Facebook seeks trusted relationships on the 'Net

Facebook's director of engineering dissects product design, development and search efforts at Facebook

Are you using mostly open source software to power Facebook?

Agarwal: Most of our systems are running open source.

Have you found Linux adequate for what you're doing?

Agarwal: Yes, absolutely. In fact, Linux is more than adequate for the kind of things that we've been doing, and as we roll out new features and new products and we see certain parts of Linux that don't work as well, then our first [reaction will be], OK, how can we fix it and give this back to the Linux community such that everybody might benefit from it?

How many servers do you use?

Agarwal: We have more than 10,000 servers.

All Intel servers?

Agarwal: I'm not aware of the hardware specifications, but we have more than 10,000 servers.

I have nephews that are using MySpace. I don't know if they're using Facebook. What would you say the main difference between MySpace and Facebook would be, for somebody like myself who doesn't get the time to hang out in some of these social network sites?

Agarwal: I think it's a good question and if you are doing a direct comparison, I want to stress our core values. We are creating products that help people communicate better, help people share information, and essentially create trusted relationships [on] the Internet. And have a way of expressing themselves efficiently. We also want to create a platform that lets others create compelling functionality based on the social graph and some of the core services that we provide.

Are any announcements coming up from Facebook in the next few weeks or months?

Agarwal: Well, we are having our developer's conference on July 23. It's in San Francisco. It's a developer's conference, so obviously we'll be talking a little bit about the platform and so on.

Is there anything else that you wanted to talk about?

Agarwal: I think the major thing I'll stress is some of my philosophy within engineering, I've thought a little bit about this earlier in the interview, but what I'm really trying to stress is that we want to create tools, we want to create components, we want to create stand-alone items that allow developers, both internally and externally, to create products. And not just create products, but create them as quickly as possible. So you want to allow them to focus on the functionality they want to provide, on the end-user product, like -- what benefits are you providing to the user? And so a lot of our development philosophy is really centered around providing people with the tools to be great at what they do. And you know, Thrift, Scribe, and a lot of the other open source initiatives that we take part in, have [an] underlying philosophy.

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Paul Krill

Paul Krill

InfoWorld
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