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Being Part of The Open Source Community

October 14, 2010

Six Feet Up is firmly entrenched in Open Source. We focus on a product called Plone, and at least once a month our developers donate their time to contribute bug fixes back to the Plone Community. We use several open sources products such as FreeBSD on our servers, the Nginx web server, Varnish, and Pound. I am a Unix Administrator and not much of a programmer at all, so I've never really felt part of that Community; that is, until the last few weeks.

Six Feet Up is now the official host of This doesn't seem like a big deal, but it is. We, and by "we" I am referring to Six Feet Up, are now hosting the official community site of a very large open source project. As a Unix Administrator, at least part of the responsibility of keeping the environment for that site stable sits firmly on my shoulders. And with that, I realized that I too can contribute back to the Open Source Community as a whole.

The second thing that has happened in the last few weeks was a bit of an epiphany. We have an Open Source product that we are hosting for three customers called the Knowledge And Resource Locator or KARL for short. That product is being rewritten from scratch for its 3.0 release. We were asked if we would provide server space and some development time for the upcoming migration from version 2.x to version 3. I was selected to work on the server configuration and log any bugs I find during the setup, as well as document any snags encountered along the way.

For the first three weeks it was mostly the status quo for me: not really part of the community, but perhaps supporting some of the infrastructures the community needs. It wasn't until one Friday afternoon after a week of tracking down problems and eventually closing all of my tickets, with help from Shane Hathaway, for that week that it hit me. I am part of the Open Source Community! Providing the infrastructure required for developers in place is as important as the developers themselves. Paul Everitt told me it takes more than just programmers to get projects like this done.

I would like to extend a thank you to Paul. What he said really helped me see the worth I do provide the community as a whole using the skill set I have. For everyone else on that project, it's been fun working with all of you. You're all a bunch of rock stars, and the team we have could likely accomplish great things together! It's been an honor to provide a workspace for you to use and abuse.

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