Matthew: What do you do on the Launchpad team?
Brad: I work on the Registry team. We handle everything to do with people and teams, projects, series, milestones, and user communications, such as mailing lists.
Matthew: Can we see something in Launchpad that you’ve worked on?
Brad: I do a lot of behind-the-scenes work. The most prominent new feature I did, with my colleagues Edwin Grubbs and Elliot Murphy, was implement the Atom feeds. Trivially, I also set up the launchpadbugs account on Twitter which a lot of folks have found very handy.
Matthew: Where do you work?
Brad: I work from my home near Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
Matthew: What can you see from your office window?
Brad: I have a nice office on the second floor of my house and have my desk in front of a large window looking out onto the woods. I rigged up a pulley system so I have a large bird feeder in a tree about 25 feet off the ground where I get a lot of gold finches and other small birds. Lately a pileated woodpecker has been visiting almost daily. A while back I was surprised to see this guy lurking near the feeder.
Matthew: What did you do before working at Canonical?
Brad: I worked for a company that made a cryptography acceleration chip for doing crazy fast random number generation and making SSL and IPSec negotiations and bulk encryption speedy. I spent a lot of my time deep in the OpenSSL code, which is a dark, twisty place.
Matthew: How did you get into free software?
Brad: All of my previous work has depended on Linux, open source libraries, and the GNU toolchain so I knew a lot about it and was able to move into the world quite easily when I started with Canonical.
Matthew: What’s more important? Principle or pragmatism?
Brad: It’s not an either/or question for me. You’ve got to get the job done (pragmatism) but within a reasonable framework that will best serve yourself and your users in the long run (principle). In some situations the stakes are so high you can’t afford to compromise on the principles even slightly.
Matthew: Do you/have you contribute(d) to any free software projects?
Brad: I’ve contributed through the years to various projects I use by sending in code patches, filing bugs, and doing some documentation work. I have not yet gotten directly involved in any major projects but hope to do so soon.
Matthew: Tell us something really cool about Launchpad that not enough people know about.
Brad: Launchpad was built to support the development of Ubuntu and the open source ecosystem — everyone knows that. What a lot of people don’t know is that commercial or closed source projects can also use Launchpad. Since they aren’t directly giving back to the open source world we do ask they contribute to our operating costs by purchasing an annual commercial-use subscription. People can email me if they have questions or need help getting started.
Matthew: Which lens would you save from a house fire?
Brad: Of all of my lenses my favorite is actually the least expensive — a Nikkor 50mm/f1.4 — it’s incredibly sharp and produces an amazing bokeh. But in the event of a fire I’d ignore the equipment, it’s all insured and replaceable, and grab my 2Tb RAID drive that has my photos. (This reminds me I need to flesh out my off-site backup solution…)
Matthew: Okay, Kiko‘s special question! You’re at your computer, you reach for your wallet: what are you most likely to be doing?
Paying to run our test suite on ec2, of course!
Matthew: Ah, of course 🙂 Thanks Brad!