2019 Election Campaign: Dave Curylo

Who am I

I’m a software architect at Virtustream, a part of Dell Technologies, working with F# in Atlanta, GA USA. I’m a languages nerd and polyglot developer who has been been using .NET since picking up C# in 2002. For about the last 10 years, my focus has been on applications to manage infrastructure, with cross platform solutions on Windows, Linux, and FreeBSD.

In 2015, I was introduced to Suave, and I fumbled through enough F# to find that it really worked across platforms as well as advertised. I dove more into the language to support my Suave habit, which really introduced me to some terrific FP techniques, and I was shipping production F# applications in a few months. Now, F# is practically all I use, with a strong recommendation of it to my colleagues.

Why I would like to be on the board

As a developer who had success bringing F# to a large corporate environment and building two F# development teams from the ground up, I can bring experience to developers that would like to do the same in their work environment, helping them to understand how to introduce a new language without requiring an immediate paradigm shift. I would really like to see more businesses that make use of it publicly touting some of the benefits, whether they are smaller teams with better cohesion, reduced number of bugs, or constant velocity to meet schedules. My hope is that with more focus on using F# at work, then businesses are aware the language and ecosystem is used successfully in other businesses, and that awareness can also lead to more FSSF engagement for corporate sponsorship.

Additionally, having served on the board for the past year, I hope to improve some of the administrative areas to help the community be better represented. I am a firm believer in published policies that people can read to understand how the board will act on behalf of the foundation. This gives community members a chance to review and comment on concrete policies proactively rather than having to review the past actions of the board to determine post-haste whether those actions represented them. A policy is not without exceptions, and the board can certainly act in conflict with a policy as it deems necessary, but with published policies, these exceptions and policy changes are more clearly noted for the community. I feel that for the F# Software Foundation to continue to grow and remain representative of its members, we need to work actively to improve on this.

Thank you for your time and for considering me. Regardless of whether I’m elected, please reach out on Slack anytime!

Dave Curylo


I have 2 questions I’m going to ask each Board candidate to begin - but first, a little background:

Historically, the programs managed by the F# Software Foundation have been managed and operated by a Board member. While it’s great to see Board members be actively involved and hands-on (something I highly encourage!), the downside to this is that sustainability of programs has suffered at times. For example, the Diversity Program has been very quiet over the last year, as none of the current Board members have “stepped up” into that role and taken it over since the previous member decided not to run in 2018. We run the risk of this again this year - Gien, who has been the core enabler of the Mentorship Program, has decided not to run for the Board this year, which will leave that program in limbo until somebody is setup to run it or a new approach is devised.

  1. Are there any programs, either existing or new that’d you’d like to see formed, where you would like to take an active role in helping coordinate or enable?
  2. Given the sustainability concern mentioned above, do you have any ideas for ways to try to keep more consistency in programs moving forward, particularly as Board members come and go?
  1. I feel we need to engage with more businesses about their use of F# and their interest in sponsorship and promotion of the FSSF. By working with businesses that already have an interest in F#, we can get better information about what will increase F# uptake in their company. I know @cartermp does this sort of research from a Microsoft perspective and that drives language and tooling deliverables, and might also be able to provide guidance about what we can do as a community to improve. Related to business engagement and similar to last year, I continue to feel that the board could do more to promote a healthy software ecosystem around F#, although I was not aware of many of the constraints until I joined the board last year. A program like the Apache Incubator that helps promote software white also providing guidance for commercial readiness continues to be a sensible working group to create, and I would be interested in forming one with the support of some foundation members.
  2. Sustainability won’t come from board members alone, and we need to create more working groups that share the responsibilities with the diverse membership in the broader foundation. There are only two official working groups, and it’s not even very clear how members can join those groups to help, much less how more groups would be added. I feel we can do better to create and promote working groups that ensure the involvement of our growing membership. We should have more working groups with periodic meetings and documented member responsibilities so it’s clear to the membership whether or not the foundation is active in these areas and give foundation members a clear way that they can pitch in and participate.

Hi Dave!
I’d like to follow up on a couple of points :slight_smile:

  1. I think it would be great to engage more directly with businesses using F#. So far, most of the efforts of the foundation have been focused on individuals/community, I think in part because it’s easier to achieve, with existing channels like meetups and social media. But in the end, if we want strong F# adoption and jobs, we need happy companies using it. How would you go about starting that discussion, practically?
  2. Are there specific pieces of the Apache Foundation that you think the FSSF should borrow/imitate? For me, the piece I find difficult to articulate is this: on one side, I believe fsharp.org should not pick sides in the ecosystem, and let OSS projects succeed based on their own merits. On the other side, I can see also how fsharp.org is in a unique position to help some initiatives that are too big/complex for a few isolated individuals to handle. Would you agree with that, and where do you see that boundary where FSSF should take part vs leave it alone?
  3. Can you elaborate on the constraints that you were not aware of? That might be helpful for other candidates, and it might also be good to start a discussion on what could be done to make things better!

Thanks Mathias!

  1. We have a lot of people in the foundation that do F# at work, and a lot more that have a foothold, likely have respect in their businesses, but they haven’t been able to get F# in place there. I think in many ways, this is because we don’t often speak to the bottom line that can be improved when working with a higher level language, and ways it can coexist to let businesses build on their C# investments. I would like to start with a channel to discuss, as well as some materials to help people make strong cases for F# adoption in their business. Additionally, and this goes into my next point, but we need more of a focus on commercial viability of work. Is it licensed such that businesses can use it in their proprietary offerings? Is it stable enough that it’s going to work at scale? Is it supportable by having thorough documentation and failing with useful information? It’s tough for businesses to pull in community F# work when the liability becomes too great.
  2. Apache Incubator is a terrific program that helps provide guidance and when projects meet those levels, they get promoted to higher levels. The promotion there takes years, so when you see a top level Apache project, you can be pretty certain that it’s been through years of scrutiny, seen commercial use through early adopters, and has enough of a community around it that it will remain for years to come. The .NET Foundation helps with some of this (CI, legal, hosting), but it’s not F# specific (so less visibility), and it doesn’t guide projects in areas like documentation, scalability, etc. Also since it requires transferring licenses many projects may not be able to join. This is a place I feel the FSSF can fill some gaps for the works in the F# community by creating a system for projects to promote themselves, and a working group that meets periodically to handle submissions for promotion and provide constructive feedback to projects that would like to move to higher tiers. Hopefully this is the sort of thing we can facilitate on the new website (soon?) rather than just community maintained links to projects. This isn’t tremendously labor intensive, but it’s something that a board member would need to facilitate with a working group and periodic meetings with posted schedules and minutes.
  3. I didn’t realize the extent to which we really are limited by regulations. We can’t really promote anything, so for example, we couldn’t promote an F# blog, can’t link to it, can’t mention it in any communications. We can’t really support projects either, so while there is a lot of great work happening in the community, we are limited in what we can do beyond setting up a forum for others to chat about them. All it seems the foundation can really directly support is meetups and conferences. I am sure the IRS regulations are documented somewhere, but it would be helpful to have more of this information readily available to the board so we know how to focus efforts on things that are within those constraints.

Thanks for the great questions,