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Real World DevOps

This blog post contains a written transcript of my NEDCamp 2018 keynote, Real World DevOps, edited to match the style of this blog. Accompanying resources: presentation slides, video.

Jeff Geerling at NEDCamp 2018 - New England Drupal Camp

I'm Jeff Geerling; you probably know that because my name appears in huge letters at the top of every page on this site, including the post you're reading right now. I currently work at Acquia as a Senior Technical Architect, building hosting infrastructure projects using some buzzword-worthy tech like Kubernetes, AWS, and Cloud.

Recovering from surgery and living with my friend, the Stoma

It's been just over two weeks since the big one; I had my colon removed and was given in its place an ileostomy, which dramatically changes the way I go number two.

As with most stages of my Crohn's journey, I thought I'd write up this blog post with my experiences—and maybe a liiiiittle sarcasm thrown in—for the benefit of anyone else going through a similar situation.

Bowel Prep

My doctor requested a full cleanout for this surgery, I guess so he wouldn't have to deal with stinky poo while yanking out my guts, and I obliged. Unfortunately, for most Crohnies or IBD patients who have to get a colectomy, they're already not in a great place prior to surgery, and neither was I. I was already underweight and not nearly 100% energy-wise, so having to empty out (same prep as for a colonoscopy) meant I did as much as I could to stay hydrated and not faint.

Heaping Helpings of Hospital Humor for Healing

As a Geerling, when a situation goes upside-down I turn to humor. If you need evidence, go read The Joy of Crohn's. Back? Good.

Take today, for example. Day 3 stuck in a hospital due to complications from having Crohn's disease.

Jeff makes a strong arm with a new picc line inserted

I'm in a bit of an awkward situation: I'm mostly fine, and I can walk around, do most things normally, talk, eat, etc. But I have this one little problem: My poop (due to having Crohn's disease) has gone thermonuclear, and it's now affecting my health.

Apparently I have this thing called CMV Colitis. It's one of a number of ailments that either exclusively affects immunocompromised patients (generally, people with IBD, Crohn's, Lupus, etc.), or makes said patients waaaay worse off than your average person. Like, nearly fatal instead of a low grade fever!

Anyways, picture an average week in a Crohnie's life:

How can I get my PR merged into your open source project?

Recently I received an email from an IT student asking the following: I recently submitted a pull request to one of your open source projects on GitHub. What can I do to get this pull request merged? The answer below may sound somewhat like a cop-out, or harsh (especially considering it was to a starry-eyed student trying to dip his or her toes into the waters of open source software contribution)... but I've found that honesty is the best policy, and the best way I can maintain good OSS software is to guard my (limited) time for OSS work vigilantly, and try to not allow sentiment force the merge of any kind of code, no matter how simple/small the change. Here is my reply:

Thanks for the email! I maintain over 100 different open source projects on GitHub, all in my spare time (which can be hard to come by with 3 kids, a full time job at Acquia, and a few other hobbies!). I spend a few hours per quarter on any given project. Some of the more popular projects have dozens of issues, PRs, and new comments that need to be read through to figure out what I need to these few hours on.

The power curve

Besides being a software developer and photographer, I take a deep interest in spaceflight and love reading about the history and development of air- and spacecraft, with a special focus on early space program development.

A few books I've read in the past couple years have gone beyond being interesting just for their historic content—they gave me a lot of ideas to reflect on in relation to my approach to software development, especially what I'd term 'professional' software development (vs. hacking something together for fun, or churning out brochureware sites or cookie-cutter apps).

One book in particular, Failure is Not an Option (by Gene Kranz, famously known for his efforts as director of Mission Control during NASA's early days into the Apollo era), offered some great examples of how a high-performing team should operate, especially under pressure and with high stakes.

Follow up questions to 'Don't drown in your open source project'

After I posted my presentation slides, transcript, and video from my presentation Don't drown in your open source project!, I received two follow-up questions (1, 2) on Twitter that I thought deserved a little better response than what I could do in 140 characters. So, here goes:

Do you ever abandon old projects? Thoughts on right/wrong ways?

Yes, in fact I've abandoned probably a dozen or so projects. The simplest examples:

Why I close PRs (OSS project maintainer notes)

GitHub project notifications geerlingguy/drupal-vm PRs

I maintain many open source projects on GitHub and elsewhere (over 160 as of this writing). I have merged and/or closed thousands of Pull Requests (PRs) and patches in the past few years, and would like to summarize here many of the reasons I don't merge many PRs.

A few of my projects have co-maintainers, but most are just me. The bus factor is low, but I offset that by granting very open licenses and encouraging forks. I also devote a set amount of time (averaging 5-10 hours/week) to my OSS project maintenance, and have a personal budget of around $1,000/year to devote to infrastructure to support my projects (that's more than most for-profit companies who use my projects devote to OSS, sadly).

The Joy of Crohn's

According to the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America, there are 1.6 million Americans with IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease). While that means less than 1% of Americans have either Crohn's or Colitis, that's a pretty big number—and chances are you know someone with IBD, maybe even a close relative!

But due to the fact that Crohn's is usually an invisible illness, many people don't know some of the myriad joys of a typical Crohn's patient's life. This blog post aims to clear that up.

Phobias

Most people I know have one or more of the following phobias:

Developing with VirtualBox and Vagrant on Windows

I've been supporting Drupal VM (a local Drupal CMS development environment) for Windows, Mac, and Linux for the past couple years, and have been using Vagrant and virtual machines for almost all my development (mostly PHP, but also some Python and Node.js at the moment) for the past four years. One theme that comes up quite frequently when dealing with VMs, open source software stacks (especially Drupal/LAMP), and development, is how much extra effort there is to make things work well on Windows.

Problem: tool-builders use Linux or macOS

The big problem, I see, is that almost all the tool-builders for OSS web software run either macOS or a flavor of Linux, and many don't even have access to a Windows PC (outside of maybe an odd VM for testing sites in Internet Explorer or Edge, if they're a designer/front-end developer). My evidence is anecdotal, but go to any OSS conference/meetup and you'll likely see the same.

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