It all started naturally, there I was chipping away at piles of code of a legacy core banking system written in Oracle PL/SQL when heartbleed happened.
I was following the news which quickly converged into the same thing, complaining on the quality of the OpenSSL code base. Then by some weird twist of fate I stumbled upon some CVS commits in the OpenBSD project, and lo and behold while everyone was bitching how bad the code is—the OpenBSD team was hard at work putting it into shape.
That was 14th of April 2014, I remember because I posted that to G+.
I really felt connected with that. They were ripping through thousands of lines of legacy code and ripping it out—same thing as I did daily for my last 3 months at work.
I wanted to get involved. I subscribed to the mailing lists and started following the discussions daily. Installed OpenBSD in a qemu instance on my machine and started learning it that way. Not long after, my wife donated her old MSI Wind i386 notebook (she also now runs OpenBSD as her daily driver!) on which I happily installed OpenBSD and started using it as my daily driver outside of work. I also ordered my first OpenBSD CD (5.6).
The first big project I undertook was porting the Otter-browser. I learned a lot from it and it even resulted in some additional patches showing up for qt5. The replies I got on and off list after submitting the port were truly valuable. Each step I took as a newbie validated that my personal beliefs align with the processes and mentality the project adopted.
I continued rolling with snapshots until I got a new laptop in April it was memorable because the built in ethernet card didn’t work out of the box. I was extremely surprised when several developers jumped in, helped diagnose, debug and fix the issue. I remember thinking back then how unrealistic it would be to have core Linux kernel developers work so directly with a user.
I kept porting new things, helped testing diffs and new port submissions. Started running OpenBSD on my server. Ran a bunch of interviews with developers for the 20th anniversary of the project for a Polish news site.
Finally, one day of Febuary 2016 I received an invitation to join the ranks as a developer. Shortly after I attended the g2k16 hackathon—I never learned so much in such a short period of time, the event was simply amazing. Everyone was extremely nice and I knew that's THE community I want to be an active part of.
I continue hacking on OpenBSD whenever I can, most recently by growing a community around gaming on the platform and prior to that with a short project revolving around reading the code daily with a group of people.
You can be sure of one thing, my involvement with the project will only grow with time—as my life runs with OpenBSD.
Find me on Twitter and Mastodon.
My public key is 4096R/092BB571.
10 Aug 2018
Mischa Peters and
Hosted by OpenBSD Amsterdam
Sponsored by netzkommune