Following on from last weeks first interview with Nicola Iarocci, we continue in our interview again in Italy and talk to Flavio Percoco. There are currently 10 EMEA Masters here and each come from various backgrounds and have different skill sets in development and in MongoDB.
Me: Who are you, what do you do and where are you based?
Flavio: I’m a completely workaholic, passioned geek currently working remotely for Red Hat, Inc. where I spend most of my time hacking on OpenStack – mostly on Glance, Cinder, Oslo and Marconi. I’ve both Italian and Venezuelan roots, and I’m currently based in Lake of Como, Italy. I’m also an actively open-source contributor and part of Mongodb Masters group.
Prior to Red Hat, I worked on Big Data oriented applications, search engines and message systems. I was also an active member of Gnome’s a11y team where I contributed to Orca and created MouseTrap, a head-tracker application. Outside Red Hat I like to take pictures, swim, travel, hang around with family and friends and whatever seems interesting.
Me: How did you get involved in open source?
Flavio: I got involved in Open Source since I started using a computer. I remember myself struggling with Red Hat’s installation long time ago and running my first commands. That moment changed my point of view about computers and software. I then started reading, contributing and learning from it. I’ve changed distribution many times and I’ve been part of many different communities where I’ve had the pleasure to share whatever seems relevant with other people. I guess this is what I like the most about Open Source, communities, sharing and learning. I believe there are gazillions of amazing brains out there waiting to work together and I believe this is they way to do it.
Me: How did you get involved in MongoDB?
Flavio: I started using Mongodb since its version 1.1 and at the time I got to know it, we started looking at how to migrate our really huge, relational, django based application to something based on NoSQL technologies and more precisely, MongoDB. I started contributing to pymongo, then MongoKit and ended up writing django-mongodb-engine – which added mongodb support to django. I also started attending to mongodb conferences around the world and getting more and more involved in the community.
Me: What do you do as a MongoDB Master?
Flavio: I keep contributing to MongoDB as much as possible, I try to promote its features and to contribute on fixing things that don’t work that well. I created mongodb’s Italian mailing list, I attend to as many conferences as possible and talk about it. I’m also developing new technologies on top of it – Marconi, for example – which are completely different to what I was working on when I used mongodb the first time. The later allows me to explore new areas where Mongodb could be used and perhaps be improved.
Me: How did you become a Master?
Flavio: What made me a Master was my constant presence in conferences, my interested for the project, my contributions to the community – either by coding or being there for others in the m-l / channel. All that not just allowed me to help others, it also helped me to get to know the product way better and how its community worked. Being a Master is not about knowing all the secret sauces of Mongodb, it’s about contributing to it in any way. Something I like very much about MongoDB is its community, how it’s build, the people leading it and how easy it is to become part of it.
Me: What one thing would you like to promote in MongoDB that nobody knows about but you think is beneficial to people!
Flavio: GridFS. This is a very cool Mongodb’s feature and not many people talk about it. It’s not rock science but, its implementation allows people to do many interesting things and gives them a distributed filesystem with the same scaling capabilities, for free. I’ve used it myself many times in applications like photo galleries, audio storage, monblog – a blog engine – which are perfect use cases for GridFS. A cool thing about it is that you can query the files – and chunks – collection – as any other collection – and store custom data as well. This allows users to do things like avoiding duplication, creating file pointers, fast file sorting among other things.