Simon Chopin | Core Dev Application

This application normally belongs on the Ubuntu wiki, but current circumstances led me to create here instead. See this ML thread. I figured this subcategory was the most appropriate, given that Core Dev is a special form of Ubuntu Membership :slight_smile:.


STATUS: Draft


I, Simon Chopin, apply for core-dev.

Name: Simon Chopin
Launchpad Page: https://launchpad.net/~schopin

I am applying because

  • As part of the Foundations team, a lot of my work deals with the main component of the archive
  • I’d like to eliminate delays in getting my work sponsored
  • I’d like to reduce the burden on my sponsors

Who I am

I am a software engineer hailing from Brittany, France, currently employed by Canonical within the Foundations team. When I’m not working on the internals of Ubuntu as part of my dayjob, you’ll usually find me playing either music or videogames, both of which usually involve fiddling with my computer setup.

My Ubuntu story

My involvement

As part of the Foundations team, my area of impact includes language toolchains, bootloaders, installer, and other core components of the system. I’ve touched a rather wide range of packages, mostly C libraries and utilities, but my main involvements are netplan development, the Rust toolchain and OpenSSL packaging, for which I’ve driven the transition to version 3.0.

Examples of my work / Things I’m proud of

Areas of work

During the 22.04 development cycle, as part of my role within Foundations I’ve cooperated with multiple teams (e.g. Desktop, Server, Security…), notably due to my OpenSSL work. My involvement in Netplan development also gave me the opportunity to work with people from the Ubuntu Core team.

Things I could do better

Besides attention to details, I feel like I lack decisiveness and should also communicate more effectively both within the developer community and with the broader Ubuntu community.

Plans for the future

General

Keep working on the same areas of the archive, and keep sponsoring teammate’s uploads (was universe only so far, which represents a limited amount of Foundation’s activity).

What I like least in Ubuntu

Documentation is all over the place, with little discoverability and a ton of outdated documents mentioning things like bzr as primary tool for package maintenance. Likewise, tooling is very disparate, some teams using git-ubuntu, others gbp-based repos, and others without any definite tooling (e.g. Foundations…)


Please leave comments and endorsements as replies to this post.

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General feedback

I have been Simon’s mentor after he joined the Ubuntu Foundations team last year. Due to his prior experience as a Debian Maintainer, Simon didn’t need a lot of mentoring wrt. distro work, but was able to cooperate with the developer community on #ubuntu-devel in a very transparent and engaged way from the very start! He showed a great learning ability too as he got into the netplan codebase in no time, cranking out high quality pull requests, refactoring core parts of the application while keeping backwards compatibility, testing and code style in good shape.

Simon is an active contributor to the Ubuntu +1 Maintenance rotation, keeping the archive in good shape and he is always attentive and curious about new things that he reads about in some git commits and does not hesitate to ask any questions to the relevant people if anything is unclear.

I sponsored several packages across the archive for Simon, which can be seen from the table below. I want to highlight just a few special ones:

  • netplan SRUs, that follow a special test procedure and backporting policy
  • s390-tools[-signed], that has some special bits to it wrt. LP signing
  • lksctp-tools, a sync
  • haveged, a merge
  • lintian, dependency change to avoid a series or MIRs
  • tpm2-tss, a new upstream, going ahead of Debian
Date Sponsor Sponsoree Package Version Distribution Bugs fixed Action
2021-07-09 15:01 Lukas Märdian Simon Chopin s390-tools 2.17.0-0ubuntu1 impish upgrade
2021-07-12 12:08 Lukas Märdian Simon Chopin s390-tools-signed 2.17.0-0ubuntu1 impish upgrade
2021-08-10 14:05 Lukas Märdian Simon Chopin lksctp-tools 1.0.19+dfsg-1 impish-proposed sru
2021-08-18 07:27 Lukas Märdian Simon Chopin git-remote-hg 1.0.2.1~ds-2 impish-proposed sru
2021-08-18 12:02 Lukas Märdian Simon Chopin racket 7.9+dfsg1-2 impish-proposed sru
2021-08-18 13:24 Lukas Märdian Simon Chopin haveged 1.9.14-1ubuntu1 impish
2021-10-06 10:57 Lukas Märdian Simon Chopin netplan.io 0.103-0ubuntu5~21.04.2 hirsute
2021-10-06 10:57 Lukas Märdian Simon Chopin netplan.io 0.103-0ubuntu5~20.04.2 focal
2022-01-20 10:50 Lukas Märdian Simon Chopin acl 2.3.1-1 jammy-proposed sru
2022-01-25 14:25 Lukas Märdian Simon Chopin lintian 2.111.0ubuntu3 jammy
2022-01-26 10:35 Lukas Märdian Simon Chopin paramiko 2.8.1-1ubuntu2 jammy
2022-02-22 17:27 Lukas Märdian Simon Chopin tpm2-tss 3.2.0-0ubuntu1 jammy upgrade
2022-03-01 14:25 Lukas Märdian Simon Chopin tpm2-tss 3.2.0-0ubuntu2 jammy

Simon showed a superb understanding of the Ubuntu internals by upgrading the deeply integrated OpenSSL 3 system library, working his way through this huge transition, resolving the NBS packages and by driving a MIR to transition the Rust language into the “main” component. In all of his work, he has always focused on delivering high quality results. I trust in his skills and decision-making in the best interest of the Ubuntu community.

