I first worked with Gil back in my Salon.com days when he was CTO of RealMedia. We became the first company to implement the Linux version of the RealMedia Open AdStream software, which was running on large sites like USA Today and Playboy.com back then. I was intimately familiar with the commercial ad serving market at the time, having been the technical product manager for CNN’s rollout of NetGravity shortly after NetGravity hit the market (aside: check out this history of ad serving on Wikipedia). When I came to Salon, I wanted something that ran on Linux/Apache. As I recall, I met Gil and asked, “Does Open AdStream run on Linux/Apache?” and he said, “Sure, we can compile for Linux and we have an Apache module that handles the ad serving piece.” After some more due diligence, we chose Open AdStream and Gil and his team provided phenomenal support throughout (his chief engineer cheerfully answered my phone calls at 3am in the days leading up to the launch). When you’re an online media company supported 100% by advertising, choosing an ad server is a big decision and working with Gil and his team was probably the most pleasant experience I’ve ever had with an outside company on a critical project.
(For you kids out there, migrating to Linux was a big deal back then! We put out a press release announcing the fact and we were featured in Slashdot, PC World, and Wired’s Webmonkey. I also did a talk at 1999 OSCON about it along with Jeffrey Radice.)
I ran into Gil at OSCON last year and we had a nice dinner where we talked absolutely none about technology and focused instead on family, travel, and my recent engagement. Gil is one of the good guys and I’m glad to see him do well. Congrats, Gil!