I’ve had the pleasure of working on Ubuntu for 12½ years now, and during that time used up an entire Latin alphabet of release names! (Well, A and C are still free, but we used H and W twice, so on average.. ☺ ) This has for sure been the most exciting time in my life with tons of good memories! Very few highlights:
- Getting some spam mail from a South African multi-millionaire about a GREAT OPPORTUNITY
- Joining #warthogs (my first IRC experience) and collecting my first bounties for “derooting” Debian (i. e. drop privileges from root daemons and suid binaries)
- Getting invited to Oxford to meet a bunch of people for which I had absolutely zero proof of existence, and tossing myself into debts for buying a laptop for that occasion
- Once being there, looking into my fellows’ stern and serious faces and being amazed by their professionalism:
- The excitement and hype around going public with Warty Warthogs Beta
- Meeting lots of good folks at many UDSes, with great ideas and lots of enthusiasm, and sometimes “Bags of Death”. Group photo from Ubuntu Down Under:
- Organizing UDSes without Launchpad or other electronic help:
- Playing “Wish you were Here” with Bill, Tony, Jono, and the other All Stars
- Seeing bug #1 getting closed, and watching the transformation of Microsoft from being TEH EVIL of the FOSS world to our business partner
- Getting to know lots of great places around the world. My favourite: luring a few colleagues for a “short walk through San Francisco” but ruining their feet with a 9 hour hike throughout the city, Golden Gate Park and dipping toes into the Pacific.
- Seeing Ubuntu grow from that crazy idea into one of the main pillars of the free software world
- ITZ GTK BUG!
- Getting really excited when Milbank and the Canonical office appeared in the Harry Potter movie
- Moving between and getting to know many different teams from the inside (security, desktop, OEM, QA, CI, Foundations, Release, SRU, Tech Board, …) to appreciate and understand the value of different perspectives
- Breaking burning wood boards, making great and silly videos, and team games in the forest (that was La Mola) at various All Hands
But all good things must come to an end — after tossing and turning this idea for a long time, I will leave Canonical at the end of the year. One major reason for me leaving is that after that long time I am simply in need for a “reboot”: I’ve piled up so many little and large things that I can hardly spend one day on developing something new without hopelessly falling behind in responding to pings about fixing low-level stuff, debugging weird things, handholding infrastructure, explaining how things (should) work, do urgent archive/SRU/maintenance tasks, and whatnot (“it’s related to boot, it probably has systemd in the name, let’s hand it to pitti”). I’ve repeatedly tried to rid myself of some of those or at least find someone else to share the load with, but it’s too sticky :-/ So I spent the last few weeks with finishing some lose ends and handing over some of my main responsibilities.
Today is my last day at work, which I spend mostly on unsubscribing from package bugs, leaving Launchpad teams, and catching up with emails and bugs, i. e. “clean up my office desk”. From tomorrow on I’ll enjoy some longer EOY holidays, before starting my new job in January.
I got offered to work on Cockpit, on the product itself and its ties into the Linux plumbing stack (storaged/udisks, systemd, and the like). So from next year on I’ll change my Hat to become Red instead of orange. I’m curious to seeing for myself how that other side of the fence looks like!
This won’t be a personal good-bye. I will continue to see a lot of you Ubuntu folks on FOSDEMs, debconfs, Plumber’s, or on IRC. But certainly much less often, and that’s the part that I regret most — many of you have become close friends, and Canonical feels much more like a family than a company. So, thanks to all lof you for being on that journey with me, and of course a special and big Thank You to Mark Shuttleworth for coming up with this great Ubuntu vision and making all of this possible!