Eric Daly, also known as linucksrox online, is a system administrator for an organization in West Michigan, USA. He doesn’t get bored of being a sysadmin; he also maintains a small ESXi host at his house which runs several Linux servers such as Nextcloud, pfSense, Ampache, and OpenVPN.
He does, however, do a lot of fun stuff outside of playing with technology. He plays piano and records music; you can find some of his works here.
Eric came in contact with Free Software in high school when he was introduced to Red Hat Linux. “I broke a Windows 3.1 installation on my old laptop and didn’t have the disks to reinstall Windows, so someone suggested to try installing Linux instead, and I’ve been hooked ever since,” said Eric.
As it happens in most cases, Eric didn’t remain just a user of open source. “I started contributing several years ago after I found out about git and GitHub.”
In the open source world we often see much focus on the term ‘developers’. But the fact is that you don’t have to be a developer to be a valuable member of the community: You can contribute in any capacity – as a ‘contributor’. And that is exactly what Eric does: He brings various contributions to open source projects that he likes. “While I tend to contribute more to reporting bugs, documentation and helping out on the forums, I always intend to try contributing more to the code as well.”
Getting to know Nextcloud
Eric started his private file sync and storage journey with ownCloud before it was forked. “I was exploring it as an alternative to requiring employees to connect to our VPN and access mapped network drives which can be slow and cumbersome.”
Before trying it out in his work environment, Eric installed it on his home server in order to test that everything would work correctly and ended up staying with it for several years because it was very convenient for him and his family to use. Eventually, he switched to Nextcloud.
“I manage two instances of Nextcloud, one at home and one at work. My home cloud supports five users, mostly pictures and videos from our phones sync automatically, and backups happen from there (about 350GB total).”
After finding success with Nextcloud at home, he brought it to work. There, about 50 users store a total of about 220GB of data on their instance. Most use the system lightly, but some make heavy use of the file sharing and file drop features which are critical with more and more files becoming too large to send over email.
From end user to contributor
About his contributions to the Nextcloud community, Eric says: “I’m mostly an end user of Nextcloud. I report bugs whenever I find them, and sometimes I contribute to the forums in order to help other people solve problems.” He adds: “I’ve contributed a little bit to the documentation, particularly to the script that we used to use to properly set permissions. I also submit bugs when I come across anything that doesn’t work as expected. Otherwise, I sometimes contribute to the forums to help other people who are just getting started and aren’t as familiar with how to get everything working.”
Eric is a great example of how you can be involved with an open source community like Nextcloud in both personal and professional capacity. “I personally benefit from using Nextcloud at home, and my company also benefits from Nextcloud on a daily basis, so it’s important to me to give back to the community in whatever small way I’m able to.”
When asked what he absolutely loves about Nextcloud, Eric mentions:
- The automatic instant file sync between mobile/pc and the server
- The file versioning and undelete features
- The file sharing and file drop features (with expiration dates)
Eric is a great example of how to become a valuable member of any community. Not only he introduced Nextcloud to his work, he also contributes to the project in different capacities. Have you ever considered helping with your favorite project? He shows you how it can be done: You don’t have to be a developer – just contribute whatever you can!
Guest post by Swapnil Bhartiya