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Cloud Native Ecosystem / Tech Culture

Good-Bye Kris Nóva

The developer, open source leader, and alpinist died in a climbing accident, leaving the world poorer for her absence.
Aug 23rd, 2023 5:57am by
Featued image for: Good-Bye Kris Nóva

When anyone middle-aged or younger dies, It’s a cliche that they died much too young. Sometimes, it’s really true, though. Someone dies who’s a true, innovative leader who was changing the world for the better. Such a person was Kris Nóva.

I can’t claim to have known Nóva well, but she impressed me. Most people who’d met her would agree. Her job title when she died from a climbing accident was GitHub Principal Engineer. But, she was far more than that.

Not even 40, Nóva had co-founded The Nivenly Foundation. This organization is a member-controlled and democratically-governed open source foundation. Its goal is sought to bring sustainability, autonomy, and control to open source projects and communities. Specifically, it governs the popular tech Mastodon site, Hachyderm Decentralized Social Media, and the Aurae Runtime Project. The latter is a Kubernetes node workload management program.

Kris Nóva and Alex Williams

Many people claim to be “thought leaders.” Only a handful really are. Nóva was one. Her Kubernetes clusterf*ck talks were famous for revealing what’s what with Kubernetes and security. She also co-authored Cloud Native Infrastructure, a must-read for anyone considering running cloud native architectures.

Nóva also authored Hacking Capitalism, a book modeling the tech industry as a system. This book is interesting for anyone who wants to know how tech works.  It’s specifically for marginalized technologists who need tools to navigate the tech business. You should read this if you’re a programmer or engineer constantly flustered by tech’s management, social, and business sides. It will give you the insight you need on how investors, top leadership, and entrepreneurs view our ruthless, but predictable, industry.

She wasn’t just a speaker and writer, though. She was also an open source developer who contributed significantly to Linux, Kubernetes, distributed runtime environments, Falco, and the Go programming language. Altogether, she had created 388 GitHub repositories. In a word, she was “impressive.”

As Josh Berkus, Red Hat’s Kubernetes Manager, said on Mastodon, We lost one of the leading lights of tech this week. Relentlessly driven, astonishingly brilliant, and one of the bravest people I ever met, Kris Nóva was both an inspiration and a friend to dozens, if not hundreds, of people (including me). While it is fitting that she should have left us doing what she always did — taking risks — we are all poorer for having lost her.”

Indeed, we are.

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