Glider Awards: Congratulations to the winners

There’s a cliché which says that only bad systems administrators are known while good ones are invisible for the rest of the team. No-one remembers sysadmins when everything is running smoothly, the only thing you’re concerned with is the person in charge of maintaining servers up-to-date when everything fails. Aware that within a development team there are “invisible men” for the rest of the team, we decided to reserve one of the Glider Awards for Negonation employees in order to compensate them if this were necessary. Interestingly enough, it was not necessary to resort to that option since the collaborators themselves recognized the work of our sysadmin: José Gordo. I am proud to say that it is a pleasure to work with the best sysadmin that I have ever known. I could use all this post to talk about his tasks: server contracts, DNS administration, SSL certificates, software installation, backups, capistrano deployment scripts, security updates, and monitoring of the development and production environments, all of which he does skillfully. But if I had to highlight a single piece of work it would be the fine-tuning of the production server. We had decided to hire a dedicated server with a pre-installed CentOS and we decided to migrate it to the Ubuntu Server. Since we did not have physical access to the server, an operator was needed to intervene. The cost was prohibitive and it did not ensure the desired results, so we decided to transplant the operating system. Basically, José did an open-heart transformation of CentOS into a Ubuntu Server and added RAID support, taking advantage of the server’s two discs. To appreciate the complicated operation, you should take into account the fact that the network environment has to be operational throughout the process: a single fault and we would not be able to enter the machine. Instead of simply crossing his fingers, he installed a replica of the environment of a virtual machine in a computer to which he had physical access and repeated the operation several times until making sure that the technique worked. Finally, the same procedure was made in the production environment in a completely satisfactory way.

Another winner was Juanse Pérez, one of the project’s oldest collaborators. His task in the last few months has also been one of the most invisible for the rest of the team. He has focused on two issues: document comparison, and the creation of Tractis’s entire internationalization infrastructure. Although there are still some details to complete in the latter, the work has been excellent. We are now able to generate gettext’s .PO and .MO files and upload them to our translation application, pootle, with barely any effort. That task, which I first thought was very tedious, is solved with a few actions by the developer thanks to his work. This and his willingness to collaborate in any task at critical times have been a determining factor for the award.

The third winner was Ernesto Jiménez, our guru in Javascript, DHTML and AJAX. He’s in charge of the current editor and of the many visual effects in contract edition and has also worked on more or less experimental issues such as liveclipboard. As we stated in previous posts, we are working on a new editor in order to provide a better experience to users; in any case, his work and willingness have been justly rewarded by his colleagues.

Lastly, though he has not received an award, a special mention goes to David Calavera, one of the latest to join the project. Despite the short period he has been with us, his work has been essential on both the client and server sides. His willingness and the speed with which he has adapted at a difficult time have been evaluated.

By Manolo Santos
Saved in: Announcements, Glider, Tractis | 2 comments » | 14 August 2006

2 comments in “Glider Awards: Congratulations to the winners”

[...] The first edition was very hard-fought and this one promises to be even more so. Unfortunately we can only give 3 prizes. If we gave one to everyone who deserves it, we’d have a big overdraft! [...]

[...] The first lucky one with a prize of 1000€ and chosen unanimously by his colleagues is Ernesto Jiménez, who was also honoured in the first edition. I’ve found it very hard to write this part, since it’s complicated to list his achievements given that he touches everything. He has been responsible for much of the ‘cleaning’ that is being done inside Tractis, principally adding helpers to unify the user interface and simplify tasks for the designers. However, lately his work has shifted to the resdesign of the Tractis architecture. His colleagues have also emphasised his proactivity when the brown stuff hits the fan! If you need a programmer awake at 5 in the morning, he’s your man. In fact, right now, while I’m writing this post, he’s pestering me on GTalk. [...]

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