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Open Mic Spotlight, 4th Birthday Edition: Kashyap Chamarthy

kashyapThis post is part of the OpenStack Open Mic series to spotlight the people who have helped make OpenStack successful. Each week, a new contributor will step up to the mic and answer five questions about OpenStack, cloud, careers and what they do for fun. For the month of July, we’re focusing on Q&A specific to OpenStack’s 4th birthday. If you’re interested in being featured, please choose five questions from this form and submit!

Kashyap currently works for Red Hat on most things related to open source virtualization/cloud related projects (OpenStack). He works remotely, from India. Kashyap enjoys reading, traveling, and learning to be conscious to live minimally and in an ecologically sustainable way.

1. Where were you when you first heard of OpenStack? What were you doing?

It was in 2012 in Brussels, Belgium. I was there to participate in the (no-nonsense) FOSDEM conference. For most of the second (and the last) day of the conference I was hanging out in the “Virtualization Dev” room and attended the final session of the day: an OpenStack community panel discussion moderated by Thierry Carrez (current OpenStack release manager) & co. Most of the debates in that session were around evolving project governance, roles of linux distributions, release process and plenty their related topics. That’s when I learned about OpenStack.

2. What drew you to OpenStack?

I got involved in OpenStack around 2013 through RDO project (a community OpenStack distribution that stays close to upstream trunk, started by Red Hat). I’d say it’s the sheer range of areas one can contribute to in many useful ways. By the time I was starting with OpenStack, it clearly helped to have been closely familiar with some of the under-the-hood open source virtualization technologies (like libvirt, QEMU, KVM and a ton of tooling around it) that OpenStack relies on. I feel it’s a nice progression to work on a higher-level project like OpenStack that already takes advantage of these and connects them all together in a meaningful way (and not some afterthought bolt-on).

Others factors would be OpenStack’s commitment towards technical meritocracy, its fair (walking the walk style) approach in governance and community interactions, and flat out fun in participating in such a large community-based software project.

3. What does “open source” mean to you?

To me, it’s the strong belief that it is the most sensible approach to develop software. Secondly, the realization that “hey, I get to benefit immensely from the work of scores of open source communities (at the tap of a keystroke — thanks to innovations like GPL, Creative Commons and the likes), so it’s just fair to contribute back to those communities on whose labour I’m building my existing work.”

4. Which OpenStack debate gets you the most fired up? Why?

Hmm, off the top of my head I can’t single out something. But there are a lot of interesting technical/community related debates on the very high-traffic upstream openstack-dev mailing list. It’s a great experience for a new person to learn the community culture by following discussions (with some good mail filters), getting a sense of tone on the lists, what kind of topics to bring up (and how) and many more things — just by plain old observation.

I don’t mean to imply that everything is rainbows and butterflies. Sure, there are (open/closed) conflicts too – like any massive project with a lot of moving parts, but the civilized manner in which most of them are resolved is heartening to see.

5. What is your favorite memory from am OpenStack summit?

I haven’t been to an OpenStack summit, yet. But I was at an OpenStack meetup (“OpenStack in Action 4″ by eNovance, last November in Paris). In the conference lobby, I noticed Mark McClain (current Neutron project PTL) passed by – I walked up, politely introduced my self and had a brief conversation. Before I left him alone, I asked him to share a piece of wisdom that can help one wrap his/her head around the complexity of Neutron (OpenStack Networking project) and its associated open source plugins. “Read ‘iproute2′ man pages, read carefully and experiment more, it’s full of useful details,” Mark said. And I still haven’t gotten to
it. So, by saying it out loud here, hopefully I’ll get my act together and spend some quality time with it. :-)

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