Episode 126

GitHub Maintainer Month with Mike McQuaid of Homebrew and Nina Breznik of DatDot


June 24th, 2022

28 mins 39 secs

Your Host
Special Guests

About this Episode


Mike McQuaid | Nina Breznik


Richard Littauer

Show Notes

Hello and welcome to a special episode of Sustain, where we interview Maintainers as part of GitHub Maintainer Month! On this episode, Richard is interviewing a few open source maintainers to talk about what it’s like to be a maintainer, how awesome they are, and what issues they may have being a maintainer. My first guest is Mike McQuaid, who works for GitHub and is one of the maintainers of Homebrew. Mike tells us all about Homebrew, how you can contribute, and the most fun thing about being a maintainer there. Also joining me is Nina Breznik, another awesome maintainer, Founder of RefugeesWork, Partner and Open Source Developer at Playproject, Community Organizer at Wizard Amigos, and she works on a DatDot project with serapath. Nina shares how it is for her being a maintainer, how she helps other people see it as art, not just science and math, but a more creative thing, and she tells us the project she had the most fun working on. Go ahead and download this episode now to learn more!


[00:00:48] Mike explains what Homebrew is, the size of the community, and the usage.

[00:01:46] How did Mike come to maintain Homebrew and the other twenty people and how did he pivot and make the switch elegantly?

[00:04:08] Richard asks if Mike has any resources he can suggest to other maintainers.

[00:05:04] Mike talks about burnout and when he works on Homebrew.

[00:07:19] Mike shares advice to a first time open source person, and he tells us what advice he wishes someone had given him back in the day.

[00:09:00] We learn from Mike the most fun thing about being a maintainer at Homebrew.

[00:09:47] Find out how you can contribute to Mike’s project and where you can follow him on the web.


[00:11:48] We have Nina joining us now and Richard shares her bio with us. We also hear what Nina is maintaining these days and what her code looks like.

[00:14:41] Nina tells us about the number of projects she maintains in the sense of commit access and the size of the community that she’s working with.

[00:17:30] Find out the hardest part for Nina when it comes to maintaining code.

[00:18:47] Nina shares more about the RefugeesWork project she started which was the most magical experience for her.

[00:21:36] What is Nina most looking forward to over the next five to ten years as a maintainer and what does she want to see happen with her work?

[00:22:57] Nina shares what she wishes people had told her to make it easier for her when she first started coding.

[00:24:27] We learn what Nina does in her community to ensure that designers or tech writers, etc., feel involved in the projects she works on.

[00:27:15] Find out where you can follow Nina and her projects on the web.


[00:01:59] “The best way to get involved with open source was solving a problem I had for myself.”

[00:04:23] “Everything we do breaks down to human relationships and managing those and trying to have an environment where people are happy with each other.”

[00:07:19] “What advice would you give to a first-time open source person? I think just strict boundaries.”

[00:20:34] “I transitioned from social sciences and arts into coding because I wanted to get a skill. I wanted to be able to build something on my own and this was the first time I felt the power that I built something.”

[00:21:45] “I would love to see more people learning to code, which is one of the reasons why I started Wizards Amigos Project because I feel that this really is literacy of the future.”

[00:23:06] “They should have told me this is not all about math, but more like art.”



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