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We won’t live forever, so what does that mean?

Kernel Recipes
June 09, 2024

We won’t live forever, so what does that mean?

Speaking about my stroke, how that effected me as a developer and my approach to delegation.

David S Miller

Kernel Recipes

June 09, 2024


  1. Intro Being engrossed with technical work can make one forget

    about basic things like mortality and the inevitability of death. Those are hard things to think about when your source tree won’t even build or gcc 12 is spitting out a new annoying warning or two. But as maintainers we are absolutely responsible for acknowledging that and doing something to protect the long term legacy of our projects.
  2. My woke moment as a maintainer In October 2019 I

    suffered a right-MCA stroke. I fell suddenly to the floor and could not get back up. I was also vomiting uncontrollably. I knew something was wrong, and thanks to my fiance I got to the hospital in time for treatment. My cat, Affogato, was very concerned.
  3. Maintainership is finite This is true whether due to health

    reasons or the politics of a project. You must account for this before it is too late. Delegation is your friend. Try to let go of those controlling tendencies most of us maintainers have. In order to cleanly pass on your project later, you have to share responsibilities now. You will stop feeling overwhelmed as well. Learn to trust people, and let them help you.
  4. Maintainers do not grow on trees. You can’t take any

    developer and tell them, help maintain this. It requires more than subsystem domain knowledge. It requires also people skills and a certain level of trust in the community. In this sense maintainers need a bit of “grooming.” although it is common and ok to be ungroomed.