Meet the TSC: Chris Ferris, IBM

By September 29, 2017Blog

Describe your current role, background and why you wanted to be a part of the Hyperledger TSC?

I’m IBM’s CTO for Open Technology and as such, responsible for all of IBM’s strategic open source initiatives. Blockchain technology is one of the most important new technology directions for IBM and given our long standing preference for open technology under open governance, I worked closely with the Linux Foundation to help make Hyperledger a reality. I’ve served on the TSC since its inception and had the honor of being elected to serve as its chair twice by the organization’s technical community. As to why I want to serve on the TSC, basically to help the community deliver a consistent experience as possible amongst the various projects and to help the various project communities find opportunity to collaborate with each other.

Chris Ferris, CTO for Open Technology at IBM

How are you or your company currently using Hyperledger technologies or how do you plan to?

IBM has offerings and solutions based on Hyperledger Fabric and Composer – two of the Hyperledger projects that IBM incubated.

What are the benefits of Hyperledger’s open governance model?

IBM believes strongly that open source should be developed, where possible, under open governance. We’ve worked closely with the Linux Foundation and other open source foundations to help move key projects in this direction. The benefits of open governance are myriad, but important characteristics are

– eliminates single vendor/individual control over a project’s evolution,
– greater potential for diversity of community and ecosystem growth
– greater potential for sustained success
– collectively, diverse communities under open governance tend to innovate at a greater pace than single vendor/individual projects

What’s the most important technical milestone for Hyperledger to reach by the end of 2017?

I’d like to see us make greater strides towards integration and interoperability between projects.

What advice would you offer other technologists or developers interested in getting started working on blockchain?

Get involved in one of the Hyperledger hosted projects 😉 In all seriousness, the best way to get involved in any open source initiative is to start at the edges and work your way in. Start by fixing bugs and helping to improve documentation as these are often the underserved aspects of any project and help in burning down any technical debt is always welcome. As you become more comfortable, start thinking about taking on more work, such as working on a new feature with others in the community, etc.

What’s the one thing you hope to accomplish by being a part of Hyperledger’s TSC?

The continued success of Hyperledger and its hosted projects.

What’s a missing feature or spec that you hope Hyperledger can add in the soon future?

I think we need to devote more to thinking about how the various projects might one day interoperate and/or compose with one another. I also think that this needs to be more than merely an academic exercise. It needs to be based in real, working code with the implementation support of multiple of the various projects.

What’s the biggest struggle or challenge you see Hyperledger having to overcome?

Generally, the community’s greatest challenge is working across project boundaries. It is tough when the development community around a given project serves as the foundation for vendor offerings as there are always demands on people’s time and resource expenditures. Making time for such interactions is critically important and often yields the best results – but this can be a tough sell.