Video AMA: Running the Infrastructure of Open Source with Ashley Williams

Our next guest for the PagerDuty Community AMA is Ashley Williams!


Ashley is an engineer at Integer32, contracting for Mozilla on the Rust Programming Language. She is a member of the Rust Core team, leads the Rust Community Team, and is a member of the Infrastructure team, leading ops work on, the Rust package registry. Previously, she worked as a Registry Services Engineer at npm, the package manager for Javascript, and currently is the Individual Membership Director on the Node.js Foundation Board of Directors. A long time teacher, Ashley has focused much of her energies on education programs for open source projects, founding NodeTogether in 2016 and currently leading the RustBridge and Increasing Rust’s Reach initiatives. She has represented teachers’ perspectives at TC39 meetings to influence the growth of JavaScript and continues to be passionate about growing the web through her work on Web Assembly.

How This Works

Post your questions to Ashley in this thread - we’ll collect them up and Ashley will answer them in a live-stream video in early June. Questions should be posted no later than Thursday, May 31. You can also tweet your questions for Ashley to us via our twitter handle, @pagerduty. Please use the hashtag #pagerdutyama.

In addition to your questions about Ashley’s experiences, we encourage you to interpret “AMA” as “Ask My Advice”!

Hey Ashley, thanks for doing this AMA!

You’ve worked on infrastructure for two different languages. I imagine that, at times, there can be tension between “eating your own dogfood” (using that language to build its own infrastructure) and “using the best tool for the job”. I see that is mostly written in Rust now, but was that always the case? It seems like in the early days of Rust it may have been quite difficult to justify using a relatively immature language to build something both so complex, and so essential to the success of the language itself. I also imagine that that decision can get somewhat political, and can be technically complex due to circular dependencies.

I would love to hear about your experiences and advice for navigating this tension. Thanks!

Hi Ashley!

I love stories ‘from the trenches’ so - do you have any stories or experiences (can be your own, a colleague’s, or from blog post you’ve stumbled across!) that have either changed your way of thinking about things, or that contain interesting thoughts that you like to share with other people? [1]

Another question: are there any people/sites/other you would recommend, either to keep improving yourself or for other reasons (e.g. maybe there’s a twitter account you like for some light relief after doing infra things)?


[1] For example, I learned to be very cautious when applying “common sense” to reason about infra breakage when a select on a read-only replica DB brought down production.

Video with Ashley is live!