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New Meet a Maintainer Series: Q&A with Azeem Shaikh, Senior Software Engineer, Google

By October 5, 2022Blog
Azeem Shaikh, Senior Software Engineer, Google

Maintainers play a vital role in the OpenSSF and the Linux Foundation and we think you should get a chance to meet some of the amazing individuals powering open source software (OSS) security initiatives. Over the next few weeks we’ll be featuring maintainers and contributors and hearing how they came to the community, what their experiences have been like, and what advice they have for others.

Meet Azeem Shaikh, Senior Software Engineer, Google

Azeem is a Senior Software Engineer at Google. He currently leads the Scoring and Remediation efforts within Google’s Open Source Security Team. He was previously involved in scaling Google’s search and serving infrastructure.

How are you involved in the OpenSSF? 

I’m one of the maintainers of OpenSSF Scorecards project.

Why did you choose to become involved?

I firmly believe in the utility of open source software and making it secure is a fundamental problem that needs to be solved for open source to flourish in the long run.

Tell us about your experience being a maintainer. 

While it has been greatly satisfying and rewarding, being a maintainer of an open source project is far more taxing than I’d imagined. OSS maintainers lack many development tools readily available to developers of a for-profit organization. Our team (Scorecards) spent significant time developing test infrastructure, release infrastructure and other general software management tools apart from working on core development features.

Why is being a maintainer important? 

To avoid “tragedy of the commons” situation with OSS. Open source is critical to modern digital infrastructure and it is important that developers from all facets contribute to ensure that it does not deteriorate.

How has your educational and/or professional career led you here?

My time at Google made me realize that there is something uniquely satisfying about building products that empower clients to solve larger problems. This realization led me to open source where this impact can be much larger and the potential is endless.

What makes being a maintainer rewarding for you?

The OSS community is what makes being a maintainer rewarding. It’s a thriving community which is inclusive, collaborative and never ceases to surprise you with insights. Being a maintainer provides a sense of belonging within this great community.

What advice do you have for others?

Contribute back. If you rely on an OSS project and you are enjoying its benefits, please consider contributing back to the project in whatever way that is meaningful/useful to the maintainer(s). A little bit of help goes a long way 🙂

Tell us something interesting about yourself.

I recently became a dad and spend most of my free time playing with my daughter, my 2 cats and (if I’m lucky and everyone is asleep) – video games 🙂