How Igor Sysoev ended up in Rambler
Nginx creator Igor Sysoev became an entrepreneur at 41. Prior to that, he worked as a system administrator all his life: for seven years in a certain “company involved in the sale of petroleum products”, for six months in the XXL.ru online store and, finally, in Rambler: from 2000 to 2011.
Sysoev described his work as follows: “The task is to make oneself unnecessary. So that everything works without [my] intervention. ” Having adjusted the process, the system administrator tackled the problem to which he had a “strong personal interest”: the creation of a web server.
“He solved the problem that he set himself without deadline,” Sysoev recalled. - It was a hobby in its purest form, I could always stop and think carefully, before moving on ... Two weeks are written, and then a month well, it just does not go. The brain refuses to work. ”
In one form or another, Sysoev in almost every interview highlights this circumstance: work on the project from which Nginx grew up was a hobby for him: “In addition to the direct work of the system administrator, I started writing programs in my free time. It should be noted that programming was not part of my job responsibilities. ”
The fact that Sysoev has his own project was known to Rambler. “When hiring Sysoyev - I hired him in 2000 - it was specifically agreed that he has his own project, and he has the right to do it. It was then called something like mod_accel, ”says Igor Ashmanov, the former executive director of Rambler.
“Sysoev worked on his project on his own, without instructions from management, in his spare time from the main work. Moreover, he was not, as far as I know, a software developer, so this project could not be entrusted to him in any way, ”says Denis Kalinin, the former general director of Rambler.
The founder and CEO of Postgres Professional Oleg Bartunov, who was then working at Rambler, recalls a little differently. “Sysoev was a typical sysadmin: he sat in his closet, looked at the servers,” says Bartunov. “Then he noticed that Apache, the web server we used then, was very busy on our servers.” And Igor wrote his mod_accel (first name Nginx). But you need to understand that no one told him to do this and did not order. He wrote a new module, made it open source and posted it for everyone. ”
How Rambler began using Nginx
According to Sysoyev, Rambler started using Nginx in 2004: “At the beginning of 2004, Rambler launched the foto.rambler.ru service, and one of my colleagues, Oleg Bunin, asked me to complete the request proxy functionality in Nginx to start fully use it, including on the Rambler photo service. ”
The founder of the Runa Capital venture fund, Sergei Belousov, had to almost persuade Sysoev to take money from him and leave Rambler, Forbes magazine said. Belousov did not answer the questions of The Bell by the time this text was released.
After Sysoev left, Rambler continued to use Nginx. “It is important to understand that Sysoev left Nginx an open project, with an open license, that is, he did not close it, he did not sell it and he did not profit from it,” notes Bartunov. “This is an open source product that anyone in the world can use; any developer can modify it and even sell it.”
Nginx is still a project with an open license, anyone can use it. The company founded by Sysoev earns on support and custom solutions - this was done, for example, for Netflix. In addition, Nginx clients include Adobe (Photoshop), WordPress, and BuzzFeed. Nginx is paid mainly by large companies for which the uninterrupted operation of servers is critical. In 2018, Nginx had about one and a half thousand such clients. Revenues amounted to $ 26 million.
Bartunov has developments, the rights to which belong to Rambler, since he worked on them on behalf of the leadership: “I was the author of a search engine. We registered this development and gave us certificates, which said: all exclusive rights to the works belong to the company. Everything that was developed and ordered by Rambler was drawn up in this form. If this was not the case with Nginx, it is not clear where the complaint comes from. ”
The former head of the legal service of Rambler, Natalia Sukhareva, is sure that “there was no contract of the author’s order, nor a job assignment”.
The fact that Nginx was ordered by Rambler is stated in the criminal case file. None of the former Rambler employees have yet confirmed this. Sysoev’s direct supervisor Andrei Kopeiko, who was a witness in the case, told the investigation that “he didn’t give any job assignments, either oral or written, either to develop mod_accel or to develop Nginx.”