New Award: Community Member of the Month!

We are so happy to extend a heartfelt thank you and congratulations to the recipient of our very first Community Member of the Month Award, Daniel (nanotube) Folkinshteyn! In the spirit of recognizing and showing appreciation for outstanding members of the SourceForge community, we have created this award. Winners are those who go above and beyond to help other members of the community, and we really appreciate your contributions. Besides getting a little pat on the back, Daniel will also receive a $25 ThinkGeek Gift Card.

Daniel became a member of SourceForge in 2004. Since then, he has spent countless hours in the #sourceforge chat channel helping other users, and being an awesome SourceForge friend. He even went so far as to code our channel bot, Gribble, who makes the lives of our support team and other users so much easier!

Daniel works on numerous open source projects, and can often be seen helping other devs and users. He is a friend and advocate of the open source community, and it’s people like him that make us proud to be supporting FOSS projects.

We asked Daniel a few questions:

Can you tell me some facts about yourself?
  1. I am finishing up a PhD in finance, and just started an academic teaching position at another school.
  2. I never studied CS or related disciplines academically, and just picked up whatever I know from reading a few books, a lot of documentation, and learning by doing.
  3. I like math, statistics, and data analysis, and I also like teaching. “Best way to really understand something, is to try to teach it to someone else.” :)
  4. I used to do a lot of gaming and anime watching, but at some point got to thinking that these activities, while fun, were producing exactly zero value, so don’t really do much of either these days, except on rare occasions.
  5. My first open source project was a dumpy little web image gallery written in perl and js. It’s still up on sourceforge :)
What was the first computer you ever had?

a 66 mhz 486, with 8mb of ram, and a 500mb hd

Why do you personally contribute to the open source community?

A number of reasons. I am a fan of the “free as in freedom” ideology. I like the feeling of usefulness I get from writing some code, and knowing that thousands/tens of thousands/millions of people out there can benefit from it. There are very few other things one can do that will have the same positive impact on humanity per unit of effort expended. And of course the little bit of “geek cred” one can get is a pretty good feeling as well. Further, I like the kind of people that are attracted to FOSS (basically, decent, geeky folks that are fun to hang out with). So anything that one can do to facilitate the camaraderie in this community will benefit us all and engender all kinds of nifty positive feedback loops.

Do you have any personal causes or things that are important to you that you’d like to tell our readers about?

Well, recently I’ve been involved in various ways in the Bitcoin project (http://bitcoin.org). It is pretty much a perfect fit with my interest in FOSS as well as finance/economics. The core concept – the idea that you can have a decentralized accounting/timestamping system, relying on no central authority, is quite revolutionary. It is, in my opinion, a bold experiment in sidestepping government meddling in the economy by way of monetary policy and burdensome regulations on monetary transactions. In its essence, “money” is nothing more than a unit of account, keeping track of how much value you have created and consumed. The freedom to transfer money to anyone you want without interference, censorship, and tracking from third parties is the financial analog to freedom of speech. Whether Bitcoin itself survives in the long term or not, the idea of a decentralized digital unit of account, which can be transferred instantly and freely anywhere in the world with internet access, is here to stay (imho), and will, hopefully, have the same effect on financial freedom as the internet has had on freedom of speech.

While I have only a few commits to my name in the mainline bitcoin client, I have directed my effort more toward the community-side of things, helping moderate the (ever growing list of) bitcoin-related IRC channels and adding a lot of bitcoin-related functionality to the famous gribble bot :). I have also created a p2p bitcoin trading market in the in the form of #bitcoin-otc IRC channel on freenode, with a web of trust and gpg-based authentication facilitated by the same IRC bot we all know and trust. (Learn more at http://bitcoin-otc.com ! :) ).

Again, thank you for being awesome, Daniel! Next time we see you, we’re soo going to give you a high five.

If you know someone who has been an outstanding member of the community here, and you’d like to nominate them for this award, you can shoot off an email to our support staff, and they’ll pass it along.

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