Some time ago at one of Red Hat mailing lists someone asked “how has open source helped your career”. There were several interesting stories. I had mine as well.
My first contribution to FOSS. It was updating Debian ‘potato’ installation guide for Amiga/m68k. I was writing article to new Amiga magazine called ‘eXec’ about installing Debian. So why not update official instruction at same time?
Probably my first code contribution: small change to MPlayer. I completely forgot about it but as project was changing it’s license in 2017 I got an email about it.
I bought my 3rd PDA (Sharp Zaurus SL-5500) and it was running Linux. I started building apps for it, hacking system to run better. Then cooperated with OpenZaurus distro developers and started contributing to OpenEmbedded build system. One day they gave me write access to repo and told to merge my changes.
When I stopped using OE few years later I was the 5th on list of top contributors.
I also count this year as first one of my FOSS career.
Richard Jackson donated Zaurus c760 to me. As a gift for my OpenZaurus work. And then OPIE 1.2.2 release came due to my changes to make better use of VGA screen. I still have this device in running condition.
Became release manager of OpenZaurus distribution, with team of users testing pre-release images. Released 3.5.4 (and later 18.104.22.168 and 22.214.171.124-rc) version.
Started my own consulting company. Got some serious customers. End of work as PHP programmer.
2007 - 2010
I am doing what was hobby as full time job. Full FOSS work. Different companies, ARM architecture for 95% of time. Mostly consulting around OpenEmbedded.
Due to my ARM foss involvement Canonical hired me. Started working at Linaro as software engineer. Cleaned cross compilers in Ubuntu/Debian, several other things.
Became one of first AArch64 developers. Published OpenEmbedded support for it right after all toolchain patches became public.
Left Linaro and Canonical, wrote about it on blog and in less then hour got “send me your CV” from Jon Masters from Red Hat. Joined company, did lot of changes in RHEL 7 and Fedora — mostly fixing FTBFS on !x86 architectures.
My manager asked me do I want to go back to Linaro. This time as Red Hat assignee. Went, met old chaps, working mostly around OpenStack. Still on 64bit Arm.
2017 - 2020
Lot of work in OpenStack. Some work on Big Data stuff for other team at Linaro. Countless projects where I worked on getting stuff working on AArch64.
My whole career is built on FOSS.
My x86(-64) desktop runs GNU/Linux since day one (September 2000) as main system. There was OpenDOS as second during studies due to some stuff.
I had MS Windows XP as second system on one of laptops. But that’s due to some Arm hardware bringup tool being available only for this OS (later also for Linux). My family and friends learnt that I am unable to help them with MS Windows issues as I do not know that OS.