Colin Watson

Full name Colin James Watson
Address 42 Aragon Close, Cambridge, CB4 2SU, United Kingdom
Telephone On request
Nationality British, Irish

I am a self-starting free software developer who has been a core member of the Debian and Ubuntu development teams for many years. I like delivering software to end users and actually maintaining it afterwards. Experience working at the scale of large software distributions has taught me how to navigate and absorb unfamiliar codebases very quickly, particularly build systems. I have worked remotely for the majority of my professional life, have a strong sense of personal responsibility, and do not require close supervision to remain productive.


Jan 2015 - present day:
Software Engineer on Canonical's Launchpad team.

Oct 2008 - Dec 2014:
Technical Lead for the Ubuntu Foundations team. Projects included: significant contributions to GRUB 2; flicker-free boot; a large part of Ubuntu's implementation of UEFI Secure Boot; cross-building packages at scale; improved the quality of daily builds, including starting a rotating maintenance squad and shifting uploads to a staged model; service on the Technical Board; porting various packages to Python 3; and a great deal of maintenance work.

Dec 2006 - Oct 2008:
Ubuntu Development Manager for Canonical, with responsibility for the Ubuntu Foundations team.

May 2004 - Dec 2006:
Joined Canonical Ltd. as one of its initial group of developers of the Ubuntu distribution of GNU/Linux. Projects included: initiating and leading the installer team; building CD images; a stint as release manager; development and maintenance of various archive-related software; and the creation of a new graphical installer.

May 2003 - May 2004:
Software Engineer for nCipher Corporation, Cambridge. Worked on improving ASN.1 support, bug tracking system infrastructure, and the beginnings of a TPM-related project.

August 2000 - April 2003:
Software Engineer for Zeus Technology, Cambridge, specialising initially in performance and later in web server development. Experience in Unix performance tuning, C++, and Perl (both scripting and XS). Primary author of the Perl extensions to the Zeus Web Server.

June-September 1999:
Summer job in C development (configuration management for embedded communications software) at Data Connection, London.

Other Experience

Self-taught C, Perl, Python, and various other less useful languages, as well as some university-taught programming. I took part in several maths/programming competitions as a student, and was twice a member of Ireland's International Olympiad in Informatics team.

Unix development (both out of personal interest and professionally), and competency in Linux administration (Debian, Ubuntu).

In February 2001 I became a developer for the Debian Project ( I currently maintain, among others, the man-db, groff, and ctags packages; I wrote various packages such as binfmt-support and libpipeline from scratch; I co-maintain openssh and grub2; and I am a (now largely inactive) member of the team which administers the bug tracking system. I served on the Debian Technical Committee from August 2011 to March 2015.

I am married with three children.

I have held a full UK driving licence since 1996, free from endorsements.

I have a classical music background, with training in piano and cello, although these days most of my musical activity is singing; I am an occasional cantor at our local church.


1997-2000: Trinity College, Cambridge
1990-1997: Our Lady and St. Patrick's College, Knock

Academic Qualifications

12 GCSEs (9 A*s, 3 As); 4 A-levels (4 As); 1 AS (A); 2 STEPs (S in Mathematics II, 1 in Mathematics III).

BA (Hons) reading Computer Science at Trinity College, Cambridge; classed as I/I/II.2.

Copies of this CV in other formats are available at

Last modified: $Date: 2017-05-04 10:12:22 +0100 $

Colin Watson 2017-05-20