It has been a while since our last Developer’s Corner blog post. This month, I had the pleasure of talking with Joseph Atkinson (more commonly known by his online alias, “jsa@”), a recent addition to iXsystems’ team of FreeBSD and FreeNAS developers.
Joseph first started using ported UNIX software in the late 90s to make his Windows OS more functional. Eventually he found he was using UNIX bits for everything, as he found it much easier to type commands into the terminal than it was to play hide-and-seek with a UI. Soon, he installed OpenBSD and started using that to host websites for a little side money. In fact, one of those websites was the first ever fansite for the “Nightmare on Elm Street” franchise, Y2Krueger.
A few years later, Joseph got to explore FreeBSD and all it has to offer. Like so many of the developers I talked to before, he liked it for many reasons. FreeBSD gives him an exceptional level of granularity over his work processes and the upgrade system is easy. Joseph soon made the move from OpenBSD to FreeBSD.
As a software developer and BSD enthusiast, Joseph has many varied interests. He is an outspoken fan of the GNOME desktop, and he hopes to eventually get involved in the porting effort for MATE, a forked branch of GNOME 2.x. MATE will retain the level of customization the previous versions of GNOME were known for and also allow users to change, move, add, and /or remove features of the desktop layout.
Joseph also mentioned the development of a DAWS (Digital Audio Work Station) system based around PC-BSD. The idea is to have a usable desktop that balances a lightweight environment with more features and functionality. In Joseph’s past life, he was in a band called “The Carnival Macabre”, and they produced music for film soundtracks. Joseph admits that he never did recover from the bug of working with music as an artistic medium. He eventually wants to set up a GNOME workstation with Ardour, a powerful digital audio workstation which runs on FreeBSD. Once MIDI support is added to FreeBSD, Joseph can work on building a custom digital audio workstation solution that will not only meet his needs but also help aspiring musicians to create music on a low budget.
At iXsystems, Joseph is very much involved with FreeNAS support and development. He enjoys digging into the codebase for FreeNAS, working on smaller, miscellaneous features, and smoothing out some kinks in the plugins framework to make it more user-friendly.
On FreeNAS overall, Joseph acknowledges that “FreeNAS is ambitious, and it is just now starting to see the real fruits of the work that iXsystems put in since it started sponsoring the project.”
Now that FreeNAS 8.2 is released with the plugins framework, Joseph sincerely hopes the user community will help extend the developer team’s efforts in new and exciting ways. He believes that with the support of its users, FreeNAS can transcend from being a storage appliance into a platform for whatever its users want it to be.
Many thanks to Joseph for taking the time out of his busy schedule to share his thoughts. We will definitely be back with more Developer’s Corner blogs in the future!
Lisa Liang Marketing Assistant