you speak foreign languages? Which ones?
Well, English would be a true foreign language since my mother tongue is
French. I also studied German for 8 years but haven't practiced much so
it would need a refresh. I also try to learn Rumantsch (Surmiran) to
understand my wife when I'm on vacation in the Alps
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romansh_language) but I am struggling.
How long is your daily "bootstrap" process? (Coffee, news, email)
The first thing I do in the morning when I am barely awake is to read my
emails on my phone, followed by various RSS feeds (IT, general news,
etc.). That way, I start thinking about things in a calm way while
getting ready and having breakfast.
You have a twitter handle? Why?
Yes, @SachaLabourey. Only because everybody obviously care about what I
think about all things, right? ;) I actually think this is a great way
to get a drum beat of what happens in our business.
Whom are you following in general?
There are no hard rules but from a business standpoint, I typically
follow partners, competitors and rain makers. From a personal
standpoint, I follow some of the leading News channels and a bunch of
crazy and/or funny people.
Do you have a personal "policy" for twitter?
"If you are unsure whether you should send a tweet, don't send it."
Does your company restricts or encourages you with your twitter ussage?
CloudBees encourages usage of social media, whatever they are. We
currently don't have a policy simply because I trust people common's
sense by default and I don't like to "design by exception".
What's your daily development setup? (OS/IDE/VC/other Tools)
Mac or Windows, Office and Google Docs and Chrome ;) As a CEO, I don't
have the opportunity to code anymore (outside of the demos I do). But
that's probably a good thing for our customers...
Which is the tool providing most productivity to your work?
"The Cloud"! All of the tools I am using are SaaS tools, Google,
Evernote, Dropbox, etc. I can take a brand new laptop with just a
browser and be ready to work in 2 minutes, anywhere, anytime.
Your prefered way of interacting with co-workers?
Face-to-Face obviously, but since we are a very distributed company (our
team is spread in 7 countries!), we rely extensively on Skype and
GoToMeeting. From time-to-time, I also like to use Skype Videos - except
when my correspondant in California (9h behind me) still wears his
What's your favorite way of managing your todo's?
It keeps changing :) the only stable process I've been using is to
consider e-mails in my Google Mail's Inbox to be TODOs until they are
archived. For non-email related todo's, I've been using plenty of tools,
and I have to admit nothing beats a small piece of paper on my desk.
If you could make a wish for a job at your favorite company: What would that be?
I have absolutely no idea, I really like what I am currently doing at CloudBees.
You're programming in Java. Why?
Because it was hip and fun back at the end of the 90's and a lot of the
projects at my school had to be done in Java. So I guess I was just part
of the Java wave to start with. But I decided to stick to it because I
think the innovation that has been put in the JVM makes it the strongest
most complete runtime platform ever built. Also, from a business
standpoint, SUN has been able to create one of the most successful IT
ecosystem that ever existed, with not just partners, but also with
competitors aiming at improving the overal quality of the Java ecosystem
- and this is truly unique.
What's least fun with Java?
The weight it took over time and its startup overhead. Yet, now that the
JVM is über-efficient, I think a lot of the innovation is taking place
in specific frameworks and new languages, and not so much in
Java-as-a-language per se, and that's fine I guess, but it would be
great to see more of that innovation come back into this shared DNA that
the Java language is. For this, Oracle has to find a way to get all
people around the table to actively collaborate again.
If you could change one thing with Java, what would that be?
The lack of a proper CLR in Java early on has slowed down the creation
of new languages, hence new innovation, some which could have been
retrofitted in Java.
What's your personal favorite in dynamic languages?
I know that if I wanted to look smart I should tell you all about the
sophisticated and fancy dynamic languages out there, but I actually
amazingly powerful - we are truly moving away from server-side generated
pages for the most part.
Which programming technique has moved you forwards most and why?
To me, developing in the cloud has been the most impressive experience.
In just a few click from a laptop, you can start a new project, store
your code, perform continuous development, continuous deployment, static
code analysis, web UI testing, etc. without ever installing anything,
without ever having to configure anything. When people initially read
about PaaS, they don't necessarily see what's the big deal about it.
Until they try it! Once you've tried it, it is hard to look back, it is
like asking a Samsung S3 or iPhone 4S owner to go back and use a fancy
2005 Nokia - it hurts.
What was the biggest project you've ever worked on?
JBoss AS was probably the biggest one. In the 2.x to 4.x series, I
really knew a lot about it. As such, I really enjoyed doing technical
support when JBoss was still a tiny company. Trying to understand what
was going wrong for a customer was like a mini-adventure.
Which was the worst programming mistake you did?
I don't remember, I am probably still in denial about it...