No, this is not a blog post about the kind of landscape you’re accustomed to, though it might trigger a few ‘I want to be a Landscape Architect’ thoughts from a person or two.
The news this time is that I’m going through a landscape change myself, and to me it’s still a bit scary just to think about it.
The last such change in my life happened roughly ten years ago when I left my job as PHP Programmer and Systems Administrator at a small ISP to start my own company with a few colleagues from university. At that time, leaving PHP behind to learn this new (to me) fancy things called Zope and Python felt really weird, not to mention the fact that I was about 20 and knew no-one of my age that had successfully started a web development company (I mean, I live in a very small town, this is not Silicon Valley).
So cutting to the chase, I would like to let everybody know I will be joining the Landscape team at Canonical starting January 5th. I will not be leaving Enfold Systems though. We keep working together part time at least until April, where we expect to make at least one big release of a fully eggified Enfold Server based on Plone 3.2 in that timeframe. After April, I will still be doing work for Enfold Systems, but the time available for that will much more constrained.
Joining the Landscape team is very exciting to me, not only because I will get to work with some really smart people, but also because I will be working from home and being supervised by one of the top minds in the Brazilian Python scene: Gustavo Niemeyer, responsible for pearls like `Mocker`, `Storm` and `Smart`. And on top of that, I will get to learn new ways of managing and collaborating within a distributed software development team, a subject that was theme for my graduation thesis.
Last, but not least important, there’s a long story of back and forth between me and Canonical that dates back as far as 2004. On that year, DebConf 4 was happening in Porto Alegre which is about one hour drive from where I live.
Hanging out on the #zope3-dev irc channel I’ve noticed that one guy, Steve Alexander, connected from an IP range in Brazil. That struck me as odd because I didn’t know Steve very well, but maybe well enough to guess that something hot was going on. So Steve told me he was here for DebConf, and I self-invited me to stop by and say `hi`.
Arriving at DebConf, I met Steve personally for the first time, and again had an odd sensation there: Steve and about 30-40 folks where separated from the rest of the DebConf crowd on their own room, hacking away. I also met Mark Shuttleworth there and saw him talk about his space flight. That was one of the most exciting things and very heart-warming to me since my dream as a kid was to be an astronaut.
Later on that same day I came to know they were creating a new distro: they were taking name suggestions and voting. It was not surprise at least to me when I first saw Ubuntu being mentioned in the news, though I don’t recall clearly if that was one of the suggestions being voted.
Having just finished a big project using Zope 3 and relational databases, Steve quickly asked for my input on the preliminary design of a Zope 3-based web application for managing translations, which I promptly gave. The code I was looking at right there was the beginning of Launchpad. Up until very recently, Launchpad was powered by a creation of mine named `sqlos`, which has now been replaced by `storm`.
Steve asked me if I was interested in joining the team, but I had to decline given that I had just signed up with Enfold Systems, which was only about a month old at that time. I did put them in touch with a good friend I met only a couple years before: Christian Reis (kiko). In retrospect, that might have been one of the best contributions I made to Canonical, and to Open Source in general.
So, all in all, very exciting news for me. Canonical has a special place in my heart since I basically saw when Ubuntu and Launchpad were born and have some really good friends working there. The situation is no different with Enfold Systems. I have been working with Alan Runyan since before Enfold was Enfold, and really since before Plone was Plone: when Plone 1.0 was announced I was with Alan Runyan, Paul Everitt and Alexander Limi in Paris, at SolutionsLinux 2003, participating on a Zope 3 sprint, mind you.
To summarize, I will be splitting my time between Enfold Systems and Canonical between January 5th and April 1st 2009. After that I will be working full time at Canonical but still expect to contribute significantly at Enfold Systems. One of the responsibilities I have right now and which I don’t want to drop is building the Plone installers for Windows. Hopefully I will keep doing that. Unless some Ubuntu dude sneaks in by night and erases my Windows partition, that is. :)