Wednesday, March 30, 2022 - 06:00
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At a Glance: Will Dazey

  • Involved in open source since: 2014
  • Works for: IBM
  • Eclipse Foundation contributor since: 2015
  • Involved in: EclipseLink, Jakarta Persistence
  • Committer to: EclipseLink, Jakarta Persistence
  • Committer since: 2015
  • Fun fact: After two years studying aerospace engineering, Will turned his hobby of programming in his free time into a career by switching to study computer science.

How did you first get involved in open source software communities?

I had been reporting bugs against different open source software projects for a while. When I started working at IBM, I was getting more seriously involved in JPA open source with communities through the Eclipse Foundation.

How did that lead to you becoming a committer at the Eclipse Foundation?

When I first started my position with IBM, I started working with the EclipseLink community right away. WebSphere Application Server ships EclipseLink as a Java Persistence provider, so I needed to get involved. I needed to get acquainted with the code so I could begin fixing and reporting bugs; becoming involved in the project’s direction to provide service for our customers.

WebSphere is also a Java EE-compliant server that provides Java Persistence, so I also needed to get involved in the JPA spec community so I could become part of the discussion on the future of the JPA specification.

So, I became a committer to EclipseLink and the Java Persistence API, which is now known as Jakarta Persistence, a Jakarta EE Specification.

How would you summarize your experiences as a committer?

It’s definitely a rewarding experience because you’re helping to fix bugs and people say “wow, thank you so much for fixing this problem.” The exposure you get is great for your user base. 

I love the transparency and the collaboration that comes with being a committer, but it can also be challenging because you have to collaborate with people from different companies, with different types of experience, who often follow different programming methodologies. You have to bring all of these people together and organize release schedules with everyone who has a stake in the project. 

There’s also a lot of responsibility behind the role because you need to make sure you’re not breaking existing functionality while also fixing the issues with the highest severity. 

But overall, being a committer is incredibly rewarding.

What are your next steps and goals as a committer and Eclipse Foundation community member?

I would love to get more involved in the Jakarta Persistence specification project. I deal a lot with the EclipseLink project, which is the reference implementation for the Persistence spec, so getting more involved in the Persistence community is quite appealing to me. 

What would you say to developers who are considering getting more involved in open source software projects at the Eclipse Foundation?

Don’t be afraid to put a pull request out there, or some kind of change, and ask to have it reviewed. Send an email to a dev mailing list to say, “Hey, I want to get involved with this project! Where do you recommend I start?” Projects will welcome you with open arms and get you acquainted with how the project runs and how the technology really works. Fix some low-level bugs, contribute to discussions, and get your name out there in the community. 

If you're looking for committer status, one of the best things you can do is try to fix reported bugs. I know, in our project, “low-hanging-fruit” bugs are sitting there ready to be worked on, but we need people to triage them. If we had someone who showed passion to submit pull requests for some of those bugs, we would probably invite them to become a committer right away!