I fully endorse his Ubuntu Core Dev application.

Specific Experiences of working together

Besides supporting Simon’s daily distro work (as described above) I’ve primarily worked with him as part of the upstream netplan project. He pushed plenty of PRs to GitHub, refactoring core parts of the application, all of which have been of very high quality and great form (i.e. git commit structure & description). He always reacted quickly and open minded to any comments made during review and resolved any issues to everybody’s satisfaction. Furthermore, he also jumped in to do reviews for other community members and for myself and has been an excellent sparring partner for me doing so.

Areas of Improvement

There are always new things to learn in Ubuntu. For example, Simon could help with doing more SRU work and creating NEW packages. In continuing his “+1 Maintenance” engagement, he will inevitably come across new cases and grow his abilities while working through them.

2 Likes

General Feedback

Simon’s long history as a Debian Maintainer has given him excellent knowledge of Debian packaging. While I haven’t sponsored many packages for Simon, we have collaborated on plans for improvements to Go and Rust packaging methods, and during that time he has demonstrated a deep understanding of not only packaging, but also Ubuntu-specific topics such as the Launchpad build infrastructure and autopkgtest environments. During his frequent +1 Maintenance shifts Simon has used his MOTU powers to the benefit of the distro with no major issues.

Specific Experiences of Working Together

Simon has led the OpenSSL transitions since he started working at Canonical. These transitions have overlapped with my Go packaging work, and we have specifically worked on golang-github-mendersoftware-openssl and softhsm2 together. During this work, Simon demonstrated a thorough knowledge of symbols versioning and handled the transition very well. He also demonstrated his willingness to ask questions when issues came up with OpenSSL compatibility of Go packages.

Areas of Improvement

As @slyon mentioned, Simon could gain more experience creating new packages from scratch. However, his knowledge of packaging leaves me confident that he would be up to the task

I hereby endorse Simon Chopin for Core Dev

1 Like

General Feedback

Looks like I’ve sponsored only one of Simon’s uploads (openvpn via LP: #1945980), but I’ve noted his work on +1 maintenance and attention on openssl3 issues, and am generally I’m impressed at all the work he’s done. They say that someone deserves coredev when everyone goes, “What? They’re not already core dev? I was sure they were.” Well, I’ll just add my own “I assumed Simon was already coredev” remark, and look forward to working with him in the future.

1 Like

TL;DR: I feel not fully empowered to endorse all aspects of a core-developer as I haven’t seen it all. But all that I’ve seen from Simon he really did great. Thereby he has my support for those aspects I can speak of.

General Feedback

I’ve sponsored an upload related to the openssl issues triggered by the migration to 3.0. But that one sponsored package would not be enough for an endorsement. Gladly I can state that we had various touch points between packages of the server team and openssl3.0 which lead to plenty of uploads and patches that Simon has looked at with me or other members of the Server team. The feedback about Simon was always great.

I also had plenty of chance to work with Simon on the rustc MIR. This had plenty of “hmm we never had this” moments and Simon was awesome interacting with all involved team members, commenting on all discussions and helping us to get further in formalizing the related MIR process.
Due to that I think he is also aware of most of the MIR process details by now.

Things to improve

This isn’t a personal fault/problem of Simon, might be more a team-policy that mismatches my style/preference - so please do not take it too hard. But upload chains like merge into bug into fix seem improvable. Of course sometimes there are issues one can’t know in advance, but an FTBFS should be seen upfront. You mentioned “attention to details” in “things I could do better”, I’d suggest various aspects of check-before-upload as one of those details.

I have not yet seen him interact with Ubuntu seeds (other than indirectly via the rustc MIR) yet and above none are mentioned. That might also be a great opportunity to learn about another aspect of how Ubuntu is made.

1 Like

Given that I haven’t directly engaged with Simon Chopin but they have been doing great work in Ubuntu, I think. And them becoming a core developer would be a net-win for Ubuntu. \o/

1 Like

I believe @schopin is ready to be a core-dev. I’ve sponsored a large number of uploads for him, although most of them were no-change rebuilds, it shows he has a good understanding of how transitions work.

2 Likes