Revision 33 as of 2009-11-03 04:34:42

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I, Evan Broder, apply for MOTU.


Evan Broder

Launchpad Page

Who I am

I'm Evan Broder. I'm currently a senior at MIT. I do computer systems engineering for fun, and occasionally I still like to pretend that I'm actually an electrical engineer. Within computer systems, I do a lot of work with virtualization.

My Ubuntu story

I've been using Ubuntu on my personal servers for years. I'm pretty sure I started with Breezy, although I don't remember for sure. Since then I've run servers with every version from Dapper to Jaunty. I started contributing to Ubuntu through backports, since many of my servers are still running Hardy (for Xen support). I had a few very good experiences working with members of the backporters team, which encouraged me to spend effort on some Xen-related bugs as well as some bugs that were affecting the Debathena project, a Debian/Ubuntu Policy-compliant packaging of the MIT Athena environment for Debian/Ubuntu.

Examples of my work / Things I'm proud of

Within Ubuntu:

Outside of Ubuntu, I'm also very proud of the work I've done with Debathena. We recently deployed Debathena and Ubuntu to the 300 public community workstations at MIT. Debathena has a continuous release cycle - we make changes to any package at any time across all of our supported distributions. I spearheaded our current release engineering and QA procedures, and I think they've done a good job of keeping the "production" Debathena packages very stable across a lot of changes.

Areas of work

In general, I tend to focus on problems that either affect me directly or indirectly. Frequently this means dealing with bugs that are reported to us as part of our campus Ubuntu deployment. As a result I tend to look at a lot of different packages, but tend to focus on the packages that form the core of these services, so krb5, openafs, zephyr, xen, and remctl.

Things I could do better

I had an opportunity this summer to learn a lot about how D-Bus. I thought it was really interesting, and I'd like to have a better understanding of how the modern Linux desktop works - X, DeviceKit, PolicyKit, ConsoleKit, Upstart, stuff like that.

Also, as part of Debathena, we tend to run into a lot of bugs in Ubuntu, and we should do a better job of reporting and fixing these bugs in Ubuntu instead of just working around them in our own packages.

Finally, I know everybody says this, but it is true for me too. It's way too easy to get complacent and not test builds, or even build but not test the results. It's bitten me a few times, and I should be more careful.

Plans for the future

Primarily, I plan to just keep fixing bugs that affect me and the deployments I care about. I'm also hoping to get more involved in the sponsorship queues, and maybe try to become a member of the SRU or backports teams.

What I like least in Ubuntu

For me, the most frustrating part of contributing to Ubuntu is the sponsorship process. As somebody lacking the bits to effect changes directly, it's hard to continue contributing patches when patches you've already submitted lay untouched for months at a time.

I think that improving the sponsorship process is key to keeping fringe contributors involved in Ubuntu, and I think the MOTU community needs to collectively buckle down and agree to pressure each other to spend more time on sponsoring other people's patches. To that end, if my MOTU application is approved, I'm making it a personal goal to help massage and upload somebody else's fix for every fix of my own that I upload.


If you'd like to comment, but are not the applicant or a sponsor, do it here. Don't forget to sign with @SIG@.


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


=== 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 ===