Open Mic Spotlight: Clint Byrum

ClintByrumThis post is part of the OpenStack Open Mic series to spotlight the people who have helped make OpenStack successful as we celebrate the third birthday of the project. Each day in July, a new contributor will step up to the mic and answer five questions about OpenStack, cloud, careers and what they do for fun.

Hi, my name is Clint Byrum, and I work for HP Cloud Services. I am a member of the “OpenStack on OpenStack” or “TripleO” team, working on making OpenStack deploy itself. Before OpenStack I was heavily involved with Juju. I’m an Ubuntu Core developer, Debian Developer, and Heat Core Reviewer.

1. What do you do when you’re not obsessing over and working with OpenStack?

I recently bought a 52 year old home in here Los Angeles, so I spend a lot of time fixing things. It struck me almost immediately how much a home is like a distributed computing platform. There are parts that work together, and parts that work independently. But most of all, there are lots of bugs. Luckily more figurative than literal. Of course, it has taken 52 years to build up a lot of “technical debt” in this home. Software moves a lot faster than that.

I also have a lovely wife and three sons, 10, 3, and 1, who I spend a lot of time with.

When I need to get away from it all, I sing Karaoke at Cafe Brass Monkey.

2. What was your first commit or contribution and why did you make it?

I’ve been tracking OpenStack since the first announcement, but had stayed out of development for a while. I was working for Canonical at the time and there were others who had dealt with the, shall we say “challenges”, of packaging and shipping a working Eucalyptus cluster. Those individuals, I felt, were in a better position to work on OpenStack than I was. However, working on Juju and other cloud tools, OpenStack was at the forefront in all of our decision making.

So, when I left Canonical and joined HP to work on OpenStack deployment, I started with a quick one line fix to devstack’s Heat library:

Here it is:

commit 1bd2a1b18601fa4f896160c348f2f5988d8b0106

Author: Clint Byrum <[email protected]>

Date:   Wed Dec 12 12:57:16 2012 -0800

Fixes lib/heat to use DATABASE_PASSWORD instead of MYSQL_PASSWORD

The latter is not used anywhere else, but the former is used in all of the other projects sharing the mysql database for devstack.

3. What do you think are the benefits of the open, community-driven approach to development?

OpenStack’s devotion to the broad community while staying close to its commercial contributors is extremely impressive, and I think rare even in successful open source projects. I’ve contributed to quite a few projects over the years, but few that were so inviting and helpful across the board.

I think Open Source is about users, and if you want to capture and invigorate users, making them feel welcome and important is extremely important. What I think is unique to OpenStack is that even though we’re all contributing as part of our day jobs, the culture feels casual and energetic.

4. What is the one thing you wish you did differently in your career?

I wish I had pushed myself just a little bit more early on. I never went into interviews thinking that I have anything less than a 99% chance of getting the job. Later on I came to learn that this was because I was holding back and not challenging myself.

Be bold.

5. What is your biggest hope for the OpenStack community in the next 5 years? What would be really, really amazing?

Continue the meteoric rise (why do we say meteoric when meteors fall? Anyway..) in contribution and milestones. Much like Linux, I’d like to see OpenStack get to a point where it is just obvious that this is the place you go to contribute. I’d like to see OpenStack as the platform that the leaders stand on to drive innovation in the I.T. space.

What would be really amazing? Actual Kung Fu Pandas.

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