Positive Internet Company interview

Interview I did with Nick Mailer, one of the founders of the Positive Internet Company. an open source only hosting company who host content for people such as Stephen Fry, Ricky Gervais and uber-geeks such as Richard Stallman.

Open source at the business end

When Nick Mailer helped found web-hosting provider The Positive Internet Company, he was instrumental in basing the firm’s activities on free and open-source software. Mailer talks to ZDNet UK about the response from business to that open-source decision.

Actor Stephen Fry’s support of Twitter has been credited with pushing the micro-blogging tool into the mainstream. But his support for all things open source has been equally impassioned, and Fry recently singled out the company that hosts his podcasts for its dedication to open source. “My thanks as always go to the team at The Positive Internet Company. For 10 years they have used only free and open-source technologies like GNU Linux in their organisation,” Fry said.

Side-stepping venture capital funding in favour of organic growth, Positive was financed by turnover from day one, and has built its reputation in the hosting arena through an uncompromising attitude to open source and its cost benefits.

Clients for Positive’s dedicated server and managed hosting services include the British Film Institute (BFI), Stella Artois, the BBC and Barclays bank.

ZDNet UK caught up with Positive co-founder and director Nick Mailer to discover the origins of his company’s belief in open source and the downsides, if any, to running a purely free and open-source software business.

Q: Stephen Fry has said nice things about your devotion to open source and your expertise in hosting — how did that relationship come about?
A: With Stephen Fry there was an interesting osmosis between him and us and free software. His people liked our use of free software and had also heard good things about us through word of mouth and how we had done things for Ricky [Gervais]. Subsequently Stephen Fry has become a big fan of free software and in fact he recorded a birthday video for the GNU Project.

It is interesting that people who are thinking about things outside the immediate technical community are finding interesting ideas going on in free software. I suppose things like Creative Commons have opened that up to a wider sphere of people.

For more go to ZDNet.co.uk

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