Max Kanat Alexander

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Brief Bio Edit

I started contributing to the Mozilla Project as a bug triager in 2002. In 2004 I started to use Bugzilla as an administrator, and I am now one of the two primary developers of Bugzilla. Technically I am the Release Manager and Assistant Project Leader for the Bugzilla Project.

I also am the author of, the Perl module VCI, the Bugzilla plugin for supybot (which is "bugbot" on GNOME and Mozilla's IRC, and "buggbot" on FreeNode), and a bunch of other stuff.

I make a living mostly doing Bugzilla customizations with my company Everything Solved, Inc.

Skills Edit

  • Online: Well, I type 120 words per minute. That's pretty much all you need, online. :-)
  • Open Source: Along with the other Bugzilla Assistant Project Leader, I've been managing the Bugzilla community and development for several years now. I also became fairly involved in the Perl community for a while, and I write, which is a pretty popular support site for Fedora. I've learned a lot over the years about how to revive a dead open source project.
  • Programming: I've done a ridiculous amount of this. I once started a project to refactor awstats and I did 6000 lines of changes by myself in about 11 days (though it might have been fewer days, I might have taken some days off). And that was refactoring a 10,000 line file, not just raw code writing. I wrote or reviewed most modern Bugzilla code, including the WebServices, Database, mod_perl, and Installation sections of the code. I can write professionally in (X)HTML, CSS, JavaScript, ANSI SQL, PHP, Perl, Python, and can read/write C/C++, Java, ColdFusion, Ruby, and probably a lot of other languages that I'm not remembering right now. I also probably have more experience refactoring a really messy shipping application than just about anybody out there.
  • Databases: I'm pretty expert at PostgreSQL and MySQL. I'm also fairly good with SQLite, MS SQL Server, and I'm learning quite a bit about Oracle at the moment (since Bugzilla is going to support it in our next release).
  • Software Process: As a Bugzilla consultant, I've seen and worked with a lot of process stuff, and I know pretty well what works and what doesn't.
  • Version Control: VCI, which I wrote, is a module that abstracts away access to version control systems, which means I learned a lot about CVS, Subversion, Mercurial, Bazaar, and Git while I was writing it, and I can give an interesting overview of the different systems, particularly from an API standpoint.
  • Teaching: I've done a lot of technical training and writing.
  • System Administration: For years I was a Windows sysadmin, now I do a lot of Linux work, and I can also do Mac OS X stuff.

What I Hope To Share at FOSSCoach Edit

  • Anything you want to know about Bugzilla. There are three tracks I can do: Users, Administrators, and Group Security for Administrators.
  • How to bring an open source project back from the dead. Before Bugzilla 2.18, Bugzilla was nearly dead. Myself and a few others came on the scene and did several things over the years that have really made a huge difference in our community and the success of Bugzilla in general.
  • Porting applications across different databases.
  • Refactoring But Still Shipping -- We majorly refactored Bugzilla between 2.18 and 3.0, and yet we had two releases in between, 2.20 and 2.22.

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