Peter Mattis

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Peter Mattis
Peter Mattis.png
EducationBS, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science[citation needed]
Alma materUniversity of California, Berkeley
OccupationChief Technical Officer
EmployerCockroach Labs
Known forComputer Programming
WebsitePeter Mattis on LinkedIn

Peter Mattis is an American computer programmer, entrepreneur, and business executive. He is the CTO and co-founder for Cockroach Labs, a company he co-founded in 2014.[1] His work as a programmer includes launching GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP) while still in college,[2] and assisting the source code development of CockroachDB, the namesake software of Cockroach Labs.

Early life and education[edit]

Mattis attended the University of California at Berkeley. While still a student in 1995, he developed the first version of GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP), along with his roommate Spencer Kimball.[3][4] Mattis was also a member of a student club at Berkeley called the eXperimental Computing Facility (XCF).[5] Mattis graduated from Berkeley in 1997 with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.[6]

According to Mattis in 1999:

Spencer did much more work on the GIMP proper while I did much more on GTK. This provided a fairly clean break that allowed us to work in parallel fairly easily. I probably wrote 95 percent of the original GTK code. The only widgets I didn't write were the file-selection widget, the text widget, and the rulers.

On free software and the motivations to write it and what makes good and enduring free software:[7]

You should understand that the GIMP and GTK weren't written to fill holes in the software available under the GPL (GNU General Public License) and LGPL (GNU Lesser General Public License). The GIMP was started because I wanted to make a Web page. GTK was started because I was dissatisfied with Motif and wanted to see what it took to write a UI toolkit. These are purely selfish reasons. That is probably why the projects progressed so far and eventually succeeded. I find it much more difficult to work on something for extended periods of time for selfless reasons.


Mattis was previously employed as an engineer for Google, and is credited for his work Google Servlet Engine[8] as well as helping spearhead Colossus, a new version of the Google File System.[9][10]

In 2013, Mattis launched the company Viewfinder along with Kimball and Brian McGinnis, formerly of Lehman Brothers.[11] The company developed an app that allowed social media users to share photos, chat privately, and search photo history without leaving the app.[12] The company was acquired by Square, Inc. in December 2013.[13] Mattis moved to Square's New York City office where he became a senior member of the company's East Coast team.[10]

While at Google, Mattis used a database known as Bigtable, and followed the development of its next generation, known as Spanner.[1] The database organizes data between thousands of servers to allow Google applications to stay online, even if an entire data center were to go offline. Mattis wanted to use this software but found there was nothing available outside of Google as either closed or open source that was similar.[1]

He launched CockroachDB as an open source project on GitHub with Kimball, along with ex-Google Reader team member Ben Darnell.[14] They later formed the company Cockroach Labs in order to accelerate development of the CockroachDB software.[1] Mattis serves as the company's chief technical officer and also contributes to the source code development of CockroachDB.[15][16]

Personal life[edit]

Mattis is active in CrossFit and was named CrossFit Brooklyn's athlete of the month in January 2014.[17]


  1. ^ a b c d Finley, Klint (June 4, 2015). "Ex-Googlers Get Millions To Help You Build The Next Google". Wired. Retrieved July 25, 2015.
  2. ^ Deek, Fadi P.; McHugh, James A. M. (2007). Open Source: Technology and Policy. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9781139468732. Retrieved July 25, 2015.
  3. ^ Wallace, Shawn (2002). Perl Graphics Programming: Creating SVG, SWF (flash), JPEG and PNG files with Perl. O'Reily Media Inc. ISBN 9781449358310. Retrieved July 25, 2015.
  4. ^ Beane, Zachary. "Spencer Kimball & Peter Mattis". GIMP Gazette. Retrieved July 25, 2015.
  5. ^ Frauenheim, Ed (December 4, 2000). "Free Photoshop for the people". Retrieved August 28, 2006.
  6. ^ "U.C. Berkeley Alumni Spain". Berkeley Alumni Madrid. January 30, 2009. Retrieved July 28, 2015.
  7. ^ "Where did Spencer Kimball and Peter Mattis go?". LinuxWorld. Archived from the original on April 17, 1999. Retrieved November 17, 2007.
  8. ^ "OpenGSE Released". Retrieved January 27, 2009.
  9. ^ Babcock, Charles (June 4, 2015). "CockroachDB: Ultimate In Database Survival". Information Week. Retrieved July 25, 2015.
  10. ^ a b Perez, Sarah (December 3, 2013). "Square Acquires Ex-Googler Team Behind Viewfinder to Help Grow Its NYC Presence". TechCrunch. Retrieved July 25, 2015.
  11. ^ Mlot, Stephanie (December 3, 2013). "Square Buys Photo-Sharing App Viewfinder". PC Mag. Retrieved July 25, 2015.
  12. ^ Schmidt, Will (July 16, 2013). "Viewfinder Launches Today, Boasts Strong Communications, Privacy, and Personality". Tech Cocktail. Archived from the original on May 9, 2016. Retrieved July 25, 2015.
  13. ^ Novellino, Teresa (December 4, 2013). "Square doubles down on engineers with Viewfinder". Upstart Business Journals. Retrieved July 25, 2015.
  14. ^ Ewbank, Kay (June 9, 2015). "CockroachDB Released". I Programmer. Retrieved July 25, 2015.
  15. ^ "Tech Executive Spencer Kimball". Venture Deal. Retrieved July 25, 2015.
  16. ^ Ovide, Shira (June 4, 2015). "CockroachDB Scampers Off with $6.3 Million to Tackle Database Shortcomings". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved July 25, 2015.
  17. ^ "January Athlete of the Month: Peter Mattis". CrossFit South Brooklynn. Retrieved July 28, 2015.

External links[edit]