Hack Week Engineer Spotlight: Duncan Mac-Vicar
The SUSE Hack Week spotlights continue! Learn more about today’s feature engineer.
SUSE Director, Data Center Management Dept, R&D
Q: Good to chat with you Duncan! Tell me a little about your background.
A: I am the Director of the Data Center Management Department; R&D at SUSE, responsible for various teams working on several SUSE products, add-ons and services, all of them around Systems Management and Mission Critical Applications.
I was born and raised in Chile. After finishing my Engineering studies and given the fact that I was already spending most of my time contributing to open-source software, I decided to do it full time and joined SUSE in Germany (11 years ago), now working professionally during the day with the same guys I was working remotely across the ocean as a hobby at nights :-).
When I am not doing nerd stuff on my laptop, I spend time with my family and my half of the domestic tasks (e.g. cooking). I also play guitar in an amateur Spanish pop/rock band.
Q: Very cool! Quite talented indeed. So this week is Hack Week at SUSE. What project(s) are you working on?
A: Giving that SUSE is growing and we have lot of new colleagues, I am trying to use Salt to automatically setup new employee’s workstation (account, VPN, email, calendar, mumble, chat, etc). From there I spun off a project to re-use SUSE Manager Salt formulas forms in YaST, and from there I plan to do some enhancements to the Terraform libvirt plugin, which I wrote last year with the help of some colleagues and contributors.
Q: Why do you feel these sort of projects and Hack Week, in general, are important?
A: Everyone benefits from Hackweek differently. I think it tackles collaboration, training/personal growth, innovation and business needs at the same time.
Lot of Hackweek happens in conversations (even in the kitchen), asking questions and showing work in progress. Coding is just another bit. People look for each other, build bridges and learn things that either make their work more efficient or expand their views.
In my experience, tackling biggish ideas with several stake-holders is something I don’t find is particularly optimal in a daily business situation. Hackweek allows me to bring the concept/prototype a bit further to the demo stage, which makes it easier to convince others, get input and drive it forward.
Q: With that in mind and considering that SUSE is the open “OPEN” company, what exactly does “open” mean to you?
A: There are many views on “open”. I like the one of working in the “open” so that I can learn and also give the opportunity for others to learn. I love understanding how something works and getting inspiration from others.
Q: You’ve been in this field for quite some time with a large majority of it spent with SUSE. What is the coolest project you’ve worked on?
A: Integrating Spacewalk with Salt was a fun project with the biggest outcome. I had a lot of fun working with Pablo on rollbacks and Docker image building with Salt. Lot of material for future product releases from there. The Terraform libvirt plugin is probably the one that resulted most useful for other people.
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