Carole Arnaud

Tags:   postgresql    dalibo    pgday    conference    conferences    events    france    coc    commitment    crochet    knitting    friends   
Category:   Interviews   
Interviewed by: Andreas Scherbaum

PostgreSQL is the World’s most advanced Open Source Relational Database. The interview series “PostgreSQL Person of the Week” presents the people who make the project what it is today. Read all interviews here.

Why this picture?

I like to share the stage: PostgreSQL is about people, shared passion and pleasure contributing together. I thought that this picture would illustrate this well.
For the Story, it was taken in Milan during the last PGConf.EU with two of my oldest Postgres Friends: Guillaume Lelarge aka gleu aka the “Stephane Berne of the Community” and Jean-Guillaume de Rorthais aka ioguix.

Jehan-Guillaume de Rortais, Guillaume Lelarge, Carole Arnaud

Jehan-Guillaume de Rortais, Guillaume Lelarge, Carole Arnaud

Please tell us about yourself, and where you are from.

I was born in Nantes (~300k inhabitants, western France) 44 years ago already.
I am the eldest of 3 siblings. I used to be a shy child and teenager: actually, I was more comfortable studying than socializing. Fortunately it’s much better now :-)
I left home when I was 18 to study Optics / Electronics in Brittany. I got an engineering degree there and, due to my passion for Optics, I decided to continue my education by preparing a PhD thesis in Physics. I had my daughter while I was writing my thesis manuscript and we moved to the Paris region for work after I graduated.
I lived there for 10 years and finally came back to Nantes 5 years ago once working for Dalibo. Thank you remote working!
Since 2018, I have been an executive board member of Dalibo (a French PostgreSQL services company) and team manager. I was previously in charge of the DBA team and recently I changed for the Dev team.

How do you spend your free time? What are your hobbies?

Since 2018, when I am not working for Dalibo I am a volunteer administrator of a Socio-Cultural Center (200 volunteers and 34 employees, €600k budget, 40 different activities, 110 hours of activities per week). I reduced my working hours and freed up my Wednesdays to have the time needed for this very rewarding commitment.
Now and then, when not working for Dalibo or the Center, I volunteer at the game library. Actually, I like to play board or card games with friends.
Before COVID, I used to go to the movies regularly and dance salsa. Too sad I had to stop :-(.
I’m not a sports enthusiast but I like to ski every year, and to free my mind and de-stress, I also enjoy having time on my own, crochet, knitting and sewing.

Last book you read? Or a book you want to recommend to readers?

The last book I read, recommended to me by my teenage daughter, was “La Passe Miroir” (It has been translated into several other languages including English: The Mirror Visitor)
And if you ask me, I would advise any Haruki Murakami’s book (1Q84 may be the easiest to start with). I love that writer!

Any favorite movie, or show?

I have kept two movies in mind and heart since I first saw them: Requiem for a Dream and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.
I usually don’t watch TV shows but during confinement, I discovered the Big Bang Theory. That has been a revelation and it helped me in that troubled and oppressive time.

What’s still on your bucket list?

Which bucket list? I have so many! #bucketlistfreak :-)

What is the best advice you ever got?

“Listen to yourself and sometimes you have to say NO!”

When did you start using PostgreSQL, and why?

My previous company was developing software using PostgreSQL database.
I was not in the tech team but was an implementation consultant and software usage trainer.
I joined them in 2009 and I used Postgres when I started working on customized integrated reports for my customers (SQL queries, jasper reports…). This first experience has been a real pleasure.

Do you remember which version of PostgreSQL you started with?

I’d say 8.3… Should ask Vik Fearing to confirm. He was working there with me at that time :-)

When I was in my engineering school, I did some programming besides optics and electronics. The languages I used: C, C++, Fortran but mainly scientific programming with Matlab at that time. But I did not use any of these for at least 10 years.
However, this programming training helped me when I had to learn SQL, mostly by myself.

What other databases are you using? Which one is your favorite?

MariaDB, just because we are using Kimai to track our working time. I have to write queries for my team activity reports / board.
But PG is still my favorite!

Actually, I do nothing involving writing code as I have no developer skills.
I contribute to pgDays organization (was part of the PGDay France committee from 2015 to 2018 and have been a co-organizer of pgDay Paris since 2018).
In addition I have been a PG CoCC member since october 2019.
And since March 2020, I have been taking part to temBoard as project manager. It’s pretty new to me and I plan to contribute more, on the project communication aspect among others.

Could you describe the set of tools you like to use for working with PostgreSQL?

I used to use pgAdmin 3 for writing queries.
I tried pgadmin 4 when we updated our database to v10 but finally installed and adopted DBeaver: I like the app and I can connect not only to our PG databases but also to MariaDB databases so it’s pretty convenient.

Which PostgreSQL conferences do you visit?

  • pgDay FR every year
  • Every pgDay Paris as well of course!
  • Nantes PUG meetups long time there hasn’t been one :-(
  • PGConf.EU depending on the location I decided not to fly anymore, so that can be less easy to travel

I did not submit any talk yet but I really should consider it.

Are you reading the -hackers mailinglist? Any other list?

I am subscribed to fr-generale (the French mailing list) and -announce .
The only moment I read other lists is when someone calls the CoC committee to report inappropriate behaviour and that I have to investigate. Does usually not show me the threads at their best ;-) but fortunately that’s not common.

Which other Open Source projects are you involved or interested in?

3 Open Source projects I use everyday in Dalibo and that I want to promote:

  • Dolibarr is an french open source ERP, not perfect but pretty utter
  • Kimai is a german time tracking tool, based on MariaDB but we are interested in adding PostgreSQL support
  • BBB is a web conferencing system we use either for visioconference and Postgres online trainings

Anything else you like to add?

This is an opportunity for me to thank those without whom I won’t be part of this great Community today. Will try not to be too long so it will inevitably be reductive :-(
First, the Trigger: Vik (Fearing). We were already friends then and I remember the way he used to talk to me about PostgreSQL back in 2013, so passionate about the code and talkative about the community. He is the reason why I joined Dalibo in 2014.
Next, the FROM: Damien Clochard who pushed me in the deep end of the annual french community event in 2016 :-p That’s how you learn to swim, isn’t it?
Then, the JOIN: among others, Guillaume (Lelarge) and Vik again who have broadened my horizons by building bridges with the European and International Community.
Long live the PostgreSQL Community!