The Meet The Aptoiders series rolls on, as we continue to feature members of the international Aptoide team who are leading change in their respective fields, and helping shape the future of Android and mobile technology.
Say hi to Flavio Moringa, an Open Source enthusiast and a specialist in Linux internals and system administration who believes Han Solo shot first (spoiler alert). He is also one of the key people who started working at Aptoide even before it was Aptoide and was *there (in the actual room) when it all started taking shape. Read on to learn more about Flavio and why he is such a unique player in Aptoide's story.
1. In a nutshell, who is Flávio Moringa and what do you do?
Well, I'm a 38 years old guy, married to one and father to 2. I have a degree in Computer Science and Management, and I almost have a master in Open Soure Software... if only I could get the time to finish my master thesis! I love everything technology, hence why the management part of my degree was rapidly put aside. I like to listen to music, watching movies and TV shows that bring something new and I love science fiction and fantasy... mainly in books. My favorite authors are Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke and Stephen King (more for the Dark Tower series than for the terror... and if you don't know it yet, do yourself a favor: run and buy it now... or wait for the movie coming out this year that I'm sure won't be as good as the books but it's a start).
Even though I've been working with Aptoide since the very beginning, I only started as a Senior System Administrator last December, meaning that I'm part of the team that makes sure all of our services run smoothly, fast and without hiccups.
2. You worked for a long time at Aptoide's original "mother" company, Caixa Mágica. Could you tell us a bit about your experience there, and in which projects you were involved?
Caixa Mágica was my first contact with the "real" world. I started there back in 2002/2003 in my last year of college, creating what was the first enterprise grade Linux Distribution on sale in stores in Portugal. It was a special edition of Linux Caixa Mágica named "Linux@PME", aimed at the SME segment that included the Operating system, a printed manual, support and some special tools for easy configuration of some services like a web page server, e-mail server and firewall, all in a good looking box that really stood out on the shelves.
After this initial project, I started working as an investigator at ADETTI, an investigation center at ISCTE where Caixa Mágica was being cooked up. We started to grow, and the company was created... and then came our biggest projects to date: Magalhães and E-Escola. I was involved in the customization of Linux Caixa Mágica at all levels for these projects, from the final builds being delivered to the clients, to being in close contact with hardware vendors and mobile operators to make sure all was working perfectly. We had hundreds of thousands of clients using our Operating System and it was very interesting to see it all working out.
I also worked on a special version of Caixa Mágica for the Portuguese Ministry of Justice, and shortly after that we went international and I worked on a special version of Caixa Mágica for Mexico, and another one for a special UN program called OpenMillenium.
Outside the Linux Operating system, I also worked on some very interesting projects, such as assembling the mail infrastrucure to be used in AMA for use in several public institutes in the Portuguese government, and helping out in really complicated migration processes from closed source software to open source software.
Finally, and because programming is also something I love, I also worked on some projects with NOS, maybe the one still working and that had the most impact was the NOS Iris application for the Portuguese Football Championship, whose entire backend in nodejs was made by me.
Even though Aptoide was born inside Caixa Mágica, I was never really part of the project, but I was there when the summer internship that started it all happened. I was there when the name was created (you know the story behind the name right?). I was there when the only device available was an HTC phone, only available in Germany, and it was so expensive we couldn't afford it and for the first year all was done with a terrible emulator, and after that with hardware, which was also terrible. But that is a story for others to tell... 😉
3. You did a Masters in Open Source Software. How important do you feel open source software is for the industry, and which role does it play on Aptoide's model?
Aptoide would simply never existed if not for open source software. The idea behind Aptoide was/is to follow the concept of a repository, or a group of repositories from where applications can be installed. This concept comes from the Debian Linux package installation system called "apt"...it rings a bell right? 😉 Debian Linux is the base for the currently most well known Linux Operating System: Ubuntu. Ubuntu and Debian are Operating Systems almost totally based on Open Source Software, allowing for anyone to see how they're made and eventually even change them to their needs. Aptoide uses Open source software in everything it does, from Open Source programming languages like Python, Java and PHP, to Open Source servers like Apache, Nginx, Postgresql, Varnish, etc.
Open source software is at the heart of the internet, and all the major players in the area use and even create open source software everyday. Aptoide uses Open Source software because it grew amongst it (Caixa Mágica only deals with Open Source), but mainly because it has the best tools that allow it to grow and scale easily. If the biggest players in world, like Google, Facebook, Twitter, Uber, etc. use almost exclusively Open Source Software it's more than proof that that's the right way to go.
4. What challenges does a growing platform like Aptoide has in terms of infrastructure?
Like I said before, I was not an active part of Aptoide from the beginning, but I watched it grow first slowly, and then really fast; and saw how the infrastructure grew from just a couple of servers to a few hundreds in a very short time. So our main challenge is to make sure that our millions of users all around the world are happy with the reliability and speed of our service, always taking into consideration our constant growth rate. Fortunately we have an amazing team of system administrators that are always looking for new ways to automate and scale our infrastructure causing minimal impact on the users experience. It's amazing how many times we have changed the way that we serve the applications to the end users, to improve their user experience, and always without causing impact in the service. One of the things that a large infrastructure like ours needs is constant monitorization and automation, which is something we've been working a lot and makes possible that our team, probably one of the smallest in the company (there are 3 of us... yes that's right, only 3... amazing uh?!) can cope with so many servers and services.
5. Now, let's get to the point. Did Han shoot first?
Ah! You're trying to make me talk about issues that really matter...Star Wars! Well.. Han was a smuggler at the time and Greedo was going to turn him to Jabba for not delivering some merchandise. I'm sure Han wouldn't have stayed in business as long has he has by being a nice guy. George Lucas just tried to make him look more like the hero by changing that, but it was just a dumb move. Han was the typical anti-hero, so off course Han shot first... and whoever thinks otherwise probably also thinks Jar Jar is a funny character. 😂