• 08 . 01 . 11
  • Open source projects have immeasurably changed the world and my life for the better. With no formal employment for the bulk of 2011, I pledge to give time and effort to people that need help, and projects that inspire me.

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Giving Back: My 2011 Manifesto

New Year’s resolutions are made to be broken, but as this is a week after the fact, perhaps I have a better chance.

The open source world has enriched my life significantly, both professionally, in providing the databases, languages, operating systems and IDEs that are my livelihood, and personally, in providing communications tools, entertainment and even this blogging platform. Over the course of my career, I’ve tried to give back to these communities, both in time and code submissions, and I’ve contributed in some small way to a number of projects. The challenging nature of my recent full-time employment has unfortunately meant that more recently I’ve only been able to do this in limited ways.

With my impending hiatus and upcoming travels, I hope to have more time to dedicate to the various online communities I follow. This might be through forums such as stackoverflow where I’ve received answers to numerous difficult questions, or simply helping people in chatrooms. It might be answering questions on Quora. It will certainly involve code contributions, though to which projects I’m not sure. No deed is entirely selfless, and regular development will ensure I stay sharp and widen my employment opportunities, but primarily this is about passion for development, which I’m certain I couldn’t live without for any length of time. I’m very excited about CouchDB, which would also develop my capabilities in Erlang. I value Zend Framework very highly, which would deepen my expertise in PHP. Perhaps it will be both, or others instead. But as the new year begins, I will make this my manifesto – that I will give back to those people and projects that have made my life, and many others’ lives better.

My job title from January 22nd – Open Source Contributor.

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