Details on this page may change at any time, mostly with the addition of testimonials or comments


Thomas Ward

Launchpad Page

Wiki Page Ward

I am applying for Core Developer access because:

  • I'd like to eliminate delays in getting my work sponsored when I upload packages to the repositories.
  • I'd like to reduce the burden on my sponsors.
  • I intend to work with a much broader package set beyond just NGINX, and other packages; this includes the general Ubuntu Server package set, as well as other packages.

Who I am

I am a 29 year old Linux systems administrator, Network Engineer and Administrator, and IT Security Specialist with a focus on Network Security. I work full-time for a non-profit here in the United States which works with private and public sector as well as foreign law enforcement to help fight Cyber Crime, and I personally help keep the infrastructure and network for the company secure.

My Ubuntu story

A long time ago in 2009, I was at Carnegie Mellon University. The entire backbone of the University was a UNIX/Linux driven system, with RHEL as the primary LInux environment in use. I started to get into Ubuntu with installing Ubuntu 9.04 on my system, and quickly grew to love how responsive and fast it was.

From that point, I started to do Ubuntu IRC support, then moved on to Ask Ubuntu as my primary ability to contribute - assisting others - these contributions on Ask Ubuntu were influential in my attaining Ubuntu Membership in November of 2011.

All throughout this time, however, I was learning more and more about Ubuntu, how to manage it on the command line, running servers on it, hardening it, and customizing it. I joined up on the Ubuntu Server Team to help drive the development of Ubuntu Server, and later helped directly push for NGINX to be supported in the Main pocket in 2014. I continue to maintain the package alongside the Server Team, and regularly contribute both on Ask Ubuntu and with development testing and SRU of things which have gained my attention.

My involvement

Examples of my work / Things I'm proud of

You can look at the Sponsorship Miner on UDD for all sponsorships I've had done thus far. This will provide a list of how long I've been working with the packages as well.

I am looking for Core Developer access, so there is not any specific package I can provide.

Much of my contributions thus far have been for NGINX, and I have Per Package Upload rights for that; I also am very familiar with the various processes of Stable Release Updates, Development Cycles, when to request exceptions for uploads during freezes, and the proper procedure for addressing issues with build failures, autopkgtest failures, etc.

However, some examples of *recent* contributions which have needed sponsorship include:

  • - a bug in GParted due to LVM2 being changed prevented LVM2 physical partitions from being shrunk by GParted. This had been a longer-standing issue in Bionic, and I helped to push the patch into an SRU-able format; this SRU was then sponsored by Jeremy Bicha, and then later accepted as an SRU.

  • - this was a bug I pulled from the Server Team's server-next list as well as Bitesize bugs. This specifically fixed an issue in chkrootkit where it showed a false positive. Robie Basak helped with uploading and sponsoring this, but is one example where having Core Dev and upload privileges would have expedited this.

  • - this was a bug as a result of upstream making changes which broke other things, and had a full version upload bundled with feature changes and other fixes. I had to coordinate with upstream to find the specific patches that needed nitpicked, and then apply them to the package for the SRU which fixed the problem. The developer was very happy that this got fixed by SRU.

Areas of work

I have done ongoing continued work with the Ubuntu Server Team, focusing on the NGINX package. I have also been helping out the Lubuntu Team with general systems administration, testing, and general support. My goal however is to ultimately be more widely involved with the Ubuntu Server Team's packagesets and packages, as well as to ultimately assist in the backports and help out other individuals with SRUs, package updating, bug fixing, etc. on a larger scale.

Because I have broader ambitions than just the NGINX package, I am applying for Core Dev to remove the headaches with sponsoring uploads, as in the somewhat near future I intend to work to help with the bitesized bugs as well as the server-next backlogs, as well as branch out into more packages.

Things I could do better

As always, we all strive to better ourselves and our knowledge.

I occasionally get frustrated and impatient with how things move. However, I have done much better on this as time goes forward. This, and my knowledge of the various package structures, processes, etc. are all things I can work on better, of course, however the core fundamental knowledge of SRU processes, upload processes, freeze procedures, etc. are all preset.

Plans for the future

In the future, I intend to be helping much more with Ubuntu Server development, uploads, bug fixing, etc.

However, in the longer-term, I hope to be able to help drive the Backports process (and help sponsor backports uploads, especially if the newer proposals of structure for uploads access and such get traction and accepted), and to further contribute to Ubuntu at large in terms of getting bug fixes landed in updates as SRUs where necessary, helping to sponsor package uploads where necessary, and to also further make Ubuntu a better project and get the relevant bug fixes for problem-packages landed so that many users will be able to see progress in fixing issues where otherwise they would see stagnation or not caring about the issues.


What I like least in Ubuntu

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

The current thing I like the least in Ubuntu is the Backports repository and the progresses surrounding it - these processes are old, do not scale to the volume of requests that have been filed, and the problem plaguing the Backports process currently is that everything for it is placed solely on the shoulders of the Backports team. This team has limited levels of interest or activity with regards to Backports now, and general consensus was that the Backports process needs redesigned.

My thoughts for fixing this have already had the beginnings of work towards fixing it done. I have recently, with the support of Iain Lane and others, worked to create a proposal for changing the Backports process and the requirements for access to the Backports upload pocket. If this proposal or one like it gains traction, I hope to not only have helped make Backports a sane process again, but to also help drive Backports forward and help to get newer versions of software backported to older releases where possible.


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

Seth Arnold

I've known teward for a few years: I worked with him while performing a main inclusion review of the nginx source package that he maintains. He was easy to work with, made good suggestions, and was amenable to working within the constraints that I had placed on the package.

He's also a careful communicator: he looks to build consensus when making changes.

He asks questions when he's not sure about something.

I especially appreciate that he's trying to revive the backports project by making some larger changes that are still in keeping with the spirit of the Ubuntu community.

-- seth-arnold 2019-04-12 01:27:36


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

Robie Basak

General feedback

Thomas has been active on the Ubuntu Server Team for years, looking after nginx but also helping with various "drive by" fixes and bugs across the archive. He always keeps others informed, asks for advice when looking to do anything new and pays attention to detail, so I'm confident that his direct uploads to a wider set of packages will continue to be of high quality.

Although I've only sponsored a handful for uploads for Thomas over the years, I have discussed countless uploads and strategies with him. It's these conversations that give me confidence in endorsing him for this application. Thomas is an asset to Ubuntu, and I think it would be valuable to the project to remove the sponsorship obstacle from his endeavours. I'm quite sure that he'll still continue seeking review for anything non-straightforward anyway.

Specific Experiences of working together

Sponsorship miner results. Far more than that, Thomas is regularly to be found on #ubuntu-server consulting with the rest of the Ubuntu Server team on upcoming changes.

Areas of Improvement

I can't think of anything I can suggest for Thomas to improve. Please keep up the good work!


=== 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.''
## Full list of sponsored packages can be generated here:
=== Areas of Improvement ===


Thomas Ward/DeveloperApplication-COREDEV (last edited 2019-06-03 16:24:16 by teward)