Hack Week Engineer Spotlight: Stephan Kulow
Check out our day 4 SUSE Hack Week engineer and stay tuned for more features!
Project Manager ‘Platform’
Q: Hello Stephan! Let’s jump right into it. Tell me all about you, your role at SUSE, your background…
A: Hi Ruby. I work for SUSE as Project Manager ‘Platform’, which basically means I don’t manage specific products, but handle the bottle with the oil that keeps the SUSE machine running. I came to SUSE as KDE release manager to become the openSUSE release manager and helped splitting the openSUSE distribution into openSUSE Tumbleweed and openSUSE Leap. After the successful launch of both I moved on to concentrate boosting the adoption of openQA within SUSE.
I’m father of two wonderful kids – my son is 9 and my daughter is 6 and my main hobby is them, but I like hacking things in my spare time too. I gave once a hackweek special presentation about stuff I did – from building a 3D Printer (which went uncool since I started with it, damn!) to creating a big Star Trek puzzle for my living room using plastique beads.
Q: I’m a big Star Trek fan and that sounds like a pretty cool project! Which leads to my next question: what project(s) are you working on for Hack Week?
A: For this hackweek I do something that is rather unsexy to outsiders: I’m analysing a 300GB old database with every open source software license we ever reviewed and migrate it to a more modern system to solve some scalability issues we ran into. This process is part of the platform my title refers to, but hackweek is a good spot to turn it off and work on optimizing it. While this task is not really bringing many merits, the job itself deserves a double episode of CSI: Cyber 😉
Q: Other than being able to tackle pretty cool projects that interest you, what do you like most about Hack Week?
A: And this is I guess the best about hackweek: we can do things that make sense to us without anyone else judging if it makes sense to them. Sometimes there are surprises coming out of this, sometimes dramatic failures that still prove to be a great learning experience. Which is very typical for open source development, so it’s very good that SUSE respects this aspect at least from time to time – while most of the time we try to avoid failures obviously. And we’re even proud of producing failures – otherwise we would hide http://hackweek.suse.com from the outside and only pick the successes 🙂
Q: Since you mentioned surprises and difficulties, what do you feel is the most difficult project you’ve worked on?
A: Most difficult project I’ve worked on is a tough one. There have been so many interesting projects – in and out of hackweek. But to limit this to hackweek projects of mine (wow, it’s been quite some hackweeks meanwhile 🙂 I would think merging the two rails applications that formed the Open Build Service into one was pretty complicated (especially getting it presentable within a week).
But also the sound comparison tool I did to test sound output in automated tests was more difficult than what it looks like.
Q: What’s your secret talent?
A: My secret talent is not so secret to the guys in the office: when I sneeze, the other side of the building can hear it. That’s pretty unique here 🙂