Edit: Unfortunately, the images originally included in this post are gone, because of hosting problems in late 2009. My apologies.
Ubuntu’s popularity is not confined to any single location, or for that matter, any single culture. Another community member with a European passport is PartisanEntity — an Austrian, a Muslim and a forum moderator. With interests that range from history to religion to sports to technology, PE is another free software advocate who contributes to projects within and without the Ubuntu sphere.
Tell as much as you’re willing about your “real” life — name, age, gender, location, family, religion, profession, education, hobbies, etc.
Well, I am an Austrian, and in my late twenties. I work for the City of Vienna Administration in an EU project and am currently also doing an internship at UNEP. I am Muslim. Soon I will start a BA in Multimedia Arts.
My hobbies are reading (mostly history, religion and politics), travelling, sports (I go to the gym about three times a week), computers (of course) and I enjoy listening to music of all genres, my favourites however are electronica and ambient.
When and how did you become interested in computers? in Linux? in Ubuntu?
Like most of us, I have always been interested in computers. The very first computer I played around with was a Commodore C64, which we still have somewhere in the attic. I had a book that contained games you had to program yourself, I remember the frustration of sitting there for ages typing in code only to find that I had made a mistake somewhere and the game wouldn’t run.
The next computer my family bought was a Highscreen, some no-name brand. I think it had a Pentium processor and came with Windows 98, which I later upgraded to Windows 98SE. We used this for around 8-9 years and then my parents bought a Dell. This one came with Windows XP and still works quite nicely.
As far as Linux is concerned, I have always been interested in it. But up until about 2-3 years ago I did not have my own computer to experiment with. Several years ago I did receive a Knoppix LiveCD, which I tried out, but it did not have the right resolution, and the design, colours and theme looked terrible, so I assumed Linux to be quite primitive.
About one and half years ago, while chatting to some friends and voicing frustration about some problems I was having with XP, a friend mentioned he had heard of a new Linux OS called Ubuntu.
I had a look at some of the screenshots, read through some articles and immediately fell in love with it. This gave me the necessary drive to try it out (plus I finally had my own computer, a laptop, to play around with). My Ubuntu experience started with Dapper. The first couple of weeks were very frustrating. I could not get my wifi to work (my main method of connecting to the internet) due to the Broadcom card in my laptop. I was close to giving up, but finally it worked.
Since then it’s been nothing but a positive experience. I have never been one to make a hype about software, I simply use it. But with Ubuntu I can say that I really enjoy using the operating system. It’s a funny feeling.
When did you become involved in the forums? What’s your role there?
I joined the forum in November of 2006, pretty much as soon as I started using Ubuntu. Several months later, to my surprise, I was asked if I wanted to volunteer as a moderator, I was honoured and accepted.
Are you an Ubuntu member? If so, how do you contribute? If not, do you plan on becoming one?
I am not an Ubuntu member and I do not intend on becoming one. For me software and computers are tools, not lifestyles or philosophies.
What distros do you regularly use? What software? What’s your favorite application? Your least favorite?
I use only Ubuntu, I have not tried any other distribution yet. Ubuntu meets my needs perfectly. I also have an installation of Windows XP, running on Virtualbox, which I use for work related tasks. My favourite application is Evolution, I use it heavily. I can’t really think of a least favourite application.
What’s your fondest memory from the forums, or from Ubuntu overall? What’s your worst?
My fondest experience is a reoccurring one; it’s the level of activity, harmony and help. I have rarely seen such a helpful community.
What luck have you had introducing new computer users to Ubuntu?
During my initial Ubuntu phase, I was constantly raving about Ubuntu. I ordered 10 Ubuntu (Edgy at the time) CD’s and handed them out to my best friends and relatives. My brother was caught by the Ubuntu fever and he has gone overboard now by using Windows XP, Ubuntu as well as Mac :). I have also had some luck with one friend of mine, who is using Ubuntu, as well as the brother of another friend.
Today I prefer to keep quiet about it and only discuss the topic of operating systems if someone instigates a discussion.
What would you like to see happen with Linux in the future? with Ubuntu?
This is a good question and I think it’s hard to answer in a way that satisfies all.
A greater pooling of resources. Less mini-projects and distributions and more work developing the established projects and distributions.
I know this won’t go down well with all, and I am not proposing the eradication of competition and diversity. But I would like to see less fragmentation. CompizFusion is an example of what I don’t think is good for Linux. Forking off to create minimal changes or similar work is a waste of energy. Luckily both teams decided to work together in the end.
Just because I have the freedom to download someone’s source code and to make minimal changes does not mean it’s a good idea. Why not join the project and add your ideas to them? This of course requires flexibility from project managers as well.
If there was one thing you could tell all new Ubuntu users, what would it be?
Be patient, slow down and don’t give up. Post feedback in the forums to inform members if their advice helped solve your problems. Make heavy use of the ‘solved thread’ feature in the forum. This helps others look for verified solutions. Last but not least, if possible, contribute some of your time to help test, report bugs or write up and translate wikis and tutorials.
PartisanEntity writes the CognitiveCombine.com blog, which, as a side note, includes some very attractive WordPress themes. For more interviews with forum staff and members, read Nine Simple Questions.