Interview: Lance Albertson

If you've ever downloaded FOSS software for use on your hardware, there a good chance that it came from the Oregon State University Open Source Lab (OSUOSL). The lab hosts a wide variety of FOSS projects, and the director of OSUOSL, Lance Albertson, took some time with the SCALE Team to talk about his presentation, "Ten Years of FOSS Hosting at the OSU Open Source Lab" on Sautrday, Feb. 23 at 4:30 p.m. in room Los Angeles C.

Q: Could you please introduce yourself and tell us a little about your background?

A: I'm Lance Albertson, the Director of the Oregon State University Open Source Lab. I have been with the lab since 2007 starting out being the primary system administrator for all the hosting we provide. Over the years I have contributed to a variety of open source projects mostly related to infrastructure projects. My biggest contribution has been with the Gentoo Linux project which I'm still an active developer with since 2003.

I have a lot of background in cfengine, puppet, and virtualization and have promoted Ganeti as a virtualization tool for many years. In my free time I enjoy playing my trumpet in a local combo jazz band and also enjoy flying RC aircraft when I get a chance. In a previous life I was a farmer in northeastern Kansas for a few years but the open source bug got the best of me. I don't know many in open source who have a degree in agriculture like I do.

Q: Without tipping your hand on the actual talk you're giving (unless you want to), can you give us an idea of what we might expect?

A: I plan to basically try and cover as much as I can about what we do at the OSUOSL. I'll cover the overview of things we do, the history of the lab, some things you may not realize we do or have done, some of the challenges we face and then cover some future plans and ideas we have. I'll also cover how we host projects and some provide some examples of what we do for them. Overall I think it will be an enlightening experience for any open source advocate.
Q: Is this your first visit to SCALE? If so, what are your expectations? If not, can you give us your impressions of the event?

A: This will actually be my second SCALE. I attended SCALE9x a few years ago and unfortunately could not make it to SCALE10x last year. I really enjoy the event with its focus on the community and volunteer driven. It kind of makes me think of a smaller version of FOSDEM.

Q: Why would someone be interested in the OSUOSL?
A: You probably use our mirrors, read an article on, checkout code from the Apache Software Foundation or just hang out on IRC on Freenode. If you do then you're using our hosting without even realizing it. The team of students and staff at the OSUOSL really care about working with projects and keeping them running and take a lot of pride in it too. But it doesn't happen without help from sponsors and individuals who help donate to our cause financially. Thank you to all of our supporters throughout who have kept us going for the past ten years and continue to support us!

Q: Is there anything else you'd like to add?

A: I want to thank the awesome staff at SCALE for accepting my talk and putting on amazing conference. Also I will have some OSL schwag including our stickers and our infamous bottle openers. Find me early if you want to have some as I will only have so much with me. Also if you are a member of a projects and are curious about how hosting works, feel free to find me at the conference to chat.
Q: Thank you for taking part in this brief SCALE 11X interview.
A: No, thank you :)
[SCALE Team interview by Larry Cafiero]