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Raven Zachary 1 January 2008

Raven Zachary

Technologist, open source industry analyst, event organizer

Raven Zachary is the Open Source Research Director for The 451 Group, an independent technology industry analyst company. At The 451 Group, he is responsible for the firm’s Commercial Adoption of Open Source (CAOS) Research Service and ongoing open source coverage in the end user, vendor, investment, and development communities. Raven has been involved with open source as an end user, project contributor, journalist, consultant, and industry analyst for over ten years. Raven is regularly featured or quoted in technology publications and actively speaks at technology conferences.

Past professional achievements have included launching a magazine, setting up a consulting firm, helping guide a national travel company into the digital age, building robust, scalable, consumer Internet services for a leading Internet company, constructing a streaming audio system for an international broadcaster, launching a web site design and Internet connectivity company, writing a regular column for a tech magazine, working with one of the national labs on technology adoption, founding an open source project, serving on several advisory boards, acting as a technical editor for a major publisher, teaching classes, and creating a number of events.

Raven lives in Portland with his wife, Mara, and four boys – Aodan, Xander, Soren, and Rainer.

What are you up to?

I am the Open Source Research Director for The 451 Group, an IT industry analyst firm. There are a few analysts from the The 451 Group located in Portland, but the firm is based in New York City. That means travel. When I am not busy working for The 451 Group, I am focused on this web site – Portland On Fire, and involved in a number of other technology networking activities in Portland, Oregon, including BarCamp Portland, Ignite Portland, Portland Werewolf, and an open source business group. I’m also looking into organizing another iPhoneDevCamp in early 2008.

What are you into?

All sorts of things – a dabbler opposed to going deep in just a few areas. My initial plan was to go to music school and compose symphonies, but the Internet came of age and I was out of school and starting a business in no time. Music still is a core part of my life, but not an active pursuit right now. I’m a vegan – easy to do in Portland, am known to get lost for hours poking about the history and geography sections of Wikipedia, have several telescopes but never seem to have enough clear skies to see much (I expect to travel into space in my lifetime), am fascinated by mysticism and world religions and am a practicing Baha’i, I’m into many other things, and the list changes regularly.

What do you like most about Portland?

Where do I begin? I moved from Dallas, Texas, so we can begin with the more moderate weather and cultural conditions. As a vegan, the availability of good food to my liking is a big plus, as is the 90 minute flight down to Silicon Valley for business. I’m an hour’s drive from the mountains, the ocean, and even closer to the rivers and forests. What is there not to love about Portland?!

What’s interesting about open source software?

The collaborative aspects of working together to solve a common set of problems across organizational and geographic barriers. Open source is the right approach to a number of software problems, but not all. I am not a purist in this regard, and see the commercial software industry still having a long and successful future for itself.

Are you really a lightning strike survivor?

Yes. It happened when I was an early-teen. I was talking on the phone to my friend when the lightning hit the telephone line, traveled down to my phone, and jumped from the headset into my ear. I fell unconscious to the floor and my knee landed right into a moving box fan on the floor (ouch!). I was knocked out for ten seconds or so, and woke up with no known side-effects. Someday, I’d love to have an MRI to determine if there was any residual impact.

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