I, Elliot Murphy, apply for MOTU and per-package upload rights to ubuntuone-client, ubuntuone-storage-protocol, erlang, couchdb, desktopcouch, evolution-couchdb, couchdb-glib, libubuntuone (not yet in the archive), python-configglue, rabbitmq-server


Elliot Murphy

Launchpad Page

Wiki Page

Who I am

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I'm Elliot, aka statik on IRC. I like writing code and creating things and I abhor paperwork. I'm really interested in scaling of software projects, both scaling down - keeping projects small enough that a single person can maintain them, and scaling up - shepherding projects through growing pains until they have a life long beyond what the original creators envisioned. One time while I was travelling in Italy I accidentally ate some horse meat, and for that I am eternally repentant.

My Ubuntu story

Tell us how and when you got involved, what you liked working on and what you could probably do better.

My involvement

I switched to using Ubuntu instead of Gentoo in early 2005, I first started learning about Ubuntu development when I joined Canonical working on the Launchpad team in December 2006, and I've been working on the Ubuntu One project for about a 18 months now. My involvement in Ubuntu so far has been a bit of bugfixing (python packages, couchdb); getting new software packaged, and teaching other people how they can package software for ubuntu rather than working around the packaging system.

Examples of my work / Things I'm proud of

I've done a bit of work on 20 packages:,;package=python-whisper, . This varies from bugfixing to merges to new packages. I think something I'm very good at is being persistent when debugging, and knowing how and where to ask for help when I can tell something isn't quite correct or I'm not sure how to test it. I'm a lot better at navigating a large foreign code base and fixing something than I am at building a whole new software project myself.

Areas of work

Let us know what you worked on, with which development teams / developers you cooperated and how it worked out.

I have very little day-to-day interaction with the various Ubuntu development teams,although I do follow the mailing lists and carefully read the policies. I don't like talking very much, I like drive-by contributions better and am mostly interested in scratching my own itch for a handful of packages and then gardening in the long tail of packages outside of main as time allows. Mostly when I want something uploaded I prepare it and then ask on IRC and BLAM! it's uploaded - once I learned how it works it's been pretty cool to see how smoothly sponsoring goes. When there are problems people tell me whats wrong and I fix it. So far I think pitti, slangasek, james_w, kirkland, asac, and ScottK have sponsored one or two uploads for me or reviewed changes for me. For Lucid I decided to make an effort at more general contributions to Ubuntu rather than just new packages I was trying to get in, and thats been neat. At UDS Dallas kirkland walked me through merging the old way with MoM, but then I did my first merge using bzr in Lucid (the erlang package), and have requested syncs for a couple of merges where all the Ubuntu changes had already gone upstream. Even though my personal interest is contributing to universe, my day job is managing the Ubuntu One dev team so I'm also applying for per-package upload rights on packages related to Ubuntu One that I touch because of my work.

Things I could do better

Stop packaging stuff for Ubuntu and package it for Debian instead to reduce double work - three of my packages that I did for Ubuntu (python-coverage and python-amqplib and python-testtools) were packaged at the same time by other people in Debian, so I ended up just getting them synced from Debian a cycle later. I've joined the debian-python team and the debian-erlang team and am working on several packages there. Also I would like to be a funnier person, it's just so nice to work on a team where people can make each other laugh.

Plans for the future


My plan for the future is to keep writing software, and stop making so many plans - I want to be more emergent (seriously!). I'm pretty excited about whats happening in the Ubuntu Distributed Development project which will make packaging so much easier, and I want to get more involved with packaging Erlang applications, as there are not many people working on that. I see the big load of work on the sponsors queue and I'm keen to be able to help out with reviewing and uploading contributions that I'm confident are correct, and helping people learn how to improve packages that need work. I guess if I could accomplish anything I would want to be smarter, except with pink spiky hair or maybe a nice handlebar mousetach.

What I like least in Ubuntu

Please describe what you like least in Ubuntu and what thoughts do you have about fixing it.

Ubuntu seems pretty nice to me. I think Ubuntu is the best platform for building software that I've ever used. I'm quite taken with Cockburn's dance of contribution, and I like that Ubuntu works so hard to create an environment of personal safety where people can collaborate. I want to help keep this dream alive, and encourage people to keep on improvising.

I guess the thing I like least about Ubuntu development is having to ask people to endorse my developer application, it feels so weird to email people and ask for their endorsement rather than my work standing on it's own. It's surprising that working towards MOTU has been harder for me than getting hired at Canonical or any other place I've worked at in the last 15 years was (my application for MOTU last year was rejected due to lack of experience), but I admire the dedication to quality and I'm not about to stop contributing to Ubuntu. I don't have a concrete suggestion for improving this right now, but I think we could do some interesting things with making code review more pervasive once the UDD project gets a bit farther along. I do my best to take the encouragement that I've gotten from various Ubuntu developers and show the same welcoming attitude and friendly tutoring to others who I think would be good Ubuntu developers but aren't sure how to get started.


  • I've worked with Elliot on a few things related to Ubuntu One, here are the highlights:
    • Community-facing approach - Elliot was keen to work with existing Ubuntu community structures, little things like ensuring his team members are engaged in the forums and IRC channels, are responsive to user questions, and generally making themselves available for content.
    • Upstream focus - Elliot has been working closely with CouchDB upstream and our fixes go there, along with all the things the team touches.
  • Stefan Potyra (sistpoty):
    • The only upload I sponsored was bug 428098. It was a patch of good quality. Elliot was responsive when asked to forward the patch to Debian.
  • DustinKirkland (kirkland)

    • I've coached Elliot on a few packaging issues, merges, and syncs. Elliot asks intelligent questions, and diligently digests information passed to him. He has a passion for Ubuntu and a meticulously curiosity for doing things "correctly". I think Elliot is an asset to the Ubuntu development community.


As a sponsor, just copy the template below, fill it out and add it to this section.

Daniel Holbach (dholbach)

General feedback

I'm very happy with the things I looked at in my personal experience with Elliot. The stuff he has been working on sometimes wasn't trivial, but he still succeeded. Also I'm quite happy with how he collaborates with Debian maintainers.

Specific Experiences of working together

Areas of Improvement

Sometimes could follow up on bug reports quicker. Wink ;-)

JamesWestby (james_w)

General feedback

I'm always impressed by Elliot's enthusiasm and commitment to quality and great processes, I look forward to working with him more in the future.

I'm also a bug fan of his upstream ethic, both in terms of Ubuntu One and making sure that team works with the Ubuntu development community in the best way, but in pushing things upstream of Ubuntu too, usually before approaching Ubuntu. It's always a pleasure to review a patch which is just a cherry-pick from upstream.

Specific Experiences of working together

Areas of Improvement

I think the main thing Elliot needs is experience. Once he understands an issue he always strives to make sure everything is done correctly, so just encountering more packaging difficulties will ensure that he improves.

It would also be great if he could spend more of his time hacking Smile :-)


=== General feedback ===
## Please fill us in on your shared experience. (How many packages did you sponsor? How would you judge the quality? How would you describe the improvements? Do you trust the applicant?)

=== Specific Experiences of working together ===
''Please add good examples of your work together, but also cases that could have handled better.''
=== Areas of Improvement ===


ElliotMurphy/DeveloperApplication (last edited 2010-02-01 04:53:34 by statik)