Florin Irion



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Tags:   postgresql (119)   2ndquadrant (8)   edb (12)   italy (0)   romania (0)   bdr (0)   logical-replication (3)   passion (0)  
Category:   Interviews   
Interview conducted 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.

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

I was born and raised in Romania in a little town called Campulung. When I was 20 years old I came to Italy, to Prato, where I started working in the hospitality industry, eventually becoming a Chef.

My passion though has always been around computers and my dream was to work in IT.

It took me however a long time until I made the first step toward what I really wanted to do with my professional life. So, at 37 years old I gave myself one year to accomplish this, and I was lucky enough to find a course “PRO.GE.DO” that was organized by 2ndQuadrant together with PIN - Polo Universitario Città di Prato. It was basically all about PostgreSQL but we also studied Linux, Python, and some basic general knowledge.

Florin Irion

Florin Irion

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

I like hiking, ping pong, swimming, basket, volley, chess, video games, watching movies and tv shows. However, I mainly spend my free time with my family.

Any Social Media channels of yours we should be aware of?

Any favorite movie, or show?

There are so many, lately, I watched Ozark that I really enjoyed.

What does your ideal weekend look like?

Anything that makes me feel that I didn’t waste that time. It can be a walk in the mountains or a day at the beach, together with friends and family.

What’s still on your bucket list?

I really don’t have one, I mainly do what I want when I want it. If I can, if not, I don’t think about it too much.

What is the best advice you ever got?

I don’t have one that I can say it’s the best advice.

I usually do things if I feel I want to do them, this however doesn’t mean I don’t listen, only that I can’t think of the “best advice” that changed my life.

However, I have a large number of people that helped me and taught me a lot.

When did you start using PostgreSQL, and why?

I started in 2018, after the PRO.GE.DO. course. I did an internship in 2ndQuadrant where we made a Primary-Standby-Barman cluster orchestrated with Ansible. And after that, I was hired, working on support mainly. The support shifts helped me understand PostgreSQL better and how people use it.

Do you remember which version of PostgreSQL you started with?

It was 9.6. I remember it well because I have the PostgreSQL Administration Cookbook 9.6 in my library.

Now I’m working on the BDR (Bi-Directional Replication) extension at EDB.

BDR provides multi-master replication and data distribution with advanced conflict management, data-loss protection and enables distributed PostgreSQL clusters with high availability.

How do you contribute to PostgreSQL?

In any way I can.

In 2019 I was an ITPUG council member, helping out in the organization of the PgDay Italy.

I have contributed to the PostgreSQL codebase with only one patch, for now. It’s related to not letting users set unknown configurations.

I would like to do more though, PostgreSQL gave me so much, it gave me a job I love, so I think it’s fair that I give back to the community.

What is the feature you like most in the latest PostgreSQL version?

I like the performance improvements around parallel queries and the aggressiveness of VACUUM if it nears transaction ID wraparound.

Could you describe your PostgreSQL development toolbox?

Well, often I work on multiple tasks at the same time. I mean I can work on a bug or a feature and run some tests at the same time for another one and maybe review (or just test) a patch from a different developer. For this, I use a set of scripts that create separate postgres environments. It basically just uses git’s worktrees underneath.

I’m a vim user, and I use it for everything… except coding. I use Visual Studio Code for that.

Which skills are a must have for a PostgreSQL developer/user?

Passion::skill

I think this is the most important thing one must have.

Passion is what makes you improve yourself, it makes you want to understand more, it makes you more interested, it arouses curiosity, and it transforms the whole process ( developing/administrating) in fun instead of plain … work.

Do you use any git best practices, which makes working with PostgreSQL easier?

I work on multiple stable branches so cherry-pick is one that I use a lot, also like I already said I use worktrees, and they are pure gold. Plus common-sense best practices such as never push directly in master, commit only related changes, etc. At least, this is the rule :)

Which PostgreSQL conferences do you visit? Do you submit talks?

I miss the in-person conferences so much!

I went to Italy’s PgDays and PGconf.EU.

I delivered some talks at PostgresBuild and a few Meetups. I’m a bit scared of giving live talks. But that is definitely something I want to improve.

I could add this to my bucket list!

Do you think PostgreSQL has a high entry barrier?

No, I think Postgres is not simple, but, if you are experienced with other databases you will not have issues making it work at its best. If instead, you do not have any experience you just need a bit of patience and passion and with the help of great documentation that Postgres has, anyone can manage to do anything!

What is your advice for people who want to start PostgreSQL developing - as in, contributing to the project. Where and how should they start?

I think the blog article: I am Developer! (And You Can Too!) is a good starting point.

Also, the wiki Submitting a Patch needs to be read before starting.

However, it still depends from person to person.

If you don’t have much experience, testing the patches from the commit fest would be a good first step. You just need to check that it does what it says it should do.

If you have an issue, try to fix it and propose a patch if you know how to fix it, if not, speak up on the pgsql-hackers and maybe someone will find your issue interesting and they will propose a fix.

Do you think PostgreSQL will be here for many years in the future?

Absolutely! Maybe it will change the way we use it (see Kubernetes), but it will still be Postgres.

Would you recommend PostgreSQL for business, or for side projects?

For both, definitely for business, for side projects, you can even use it out of the box.

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

Mainly hackers, most of the time is a real source of knowledge, but sometimes, for me, it’s really difficult to understand.

What other places do you hang out?

IRC: #postgresql, #postgresql-eu, #postgresql-it, #postgresql-lounge

Slack: #general

Anything else you like to add?

I would like to thank the whole Prato office, they believed in me even before I did!