I first started poking around Kubernetes in August 2016. Writing backend Go was something I had done in the past few years, and I always love new technology and exciting communities. It was a natural fit, and as soon as I found something I could help out with, the commits just started flowing!
I started checking pull requests and issues regularly. My goal was to provide valuable input, real suggestions, and help out in any way I could. I first started looking at kops while on the Infrastructure team at my last job. They really helped me get my foot in the door in the Kubernetes community. I can’t thank those guys enough, I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for them. I was able to gain maintainer status after a few months of working on kops.
My role as a maintainer has followed me to my new job at Deis, where I am lucky enough to get to work on open source full-time: something that is very important to me as an engineer. I am so lucky to get to work on a tool I love, and also get paid for it as well. I honestly think I have the best job in the world.
Being a maintainer is a lot of work and responsibility. It also has a lot more to do with maintaining the project for the community than it does with getting commits in the logs.
My tasks include:
I get a few hundred emails a day, and rarely have a full inbox. I have an iPhone 7 Plus, and try to stay up to date with issues on the go. I don’t even want to tell people what I am usually doing when I respond to most issues.
Getting involved with open source has taught me a ton!
"I have found there is always a lot more to an issue if you just spend a few extra minutes to talk to someone and figure out what is going on."
Code reviews. I spend SO much time looking at other people’s code. I try my best to be the best code reviewer I can be, but it gets very hard. Sometimes I will miss a few days of reviewing, and the pull requests can really back up. I’ve found it challenging always being in the mindset that I can review code at any time. It’s easy to just let them pile up, and then tell yourself not to start until you have more free time.
I just love the community too much, I can’t pick just one.
I genuinely enjoy hanging out on Slack at 3AM. I suffer from bad anxiety and usually can’t sleep for any longer than a few hours. When I can’t sleep there is always a very friendly group of users and contributors who are also awake. Most of them live in other countries, so I rarely get to chat with them during the day here in Denver.
Some of my favorite moments are when I am actually in fairly rough shape in the middle of the night, and I get to help people get pull requests merged and issues accepted. I don’t think they realize how much of a favor they are actually doing for me in those moments.
"Some of my favorite moments are when I am actually in fairly rough shape in the middle of the night, and I get to help people get pull requests merged and issues accepted. I don’t think they realize how much of a favor they are actually doing for me in those moments."
Regardless of whether you apply this personally, professionally, or in your Go code: Don’t panic!
Open source is made by people just like you. Learn how to contribute, launch a new project, and build a healthy community of contributors.
Every Friday, invest a few hours contributing to the software you use and love.
Jess Frazelle works on Kubernetes full-time. Previously she maintained Docker, a software containerization platform used by thousands of teams.
Brett Cannon made his first open source contribution more than 15 years ago. Now a Software Engineer at Microsoft, he’s still a core contributor to Python, a project he has contributed to for more than a decade.
When Ariya Hidayat is not a VP of Engineering, he maintains PhantomJS, one of the most popular tools used by companies to write automated integration test for web applicaitons.