FOSDEM is quite the experience, thousands of geeks running around, dozens of free and open source projects, and plenty of Club-Mate and beer for every attendee to purchase. The weekend is exceptionally busy, and for me, the sleep at night between the chaos is always interesting.
When I first started hacking on what I knew to be called "free and open source software," I had never met another "hacker" in real life. It felt like a very niche, almost insignificant community until my first FOSDEM in 2006, where for the first time I saw hundreds of free and open source hackers scurrying about. It may have been a niche community existing primarily on IRC and mailing lists, but I finally had proof that there were actual people involved in the endeavor.
The Jenkins project is currently undergoing a major infrastructure migration to Microsoft Azure as our primary infrastructure provider, and as a result, I have been spending a tremendous amount of time getting friendly with Azure tooling.
Earlier this year, 2017, I passed a curious milestone. I have now been blogging on this domain for over a decade. Many of those who know me might have the impression that I'm a fairly honorable and trustworthy individual, making "unethical blogger" a confusing banner to operate under. I suppose I should shed some light on the origins.
I have been a hobby hacker for my entire adult life, and a bit before that too. When your profession is making software, or even making open source software, the joy from hobby-hacking can diminish or even disappear. One of the things I learned from burning out was that, if I am going to continue to enjoy hacking as a personal hobby, I would need to pursue "frivolous hacking."
Sitting next to me at this high-topped table at Google's Mountain View campus, a German, sitting across from me, a Pole, and to his left, a hacker from Portugal. With my usual flagrant disregard for the adage "not to discuss politics nor religion in polite company," I ask some pointed questions about the crises and challenges facing the European Union. It's October of 2016 and the discussion is about to become heated.
A non-trivial aspect of my job for the past year at CloudBees has been communication. To claim that this is a new change in my career would be to fundamentally mis-attribute the vast majority of what makes good Software Engineers and Engineering Managers good. Communication in my job as a "Technical Evangelist" (or as my business card states: "Community Concierge") is many orders of magnitude more involved than it was an Engineering Manager, and what makes it very challenging is the size of the audience. As an Engineering Manager the audience is typically less than 20 people throughout an organization where the spoken-word is the primary means of communication. By conservative estimates more than a million people use and interact with Jenkins as part of their work, the primary way to reach them being written English in some medium or another.
The longer I have been working from home, the more important and involved my breakfast routine has become. With colleagues in various timezones around the globe, it can be difficult to find time in the middle of the day to leave the house or make myself a decent lunch. A hearty breakfast however, can stretch from mid-morning all the way to an early dinner (5-6pm).
For years Vim has been both my editor and "IDE" of choice across all projects, spanning multiple platforms, toolkits and programming languages.
In some form or another, I have been a systems adminstrator for various Jenkins instances for over eight years. While I wish I could say that has imparted some deep, hard-earned, wisdom upon me, truthfully, it's been about the same as managing any other application: a constant battle of system dependencies, monitoring challenges and upgrades.