Monday, June 10, 2013

So long, and thanks for all the fish!

After 18 months at Qualcomm Atheros, I decided I needed a bit of a change.

This is what I sent out to the open source community:

Hi all,

This Friday will be my last day at Qualcomm Atheros. I've enjoyed working with the extremely bright and driven engineers and designers that make the wireless chips and SoCs that people everywhere take for granted. I've achieved a bunch of goals both with their internal product development and open source. But now it's time to move onto different things.

I'd especially like to thank Luis Rodriguez for introducing me to the QCA folk and helping me get access to the Atheros open source project, as well as the follow-up discussions that led to me being hired. The open source wireless community has been driving innovation in a lot of areas for a number of years. I'd like to hope that I've had a small, positive effect on that. I wish you all the best of luck in pushing forward and continuing to innovate.

Now, I'm still NDA-enabled and I quite like hacking on this wireless stuff so I won't be quitting hacking on things. I will just have other things on my mind.

Good luck to you all!

Now, this generated a flurry of private emails asking me what happened and where I'm going to.

So, the summary - I accepted a job at Netflix, as part of their OpenConnect CDN team.

They've built a world-wide CDN using FreeBSD and they're looking to continue growing and improving it. They've committed to improving FreeBSD's network, storage and VM layer to facilitate moving tens of gigabits of Netflix video traffic per server. And, they're going to open source the bulk of it. They realise that the best benefit from open source comes from working with open source - and that's exactly what they've done. They've contributed back their improvements and fixes.

I've enjoyed my time at Qualcomm Atheros. The people are brilliant, the hardware is excellent and it was a great learning experience. I got to experience what it was like working at a silicon company during chip design, validation and bring-up - both the good and the bad bits. But when it came down to it, I couldn't contribute to and improve the process in any meaningful way. I was one engineer in a very large, diverse organisation - and like large organisations, things move slowly.

So, I hope to continue to maintain close ties with the hardware and software people at Qualcomm Atheros. I hope to continue hacking on the FreeBSD wireless stack in my spare time, as I have been to date. I wish I could've contributed more positively to their evolving hardware and software strategy. But there's only so much an engineer in an established company can do, and that engineer wasn't going to be me.


  1. Thank you for all your work over the past few years. This past weekend was my first encounter with FreeBSD as I started researching the hardware and software for a PFSense firewall. Your name comes up again and again as I look to add wireless capability to it.

  2. Good luck Adrian. I was hoping to see some NetFlix folks at USENIX this week either presenting or chatting in the hallway track about their increasing FreeBSD usage, but didn't get it. You should stop by Mountain View sometime for lunch and kvetching with the BSD crowd here.