Open Mic Spotlight: Dan Smith

9998950f4ac00c8f357d1f9640d4860eThis 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. 

Dan Smith is a Principal Software Engineer at Red Hat. He works primarily on Nova, is a member of the core team, and is generally focused on topics relating to live upgrade. You can follow him on Twitter @get_offmylawn

1. If you couldn’t be a developer, what would your dream job be?

I’ll try to answer this by quoting some code from


import developer

except ImportError:

raise Exception(“Cannot continue without the developer module!”)

2. What behavior has helped get you the furthest as a developer?

I’d say: Figuring out who the smart and productive folks are and learning to do as they do. OpenStack is a great project for that because it’s chock full of smart folks to learn from.

3. What is your favorite project that you’ve contributed code to?

It sounds contrived, but, definitely OpenStack. I can’t recall a past project that had me as motivated to review patches in the car on the way to a weekend vacation or rebase/resubmit my patches on a Saturday morning. The incredible velocity and high density of excellence on this project makes it fun. I feel privileged to be able to work on OpenStack for my day job.

4. How did you learn to code? Are you self-taught or did you learn in college? On-the-job?

When I was very young, I was given a Commodore VIC-20 with no game cartridges and some empty cassette tapes. It didn’t do much unless I made it happen, so I had to learn to write code for it. I still have the thing in the attic, but I keep the reference manual on the bookshelf with other technical books.

5. Be honest – are you more likely to know your project collaborators by their IRC nic or their actual name?

The only reason I know a few people by their actual names is because their IRC nicks haven’t been on the badges at recent design summits. I hope that will change in Hong Kong 🙂


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