Monday, November 25, 2013

Faces of FreeBSD - Gabor Pali

Faces of FreeBSD

Each week we are going to share a story from someone involved in FreeBSD. This is our Faces of FreeBSD series. It may be a story from someone who’s received funding from us to work on development projects, run conferences, travel to conferences, or advocate for FreeBSD. Or, it may be from someone who contributes financially to the foundation.

Here’s a chance to get to know your fellow FreeBSD enthusiast. Sit back and enjoy another 2013 Faces of FreeBSD story.

Gábor’s Story

My name is Gábor Páli, I am 31 years old, from Hungary, and I teach (and study) functional programming at the Eötvös Loránd University, Faculty of Informatics (Budapest).  I have a master’s degree (Debrecen, Hungary) and a doctorate (Cluj-Napoca, Romania) in Computer Science.

Before this I was a game engine programmer at Invictus Games, working on Project Torque (known as Level-R outside North America), then a research intern at Chalmers University of Technology (Gothenburg, Sweden), and recently at the Computer Laboratory (Cambridge, UK), participating in research projects on functional programming and operating systems, such as Feldspar and Mirage.

When not working, I am an average geek who enjoys reading books on science, philosophy, and art, chatting with friends, playing good old computer games, watching art movies, drawing, listening to underground music, and consuming excessive amounts of fine Japanese or Chinese teas.

I discovered FreeBSD in 2000 while working on my master’s. I met János Háber, who admired the technical merits of FreeBSD and recommended it over the popular and widespread GNU/Linux distributions. I downloaded FreeBSD 4.3-RELEASE, found it reliable, consistent, easy to install, update and use. I especially liked the Ports Collection, as it helped me find further useful and valuable free software.

I’ve contributed to the FreeBSD Project since 2008: I translated the complete FreeBSD Handbook and other documentation into Hungarian and took over and revitalized the FreeBSD stack of the Haskell programming language, including making FreeBSD Tier-1 for the Glasgow Haskell Compiler and providing ports for hundreds of third party Haskell libraries. 

I volunteered to take over organization of the EuroBSDcon FreeBSD Developer Summits in 2010 and have organized in Karlsruhe (Germany), Maarssen (Netherlands), Warsaw (Poland) and most recently in St. Julian's (Malta).  I’ve run a mini version of EuroBSDcon, called BSD-Day, in Budapest (Hungary), Bratislava (Slovakia), Vienna (Austria), and Naples (Italy).

I’m secretary of the FreeBSD Core Team (since 2012), and maintain the agenda, organize meetings, publish internal, external reports and notices, handle commit bit requests for the source code repository, collaborate with the FreeBSD Foundation, and remind the Core Team members about their pending tasks. I also manage the quarterly status reports.

I like FreeBSD because of the community, and the ability to find and push my limits. I enjoy contributing to FreeBSD because it inspires me and gives me hands-on experience that can’t be bought. I enjoy learning from FreeBSD experts around the globe, and am impressed with what has been achieved over the years. I recognize the outstanding stability and reliability of FreeBSD, the ability to configure systems to maximize efficiency, and FreeBSD’s use as a research platform. I appreciate how the FreeBSD Project welcomes and utilizes innovative ideas.

The FreeBSD Foundation gave me a travel grant for EuroBSDcon 2012. They were a main sponsor of the BSD-Day events, and covered half the cost of the Developer Summit in Malta. I am very grateful for this support, as they would not be possible without the generous funds.

The Developer Summits allow developers the space to personally meet and to discuss issues they could not over the Internet. It’s important to be able to attach a face to an Internet personality; sometimes the harshest, stubborn members are the nicest people in real life.

The BSD-Day events that I organize allow cities and countries to have their own BSD conference at a much smaller cost. BSD-Days have less formalities and pressure, yet they retain most of the traditions and ambience of the large conferences of EuroBSDcon, on a smaller budget.

Donating to the FreeBSD Foundation is a great way to express your appreciation for the work of the FreeBSD Project.  Your donation makes it possible for developers to dedicate their time to complete long-awaited projects, or brings developers from overseas to technical conferences such as EuroBSDcon. This is something that would not happen without your support.

Gábor Páli

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