Tuesday, January 31, 2023 - 05:00
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At a Glance:

  • Involved in open source since: 2016
  • Works for: Microsoft
  • Eclipse Foundation contributor since: 2016
  • Involved in: Eclipse Adoptium, Eclipse Adoptium Incubator, Eclipse AQAvit, Eclipse Mission Control, Eclipse Temurin Compliance, Eclipse Temurin 
  • Committer to: All of the above
  • Eclipse Foundation committer since: 2016

Where did you start on your open source journey?

I was working at IBM on their runtime team, working on Node.js. I ended up being pulled into the Java team, which was trying to do something similar, essentially a community build of Java. I was one of the key people who built what became AdoptOpenJDK. We grew from a very small project with a few IBMers working on it to getting hundreds of millions of downloads every week. That’s kind of the backstory of how Adoptium ended up at the Eclipse Foundation. 

What made you think of the Eclipse Foundation?

The Eclipse Foundation had always been on my horizon; I’d been keeping an eye on it to see what it was up to.

IBM at the time was kind of a strange place to be: it had a lot of government contracts and borrowed a lot of code from Node.js to build stuff in-house. One of the goals when I joined the team working on Node.js was to figure out how we could give back; fill up that well we were drawing from. I think the challenge at the start was that my employer didn’t fully understand how I could be working in open source and contributing to IBM at the same time. 

The OpenJDK Project ended up being backed by the London Java community, which was incredibly generous of it. But as the project got bigger and bigger, it became obvious we were outgrowing the resources the community could allocate to us. The Eclipse Foundation was a natural fit.

In addition to your work with the Steering Committee at Adoptium, you’re a project lead and a committer on many projects. What’s that experience been like? 

So, I’ve not been a committer for a huge amount of time, and obviously COVID-19 has caused a whole lot of carnage when it comes to networking. As a result, a lot of my time so far has been focused on getting the Adoptium project to where we are now. At this point, I’ve only just begun talking to other Eclipse projects. EclipseCon 2022 was a good chance for me to put on my Eclipse Foundation hat instead of just my Adoptium hat, and connect with members of the community. 

Anything in particular you’re looking forward to?

Getting out and involved with some other projects is one of my main goals. Also worth mentioning is that the Adoptium project is leading the way in the Eclipse Foundation by focussing on secure software development, as part of the Foundation's new security initiative. We’re hoping to reach SLSA compliance-level 4 this year, which would be a big milestone for our project. 

Any advice for someone getting more involved with open source?

The main thing is to have incredible amounts of patience. People are nearly always doing this out of their own time, so be patient when doing things like pull requests. 

Open source can be very intimidating. So, one of the big challenges when you’re first getting involved is getting imposter syndrome, especially if you’re going into a big project. Here, patience pays off too. Read as much documentation as you can, ask as many questions as you can. Be persistent, keep pushing, and try not to be too intimidated: we’re all here doing the exact same thing, after all. 

Your journey towards open source can only really end two ways. Either you give up or you succeed.