Doing Little Creates A Major Difference Part-1
Jerome S.G is a 32 year old FOSS developer from the Philippines contributing to projects like Edubuntu and Ubuntu. "I excel best developing new stuff using FOSS instead of simply maintaining it, not because it doesn't pay good but because I have a passion for innovation and FOSS leverages me that flexibility. I would have never known where I would be if I hadn't started hacking code 10 years back when I got involved with FOSS while working for a Semi-Conductor Company.
His real inspiration, "My mother has also been an inspiration, she bought me a Zaurus PDA for my birthday due to my interest in tinkering technology and it came from the US and i still pay taxes for it but i really loved to flash it and play with its software like Open Zaurus and i fiddled with its firmware. I actually started modifying its interfaces and got a lot of appraisal from the Zaurus software development community. The PDA just died out but still Google carries information about how i converted and localized software to Japanese and Kanji and the Japanese developers involved with that were really pleased with my contributions."
More hardware means more fun for Jerome, "I got free hardware from the Zaurus community in Japan, 2 units of Zauras PDAs that was pretty new and radical back then, it was pretty slick. But since SHARP the manufacturer was not interested in supporting it, the community was just depressed and slowly withered away. My real passion is that I like to make people happy not only inside my country but also outside, I really feel happy about it.
Inspiration comes from home, "My wife supports my FOSS efforts and she believes i can excel in it as I can make a big impact either on people's lives as well as on myself. Even if you do small things, you always get big rewards even if you have no big expectations. So I moved from the Semi Conductor company to do new things instead of just maintaining code. I started using FOSS again in a new dimension. Although Microsoft Servers provide good stuff but still I don't like their abstractions and what they do with software code. I started with Red Hat Enterprise Linux RHEL since Red Hat was really catching on and bandwidth was increasing in my country and it was a good sign for helping people do innovative things. I had both high bandwidth at office and home. My managers also supported me doing some crazy stuff and I started doing innovative things with software".
Opening up to the world, "I have used IRC to talk and learn about new people and get into new stuff. I found the community where I could fit in. PHP was getting hot back then and I met a French guy exploring PHP on the channels and I started exploring technology with him introducing him to a new technology like blogs since they were just catching on. He praised me for introducing him to blogs and later on with his continued interest, his team's project B2 eventually became WordPress. This was French developer Michele Valdereni. I said check this link out and he benefited, now ruling the blogging world! I still talk to him when we get the chance and we recall old times.
Cheap Bandwidth, "It really makes a whole of difference when you receive the opportunity to explore and learn from content on the Internet. You should have that quality too for learning otherwise you would just waste your time online like the newer generation instead of being actually good and productive both for yourself and the world around you. The reason why I have a interest about technology is because I apply alternative ways to my work. I used WordPress, PHP Nuke or related tools doing customization with them and when I left the company where I worked, they were unable to replace me and my code when i left, they still run all the hardware and software I had provided them and I really value the work i do".
"A lot of people in the west may not even realize but we have a mobile infrastructure even better than them like Philippines has low cost 3G technology and high speed Mobile DSL Bandwidth for US$1 for 3 hours. It may seem a bit expensive but still when you do FOSS work and make a difference doing remote server administration, it does makes a bit difference. We have a prepaid culture that makes entry barriers very cheap. Today in the Digital Age, any place without low-cost bandwidth is like the stone age and very backward in technology."
author: Fouad Bajwa