Two years ago Adrian Moya won the first TurnKey community development contest. We decided it would be a good idea to interview him so the community would get to know him better. Unfortunately we made the foolish mistake of deciding to postpone the interview until his submissions made it into the TurnKey library as official appliances. In retrospect I think it would have been best if we did the interview right after Adrian won the contest. Hindsight is always 20/20.
In our defense I'll say that back then, despite evidence to the contrary mind you, we believed a new much expanded TurnKey library release was just around the corner. Unfortunately we soon learned our reach was just beyond our grasp. We were lacking critical pieces of infrastructure needed to efficiently maintain a large library of appliances and an even larger library would aggravate these problems. And so were forced to back down and focus on maintaining the existing library while adding more automation to our development infrastructure and focusing our preciously limited development resources on projects that could keep the project financially sustainable and independent.
Ah yes, that nasty part of running an open source project is that your mistakes are all out in the open.
Oh well, we eventually doubled the appliance library in the TurnKey 12 release. Four of Adrian's contributions became official TurnKey appliances including Magento, OpenLDAP, Plone and Gitlab. I would have preferred we had added all of Adrian's submissions, which were very high quality but it turns out we had underestimated how difficult it would be to adopt new TKLPatches, especially given that we were switching the entire library to Debian, which complicated matters. Taking stock of the situation we decided to focus on pushing out a good release in the time we had rather than the ideal release who knew when.
At the same time we resolved to learn something from our mistake and prioritized cleaning up and opening our development infrastructure so future community contributors would be on equal footing and could help us develop TurnKey using the same infrastructure we were using. We've made enough progress on that that I'm pretty confident we'll be able to make some exciting announcements soon. Then once we finish fixing everything that was broken when we did the first community development contest maybe it will be time to have another one.
With apologies for the absurd delay out of the way, I'd like to finally introduce you to Adrian Moya:
Who are you and What do you do?
My name is Adrian Moya, I'm a 35 year old Computer Engineer from Venezuela. I'm a Linux lover and open source & virtualization evangelist. Also an experienced software developer programming mostly in Java and PHP, and an agile methodologies practitioner. I'm happily married with no kids yet. I also consider myself an entrepreneur at heart, with a few startups in the making.
I currently work in an IT company developing products in java for the financial and banking sector.
How did you hear about TurnKey Linux?
I think I read about TurnKey Linux in one of my news feeds. I don't remember which one of them, maybe Linux journal. I immediately loved the concept of open source appliances. Back them, I was re-starting with Linux after a big time far away. I bought my Debian 1.3.1 on the internet when I was on highschool and played with it a lot. I came back because I wanted to see how Linux evolved. It really surprised me to see that Ubuntu 8.04 recognized almost all hardware and that the installation had a graphical interface! It took me 4 months to start X's in Debian 1.3.1!
I was giving my first steps on virtualization too. I was pushing in my company (not the current one) the use of VMs and was successful installing an Alfresco in production for them. It was a real challenge and back then I was knowing about TurnKey Linux (which didn't have the Alfresco Appliance to save my life!). So I added TurnKey Linux to my watch list (growing list of open source solutions). I remember to think that the project died just before you posted a list of almost 30 new appliances. I was really happy! But no Alfresco yet :(
Is this your first time contributing to an open source project?
Yes. Almost all projects that I see potential, I wish to contribute. It's my first reaction. But almost all of them are software related. To start contributing to a software project I feel you should know well the application, the language, and have time for developing which is usually the critical factor. This project is different in that it's more centered on configuration and deployment. I do that a lot at home and work when trying new software. The contest gave me the final kick to start, but I must admit it feels very nice to be able to contribute to a project you believe in.
What were the main challenges in getting involved with the project? How did you overcome them?
The main challenge was getting time. You need to borrow time from your free time to work on this. Usually that means that time when you are tired, or want to do anything non-related to work. Thanks God I really love the Linux console :D and learning more about it. So I knew that I'll invest time researching for open source solutions, and I knew I would invest time learning more Linux just for fun. What I did was to align interests. I can learn Linux creating a patch. I can research & try open source software creating a patch. (I can win a pony creating a patch) So it easily fit in.
Also it helped that contributing with a patch is a short task to do. It involves reading the requirements, researching best practices, and patch. The final product can be ready in a week. So that's nice to know because if you're not able to continue for months, at least you can leave something completely done in this short time. Mainly thinking this way is that I finally overcome the time issue.
What did you learn that surprised you the most?
I learned that if you work on things that you really have a passion for them, you work harder, care about doing things the right way and you get a reward that is far better than money. I saw it on a video that Liraz posted but then lived it contributing to the project.
What are your plans for the future?
I'm currently moving to another country (Colombia), so I'm starting fresh, new job, new culture, etc. I hope once established to build a business around open source so to align my work and personal dream with the opportunity to contribute to TurnKey Linux and other interesting projects out there. I would like to teach agile software development practices participate as speaker in agile-related events - I've already been speaker in 2 events!. I'm also planning to write a book. You have to write one before you die, don't you?