Introducing the systems team summer intern
I was first introduced to free software three years ago in the introductory computer science course at Grinnell College, Iowa. The quality of a wide range of programs installed on the GNU/Linux machines made such a strong impression on me that I immediately became an avid user of free software. At first, however, I did not quite comprehend the advantages of free software beyond its immediate usefulness — I merely saw that there were plenty of useful programs available at no cost. Gradually I have come to understand the free software philosophy, and now appreciate that the usefulness is a consequence of freedom, which is at the essence of the free software movement.
This internship gives me a very unique chance to contribute back to the free software community in return for all the benefits free software has brought me thus far.
Upon my arrival at the end of May, I immediately plunged into learning more about Xen and Puppet, two very important free software tools we use to organize our network at the FSF. Later this summer, I hope to harness Puppet's power to deal with more repetitive tasks such as user account creation, which will save time for tasks which cannot be automated. In the meantime, however, I am in the process of updating the FSF shop so that it will run on the latest version of Satchmo (a Django application for creating and customizing online stores).
After the fairly smooth installation of the necessary dependencies of Django and Satchmo on the development virtual machine, migrating data from our current database to the new database has proved to be the greatest challenge in this process. Fortunately, I have been able to rely on the guidance and advice of my mentors -- Ward, Peabo and Bernie, each of whom has provided me with valuable support in navigating the intricacies of this project. Once the data migration is complete, I will only need to make a few customizations and configurations to get our new instance of the FSF Shop up and running. At the end of this arduous process, the experience of both customers and administrators of the FSF Shop will be visibly improved.
I am looking forward to the second half of my internship with much anticipation and with readiness to tackle the challenges that await me in the following weeks.