Committer Profile: Jason Mehrens
At a Glance: Jason Mehrens
- Involved in open source since: 2005
- Works for: Inpixon
- Eclipse Foundation contributor since: 2019
- Involved in: Jakarta Mail
- Committer to: Jakarta Mail
- Committer since: 2019
- Fun Fact: In addition to his full-time job at Inpixon and his work on Jakarta Mail, Jason runs the family farm, growing corn and soybeans.
Why did you first get involved in open source software communities?
In 2005, I was interested in Java 5 and concurrency. The source code was being developed in the open, so I read the code and the mailing list to improve my own skillset and see how experts in the field were developing software.
After a while, I was able to recognize potential issues, and I thought the fair thing would be to contribute back and share those thoughts to improve the overall health of the project. I primarily offered suggestions and provided feedback on code.
How did that involvement lead to you becoming a committer at the Eclipse Foundation?
The Java platform’s core logging facility didn’t have built-in support for logging to email. A few years after Java was made open source, I thought that Java Mail would be a good place for the logging-mailhandler to live and evolve. Bill Shannon, the project maintainer at the time, welcomed that code contribution and shepherded me through the process.
When Java EE transitioned to the Eclipse Foundation, I was hesitant to join because I had a lot of other commitments at the time. But Bill really pushed me to join and to continue being part of Jakarta Mail development. So I’ve been helping to code and maintain Jakarta Mail as a committer since 2019.
How would you summarize your experiences as a committer?
It can be challenging to find enough time to review issues, create patches, maintain features, and interact with the community. But you have access to the source code for some really well-known projects and can influence their direction. You can repair issues at their origin which can improve the longevity of the project and its dependents.
I like the openness, the access to the code base, the expertise, and the people who are developing the software. It’s a great knowledge base.
What are your next steps and goals as a committer and Eclipse Foundation community member?
For now, I’m going to continue maintaining the code base for Jakarta Mail. As I become more comfortable with the process, I might get involved in some of the larger Jakarta EE projects.
What would you say to developers who are considering getting more involved in open source software projects at the Eclipse Foundation?
I would say there are many ways to contribute, from answering questions on the various project mailing lists to filing issues or creating pull requests. You can influence a project by issuing a patch, having an expert review that patch, and having it committed to a project. The big advantage of being more involved is access to expertise.
I would also say that getting more involved can help you resolve your own issues faster. You have to spend some time writing the code, going through the review cycle, and integrating the patch. But it can end up saving you time because you don’t have to maintain a fork of the code or workarounds.