Nine simple questions

In October, Ubuntu has a birthday, and soon after comes another — for the Ubuntu Forums.

Many current forum members have been around since the inception, and as a result have become fixtures in the community. Some are Ubuntu members, some aren’t. Some are Linux system administrators, some are homemakers. Some are rabid technophiles, some are free software purists — and some just want to check their e-mail in a safe and stable way.

In other words, everyone has a life beyond a nickname and an avatar, and it’s sometimes interesting to find out who’s behind the screen.

To that end, I’m borrowing an idea originally suggested by aysiu, and starting some interviews with staff members and forum veterans, asking a series of nine open-ended questions.

  1. Tell as much as you’re willing about your “real” life — name, age, gender, location, family, religion, profession, education, hobbies, etc.
  2. When and how did you become interested in computers? in Linux? in Ubuntu?
  3. When did you become involved in the forums? What’s your role there?
  4. Are you an Ubuntu member? If so, how do you contribute? If not, do you plan on becoming one?
  5. What distros do you regularly use? What software? What’s your favorite application? Your least favorite?
  6. What’s your fondest memory from the forums, or from Ubuntu overall? What’s your worst?
  7. What luck have you had introducing new computer users to Ubuntu?
  8. What would you like to see happen with Linux in the future? with Ubuntu?
  9. If there was one thing you could tell all new Ubuntu users, what would it be?

The questions are intentionally generic; that gives everyone a common ground to start with, and allows them to direct their replies in whatever way they see fit. Interviewees can answer as fully or as briefly as they like, and might even skip questions. Their replies are only edited for punctuation, grammar or clarity, and so what you read is what they responded.

Update, 3 July 2008:

Unfortunately, real life events have convinced me that I need to pass this project on to someone with more time available. Matthew Helmke has agreed to manage it from now on, and as I discussed here, I think it’s a great opportunity for the project to become even more of a fixture in the Ubuntu community.

Below is a list of the 35 interviews I conducted between the project’s inception in September 2007, to the last in June 2008. Thanks, everybody! :D

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42 thoughts on “Nine simple questions

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