On Monday next week I will be welcoming the sixth horseman to the Community Team at Canonical; he will be joining Daniel Holbach, Jorge Castro, David “the man with the plan” Planella, Ahmed Kamal, and myself on our adventure to build a fun, productive, and passionate Ubuntu community.

He is Eric Ward and he will be joining us as the QA Community Coordinator. Eric is based in the USA and will be tasked to refine and continue to grow our Quality Assurance community. He will be looking at what we need to fix in the on-ramp, getting our manual tests in shape, growing our community of testers, building a regular testing cadence, and then interfacing with Daniel and others around how our community of developers can resolve issues highlighted in this testing.

Eric is a smart guy, and we are all excited to work with him. So you can all get to know him a little better, I asked him a few questions about his new role to give you some background:

How did you get involved with open source projects?

Over the years, several projects I have worked on have leveraged open source software (Apache HTTP server, Apache Tomcat) as well as proprietary software (IIS, WebSphere, etc) as part of their development / deployment environments. While working on these various projects, my teammates and I almost always found it easier to find support, documentation, work-arounds and solutions for issues that would crop up during our product release cycles for our open source components versus any of the proprietary components we worked with. These experiences are when I first started to become consciously aware of some of the advantages of open source projects and their communities.

While I was working at Novell they acquired SUSE Linux and I was assigned to help work on the QA efforts for the SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop (SLED). This was my first major exposure to working on an open source project and I had a great time working with engineers like Larry Ewing on the F-Spot component of the project.

From a purely hobbyist stand point, I’ve enjoyed tinkering with mythtv boxes using pcHDTV cards and using dd-wrt on some of my Wi-Fi routers.

How did you get involved in QA?

During college I worked for Novell on a couple of their QA teams. This gave me a great opportunity to wet my appetite and learn about various technologies and processes involved with the software development process. During this time I thoroughly enjoyed setting up the test environments and QAing the products I was responsible for.

So while I’ve always strived to make the products I work on more robust and reliable, what I’ve truly enjoyed about QA work is getting to work with superb engineers, technologies and breaking stuff.

When it is all said and done, it is great feeling to work on products / projects where you can see your contributions and the contributions of your team have improved the lives of people you know as well as countless others that use the product.

What excites you about the role working and working with the community team?

As an avid Regina Spektor, Ingrid Michaelson, Lily Allen and Adele fan, I thought it might be a good idea to expand my horizons and to mingle with a team that has a flair for slightly more heavy metal tunes.

Members of my extended family and I have enjoyed using Ubuntu for our personal computing needs for a couple years now. As such, I am excited to get the chance to make contributions to help improve an already great Linux distribution and community. I’m also really looking forward to getting the chance to play with juju and the cloud technologies that Canonical is working on.

Eric starts on Monday…give him a warm welcome, folks!

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