Linux Foundation SysAdmin Clint Savage Reminisces on Weeklong Hackfest

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This is the fourth profile in a series on Linux Foundation system administrators leading up to SysAdmin Day. Do you have a super-hero sysadmin you'd like to recognize? Send your nomination to  editors@linux.com by July 25 and enter them to win a free ticket to LinuxCon and CloudOpen North America taking place in Chicago August 20-22, 2014. (See the full contest announcement for more details.)

Clint-Savage sysadmin LFClint Savage is a system administrator for the Linux Foundation's Collaborative Projects. Here he discusses the new technologies he's been digging into lately, his favorite part of the job, and fond memories of a weeklong hackfest with his coworkers.

Linux.com: How long have you been a sys admin?

Clint Savage: I started working on Linux systems in 1998, but really started doing systems administration in 2006.

When did you start at the Linux Foundation and how did you get the job?

I applied for the job after deciding that traveling with a young child would be difficult as my previous job had me traveling around 25-30 weeks a year. I believe I was contacted by a recruiter in June. I applied in July, had several interviews and a successful technical test. I was hired in mid-August, 2012, and started two days before LinuxCon. My first duties were to attend LinuxCon that year in San Diego.

What do you do for the Linux Foundation? What's your specialty?

I am a systems administrator for the Collaborative Projects. My specialty is core systems. I'm the guy that builds virtual machines, maintains our authentication systems and does identity management (read FreeIPA). I also focus on our puppet tooling and git repositories for Code Aurora Forum and other collaborative projects.

Will you describe a typical day at work for you?

My typical day starts with me making sure customers have what they need to do their jobs. I tend to focus on a few tickets each day, then work on projects to improve our infrastructure. Lately, I've been digging a bit into CoreOS and Docker. We're working to create a new build infrastructure for Jenkins and Gerrit on Google's Compute Engine (GCE) using these technologies.

What's your favorite part of the job/ thing to do and why?

I love the flexibility of working from home. I tend to work a few hours in the morning, take time with my family around lunch time and then work into the evening. My family is typically around me all day and I love feeling involved in their lives and still being able to get work done.

What is your favorite sysadmin tool and how do you use it?

Hmm, there are so many to choose. I think I'll go with something command line-ish. I love 'ctrl+r' on a bash command line, using the 'emacs' value of the SHELLOPTS environment variable.

What's your favorite story about working at the Linux Foundation?

In April of 2013, I attended the Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit in San Francisco. We had a company-wide event the day after the summit ended, which was quite fun. I really enjoyed meeting everyone that week. I really felt part of the team. The interesting thing was that we had intended to attend the Summit and work on migration of services for Code Aurora Forum (CAF) that week. It turned into a big hackfest that lasted all through Summit. We then had the one day off for the company event, followed by a flight to Portland for more work, both at the data center and hacking.

I really got to know my coworkers that week, they are all dedicated souls who spent nearly 18 hours each day that week to ensure our customers got the best experience possible. I'd say that was my defining week so far at The Linux Foundation. I've never found myself worrying about anything because I can always rely on someone on the team to be there with a possible solution. That is, if I can't figure it out myself. :)

What do you do for fun, in your spare time?

Lately, I've been spending an inordinate amount of time learning about solar power and living off the grid. I won't say that I'm going to go that way yet. But after building a portable solar swamp cooler, I just want to build a tiny house on a trailer and travel the country in a little house on wheels. The rest of the time, I tend to read a lot of graphic novels, programming something useful, or spending time with my kids. I think this year I'll start camping a bit more again, too.

Read more about Linux Foundation System Administrators:

Linux Foundation SysAdmin Konstantin Ryabitsev, an SELinux Expert

Linux Foundation SysAdmin Michael Halstead's IT Career Started at Age 15

Linux Foundation SysAdmin Andy Grimberg Loves New Tech and Snowboarding

To Linux Foundation SysAdmin Ryan Day, Elegance is the Best Tool