After the trial, some great music

by Rob Tiller

After a week in trial in Marshall, Texas, Red Hat and Novell won a jury verdict over a patent troll, and I headed home.  Trials are exhausting.  Exhilarating, too.  In our case, we had great lawyers from Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, who worked incredibly hard.  I was proud of them, their staffs, our experts, and our witnesses, and proud to be a part of history:  the first jury trial against Red Hat, the first full case in the preferred district for patent trolls, and the first jury verdict for open source software.  I’m writing about it in my professional capacity at

I was still feeling the warm glow of victory last night when Sally and I headed out for dinner and a concert by the N.C. Symphony.  We ate at Gravy, an oddly named Italian restaurant on Wilmington Street, where I had eggplant with tons of cheese and tomato sauce, my  traditional Italian comfort food.  The concert was all opera excerpts, featuring baritone Stephen Powell and mezzo Phyllis Pancella.  The programming was an odd mix of music — Bizet, Saint-Saens, Delius, Sondheim, Mozart, Wagner, Strauss, Puccini, Rossini, and Verdi — but it worked.

Powell was superb — rich, resonant voice, great characterization, and a wonderful musician.  When he did the aria O du mein holder Abenstern from Tannhauser, I got both goosebumps and teary eyes.   Pancella had a a pleasing voice and big personality, and showed agility worthy of a true bel canto artist in her aria from Cenerentola.  The orchestra sounded particularly fine in the Don Giovanni overture, the prelude to act three of Lohengrin, and the Triumphal March from Aida.

We had drinks after at Buku with Paul and Jenny.  As principal trumpet, Paul knows the inner workings of the orchestra, and gives a great perspective on how the music gets made.  We got caught up on the hirings and departures of various musicians, and heard stories of the musician’s life, including many crossings of  North Carolina by bus.  Then we walked home.