I’ve been at my job for fifteen years.

That’s a third of my life. You do the math!

I’ve always loved computers, since the earliest days of middle school, when I was exposed to the 8-bit computers of the 1980s: The TI-99 4A, the Atari 400, the Commodore VIC-20 and 64, and of course, at school, Apple][s everywhere.

After graduating from high school in the eighties, and taking a couple of college courses at St. Pete College, I took a wide variety of in-house software development jobs for local companies, did a couple years worth of self-employment during the peak of the Dot-Com bubble, and as every techie above a certain age knows primally, it burst at the end of 2000. My little consulting business ended at that time too.

Since 2001, I’ve had just one employer, Syniverse Technologies. I have learned tons about the big-corporate approach to software development, from:

  • learning how to do just about ANYTHING in Java (because, ENTERPRISE!)
  • writing documents that (almost) no one reads:
    • High-level Design Documents
    • Detailed Design Documents
    • Test Plan Documents
    • Release Notes Documents
  • provisioning my teams’ REAL development environments from
    discarded rack servers and Dell Optiplex and Inspiron PCs.
  • navigating the ‘unofficial’ social inter-departmental paths to Getting Things Done.
  • and last but not least, dodging at least ten rounds of layoffs.

Don’t get me wrong: there are a few things I’m really proud of too:

  • Introducing Subversion as a standards-based source control in my team (2011)
    leading to company-wide adoption.
  • Being the first in the company to pioneer embedded Jetty-based J2EE
    , to remove the typical compile/package/deploy/unpack/reload
    cycle, and make my developers far more productive.
  • Being the first to introduce both jQuery and AngularJS as
    far superior web development technologies to Oracle ADF and Adobe Flex.
  • Helping a large-volume traffic analysis system based on Oracle scale
    far beyond a billion rows per day, by replacing the RDBMS in Vertica.
    (in hindsight, it should have been Apache Hadoop).
  • Helping our operations team migrate dozens of applications from
    Solaris to Linux.

But the software world is evolving so much faster than that.

  • Git has completely trounced Subversion in functionality and mindshare.
  • More virtualization choices than ever. It’s not just Xen, VirtualBox,
    VMWare, etc. Now we’ve got OpenStack, Docker, AWS/Rackspace/VPS,
    Puppet, Chef, Ansible, oh my!
  • Linux is far more capable than ever too, but you wouldn’t know it
    if your organization will only use old RHEL releases still on the 2.6 kernel.

I really want to be part of this. I’ve shown over the past two decades that I can build nice things USING Free/Open Source software.

Now, I want to improve Free/Open Source Software ITSELF.