Introducing Community Day

Every employee of Equinox has shown a desire to go above and beyond their normal work duties and pitch in with community efforts.  They assist in creating and maintaining the online presence of various open source projects. They help new community members that want to come up to speed. They create and curate significant amounts of end-user documentation and are ever willing to assist anyone with a question in IRC and on the mailing lists.  In short, because of these and all the other community efforts too varied and numerous to list here, they exemplify what I believe is the heart of an Open Source community, and I can’t overstate how proud I am to work with such an amazing group of folks.

As you might imagine, this is the sort of behavior that we want to encourage both here at Equinox and at any other organization that would choose to get involved in Open Source.  So, to that end, we have started a new tradition at Equinox: Community Day.  Once a month we will be setting aside an entire day during which every employee is encouraged to contribute to purely community-focused efforts.

For many of us, that will have significant overlap with what we do, day to day, already.  For instance, three of the last four Evergreen release managers work here, along with the current Koha release manager (in his second term in that role), and Equinox staff produce a significant portion of the bug fixes and new features for both Evergreen and Koha.  We created all of FulfILLment, and we’re learning how to contribute more to Koha, both directly and tangentially through our Evergreen work.

September 12, this past Thursday, was our inaugural Community Day effort, and it was a rousing success.  Here are some specific accomplishments:

  • Erica Rolfs, from whom many of you have received some excellent training, verified bugs 949101 and 795564, and tested and commented on bugs 1157932, 720355 and 954107

  • Angela Kilsdonk, our head of educational services , and Jason Etheridge, head of support and Staff Client developer extraordinaire, collaborated on a fix for bug 1093856

  • Steve Callender, support engineer to the stars, provided a fix for bug 979933

  • Shae Tetterton, migration project manager, added notes to bugs 954107 and 1195428, and confirmed that bugs 1195428 and 1175711 still occur in version 2.4.2

  • Mike Tate, servant of the secret Ganeti fire and wielder of the flame of Anor, published several Nagios plugins we have developed over the years, and collaborated with Anoop Atre to improve the log-based stats collector for Evergreen

  • Grace Dunbar, VP and development project manager, tested and documented several FulfILLment interfaces

  • Lebbeous Fogle-Weekley, senior developer and current official cleaner-upper-after-mike’s-code, tested and merged fixes for bugs 1184655, 1218446 and 856688

  • Bill Erickson, cleaner-upper-after-mike’s-code emeritus and lord of all Evergreen (really, take a look at the stats on Ohloh), and I collaborated on a new IO::Multiplex-based Net::Server personality for the SIPServer project intended to significantly reduce resource requirements of large SIP2 installations with Evergreen and, I hope, Koha in the relatively near future

  • Galen Charlton, master integrator and comfy chair operator (nobody expects him!), did some non-code work and shepherded Equinox through the KohaCon sponsorship process for this year’s conference

We plan to publish a summary like this after each Community Day. Most of the names above may not be familiar to many in the Evergreen and Koha communities, which is a bit of a shame.  Every day, though, these are some of the folks working behind the scenes, most without public acknowledgement, to make Evergreen, Koha and FulfILLment stronger, faster, better.  I know other organizations have their own quiet heroes working to improve things for the whole of the library Open Source world, and I would encourage them to highlight those accomplishments.

As for Equinox, it goes without saying that the company wouldn’t be what it is without such awesome employees, and we’re glad to be able to set aside community-only time allowing them to contribute even more for the benefit of all.