When I started the Redis project more than ten years ago I was in one of the most exciting moments of my career. My co-founder and I had successfully launched two of the major web 2.0 services of the Italian web. In order to make them scalable we had to invent many new concepts, that were already known in the field most of the times, but we didn’t know, nor we cared to check. Problem? Let’s figure out a solution. We wanted to solve problems but we wanted, even more, to have fun. This was the playful environment where Redis was born.
But now Redis is, incredibly, one of the main parts of so many things. And year after year my work changed from building this thing to making sure that it was also as useful as possible, as reliable as possible. And in recent years, what I do every day changed so much that most of my attention is spent in checking what other developers tell me about the Redis code, how to improve it, the changes it requires to be more correct or faster or more secure. However I never wanted to be a software maintainer.
I write code in order to express myself, and I consider what I code an artifact, rather than just something useful to get things done. I would say that what I write is useful just as a side effect, but my first goal is to make something that is, in some way, beautiful. In essence, I would rather be remembered as a bad artist than a good programmer. Now I’m asked more and more, by the circumstances created by a project that became so important, to express myself less and to maintain the project more. And this is indeed exactly what Redis needs right now. But this is not what I want to do, and I stretched myself enough during the past years.
So, dear Redis community, today I’m stepping back as the Redis maintainer. My new position will be, on one side, an “ideas” person at Redis Labs, in order to provide inputs for new Redis possibilities: I’ll continue to be part of the Redis Labs advisory board. On the other hand however my hands will be free, and I’ll do something else, that could be writing code or not, who knows, I don’t want to make plans for now. However I’m very skeptical about me not writing more code in the future. It’s just too much fun :D
I leave Redis in the hands of the Redis community. I asked my colleagues Yossi Gottlieb and Oran Agra to continue to maintain the project starting from today: these are the people that helped me the most in recent years, and that tried hard, even when it was not “linear” to follow me in my very subjective point of views, to understand what my vision on Redis was. Since I don’t want to be part of how the new Redis development setup will be shaped (that is the most meta of the maintenance tasks, exactly what I want to avoid), I’ll just leave Yossi and Oran the task of understanding how to interface with the rest of the Redis developers to find a sustainable development model, you can hear directly from Yossi and Oran in this blog post: https://redislabs.com/blog/new-governance-for-redis/
I believe I’m not just leaving Redis in the hands of a community of expert programmers, but also in the hands of people who care about the legacy of the community spirit of Redis. In eleven years I hope I was able to provide a point of view that certain persons understood, about an alternative way to write software. I hope that such point of view will be taken into consideration in the evolution of Redis.
Redis was the most stressful thing I did in my career, and probably also the most important. I don’t like much what the underground programming world became in recent years, but even if it was not an easy journey, I had the privilege to work and interact with many great individuals. Thank you for your humanity and your help, and for what you taught me. You know who you are! I want to also say thank you to the companies and individuals inside such companies that allowed me to write open source every day for so many years, with the freedom to do what I believed to be correct for the user base. Redis Labs, VMware and Pivotal, thank you for your great help and generosity.
As I said, I don’t really know what there is for me in my future, other than the involvement with the Redis advisory board. I guess that for some time, just look around is a good idea, without doing too many things. I would like to explore more a few hobbies of mine. Writing blog posts is also a major thing that I wanted to do but did less and less because of time concerns. Recently I published videos in Italian language explaining technological concepts to the general public, I had fun doing that and received good feedbacks, maybe I’ll do more of that as well. Anyway I guess some of you know that I’m active on Twitter as @antirez. If you are interested in what an old, strange programmer will do next, see you there.