Self Introduction

David Vossel dvossel at redhat.com
Mon Oct 29 18:50:32 UTC 2012


Hi :)

I'm David Vossel.

First off I have an ulterior motive with this self introduction I'd like to get out of the way quickly.  I need a package sponsor.  I have volunteered to help maintain both the pacemaker and libqb upstream packages but need someone to and add me to the packager group before I can attain those roles.  I have been doing RHEL packaging for a couple of months already, so I should be of very little burden to anyone willing to guide me.  Your help with this is greatly appreciated :)

With that out of the way here is a little about me, where I came from, my past experience, and what I'm up to these days. tl:dr at bottom.

I stumbled into the open source world back in 2008 as I was finishing my undergraduate degree in Computer Science.  At the time I was applying for jobs with the hope of lining something up so I could make the smooth transition from school right into employment.  As I progressed through the interview process at several companies I remember feeling somewhat discouraged with what I was running into.

Here I was exiting the academic world where ideas and knowledge are something to share and celebrate, to this market place where it appeared groups even within the same company struggled to communicate with one another.  Everywhere I went I gathered this underlying sense of, "This is my turf, my peice of the pie, and how I implement this is none of your business.  Not only do I want to do this my way, I don't even want you to see what I'm doing until I'm done because criticism just slows me down."  I found the result of this sort of process was kind of hilarious.  All these groups would come together with their rigidly designed pieces of the project and the first thing that happens is they realize something doesn't work... or everything works, but it needs to work slightly differently.  From there, some sort of agreement is made about what needs to change what and whoever is involved goes off into hiding to update their project.  Then inevitably what should have been a simple change ends up taking weeks, and no one knows why... Everyone gets back together after an extended period of time to find another change needs to be made and so goes the process.  I believe this cycle might very well fall under the literal definition of insanity.  At this point I was starting to seriously reconsider my career choice... but one day rather quickly all that changed.

I was interning somewhere at the time when by some stroke of luck a lucid product manager picked up on my struggle and took me aside.  It was like he was imparting some sort of forbidden wisdom on me. He wouldn't even talk about it in the hall way out of concern someone might pick up on what he was about to say.  Basically he said he knew my type, and knew I didn't belong here.  He made some phone calls and the next thing I knew I was interviewing at this little company that sponsored the development and maintenance of the open source Asterisk telephony project.  I had used linux in the past during school, but didn't quite get the whole open source thing yet.

I'd like to think my reputation and referral was strong enough that a technical interview wasn't warranted, but honestly I have no idea why this happened.  Instead of spending the interview process going through a list of questions to determine if I was technically competent, they sat me down in a room and we talked about open source for a couple of hours.  My mind was blown.  I had never experienced the level of collaboration and knowledge these guys were immersed in daily.  I remember seeing the commit mailing list and watching as people all over the world contributed code to the project.  I remember watching one of the guys in the office talk about how some professor in Italy saw some commit he made the other day and offered some useful criticism.  It was simply brilliant and after witnessing the potential such a community can make on the world I felt somewhat embarrassed I hadn't discovered the true value of open source until then... So I took the job and began my journey into open source :)



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