Former Head of Open Source at Sony Mobile joins Debricked!

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by Debricked Editorial Team
3 min
Former Head of Open Source at Sony Mobile joins Debricked!

A short while ago the Debricked team was fortunate enough to be joined by a new member, Carl-Eric Mols, or as we call him; Calle. He is an open source enthusiast who’s passionate about making commercial companies and open source projects have a closer collaboration.

Interview with our Business Development Manager

We sat down with Calle and asked him a few questions. Let’s get to know him a little!

You recently joined us, but have been working in the software industry for many years, can you give us a brief summary of your background?

I studied for a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering in the eighties. Looking back, I would rather have gone for Computer Science, because I was a lot more interested in computing and software engineering. What I ended up digging into is software development for telecommunication systems, which later got me involved in a company called Telelogic, specialised in development tools for real-time systems such as you will find in telecom.

Back then Telelogic was still a startup, but we didn’t know it ourselves, haha. After some initial years as a developer I became a sales manager, which started with a half-year stint in the US, returned and then became the Key Account Manager for the Nordics, later the Marketing Manager for the company. After leaving Telelogic I passed a handful of startups in various business development positions, but it wasn’t until I came to Sony Ericsson (which later became Sony Mobile) in 2004 that I started getting closer to what I really wanted to do: software strategy in a large scale context.  

“Software development is a form of art, it requires not only skill and knowledge, but also feeling.“

I like to describe you as an open source specialist and enthusiast, can you share how that started?

I started as Sony Ericsson as a buyer of marketing services. It was not really what I wanted to do, so when I realized that I had a contact at the CTO Office I decided to reach out to him. In 2007 I started as a Software Strategist at Sony Ericsson which made me have to learn more about open source. This was just before Android was launched so I had the chance to be part of the journey that took Sony Ericsson from their own mobile operative system to an open source one. I was the one who got the assignment to prepare the company for managing open source, and in 2009 I assumed the position as Head of Open Source. 

The years as Head of Open Source taught me many things about the open source world. It’s not only about code and licenses, not only about a way to develop collaboratively, nor is it only a novel way to conduct business – it’s all this altogether, forming a massive culture shift. Having such a big company as Sony Mobile getting acquainted with the OSS culture was a great challenge, but also extremely instructive, which later led me to get engaged in academic research as well.

What would you say is the biggest challenge when a big company starts working with open source?

Most companies use open source as just an unlimited well of free software that never runs out. I have always been a big advocate for seeing it as more of a two way collaboration. I think it’s important to give back to the community, not just consume – and that for many good business reasons. During my time at Sony Mobile we were, except for Google itself of course, the biggest contributor to Android, which is something I’m quite proud of.

That, implementing the habit of contributing to the company culture, was hard work but definitely worth it in the end.

How did you come into contact with Debricked, and why did you decide to join?

Emil Wåreus, Head of Data Science, did a talk at a Swedsoft conference in Lund. I was in the audience and became completely blown away by what he said. It was right up my alley, and very much what I’ve been working and researching towards these past few years. After speaking a bit with Emil we decided to take a meeting, and since then I’ve not been able to leave, haha. 

We’re very happy to have you! Lastly, can you let us in on some things that you enjoy to do besides open source?

Of course! I love to go to the movies, I am a huge science fiction fan and used to be a frequent visitor at the movie theaters before Covid-19 came along. I also like to cook and work out. I have a dream of sailing, but since I don’t have a boat it will have to wait a little longer.