HP Appoints New VP for Open Source, Linux

Longtime HP employee Christine Martino brings a more business and operational focus to the role than did her predecessor.

Hewlett-Packard Co. has a new vice president for open source and Linux—Christine Martino—a longtime company employee who most recently headed up HPs carrier-grade server division.

Martino takes over for HPs longtime Linux and open-source vice president, Martin Fink, who was tasked last May with running HPs high-end NonStop server division in addition to being vice president for open source and Linux.

/zimages/4/28571.gifClick here for HPs thoughts about porting Linux to its NonStop fault-tolerant server line.

While Fink at first believed he could do both, he found himself increasingly devoting more time to the NonStop side of the business, and "around late fall he decided he was going to open up the position of vice president of open source and Linux to give that group the attention it deserved," Martino told eWEEK in an interview.

Martino will report to Fink, who remains involved with the open-source and Linux area to some degree. She brings a more business and operational focus to the role, which "complements [Finks] visionary role really well," she said.

"I have pretty broad experience and have worked at a number of HP businesses. I have run businesses, have had PNL [profit and loss] ownership and bring this to the open-source and Linux business, which grew 67 percent year-on-year," she said. "I can now bring structure and operational focus to this substantial business for us."

In her last role as director of the HP division that developed specialized servers for the telecom industry, Martino worked closely with Fink and the open-source and Linux division as "these servers were pretty much exclusively on Linux and had features designed just for telecom networks," she said.

"That industry, like many others, wanted to move to industry-standard hardware and Linux to get the carve-out they required while also having platforms on which they could rapidly deploy new services," she said.

/zimages/4/28571.gifClick here to read about how, in 2003, HP and Intel pushed industry-standard computing into the telecommunications space.

The off-the-shelf Linux distributions like those from Red Hat and Novells SUSE do not have all the features telcos require within the network, so Martinos and Finks teams worked together and used Debian Linux to create some telco extensions based on specific customer needs.

"Each customer had different needs, so their versions were all different," Martino said. "But that allowed them to take advantage of industry-standard hardware and Linux. Also, everything we do there we give back to the open-source community as we are not looking to become a Linux distribution company."

Asked what her immediate goals were for HPs open-source and Linux division, Martino said she is not coming in with a plan to make big strategy shifts, "as we already have the right strategy, which is borne out by the fact that we have top market share and the success we have had with customers," she said. "We offer them choice on the hardware side, a multiple operating system strategy and a level playing field across all of those, which works well."

HP also has many commercial partners as well as more than 1,000 open-source partners. "Thats a valid strategy, and we are going to stick with that," she said.

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