Edit: Unfortunately, the images originally included in this post are gone, because of hosting problems in late 2009. My apologies.
There is a myth that says the more deeply ingrained a person is in Windows, the less likely they are to switch to a new operating system. It’s a fairly logical assertion — if you know all the ins, outs, tweaks and gimmicks in Windows (or another OS, to be fair), re-learning isn’t going to appeal to you. FuturePilot stands in contradiction to that belief. A self-described former “Windows Power User,” his curiosity led him to Linux, then to Ubuntu — and now he hopes to one day find a profession with Linux.
Tell as much as you’re willing about your “real” life — name, age, gender, location, family, religion, profession, education, hobbies, etc.
My name is Nick. I’m a 19-year-old guy living around the Cleveland, Ohio, area. Currently I’m in college working towards a degree in Computer Networking. I would love to get a job someday working with Linux. One of my favorite hobbies is Linux. I’m always playing around with my Linux boxes. I also like to try my hand at coding. I just started learning some Ruby and Python. Although I can’t do anything complicated yet, I hope one day I might be able to write some useful little app.
I also have an interest in military aircraft, which is part of the story behind my username FuturePilot. I’ve built a few models and I also like to build and launch model rockets as well.
When and how did you become interested in computers? in Linux? in Ubuntu?
I got my first computer back around 1996. It came with Windows 95. At the time though, it was nothing more than an intriguing box that did interesting stuff. It wasn’t until around 2004 that I really started to become interested in computers. My mom had purchased a Dell Inspiron 8200 laptop and it was the first time I got to play around with the latest and greatest operating system from Microsoft; Windows XP.
I’m not sure exactly what it was, but I became very interested in the operating system. I wanted to know how the whole thing worked. What does the operating system do when you turn the computer on? How does it perform this or that function? How does a driver work? What happens if you delete this file? (Oops )
I started just playing around with the OS, learning stuff from trial and error, and reading stuff on the Internet. Eventually I became what you might call a Windows Power User.
I eventually started coming across stuff about Linux and it intrigued me. The fact that you could install a completely different OS really got my attention. But I fell under the old Linux stereotype that you have to a genius geek to even install Linux not to mention use it. So I figured I’d better make sure I have a lot of time on my hands if I want to try Linux.
I finally got my chance in June of 2006. I found an extra hard drive for that Dell Inspiron laptop and installed the latest version of FreeSpire. That only lasted about a week as I didn’t quite like it and there were some problems with it. But I didn’t write Linux off right then and there.
I had heard a lot of good things about a distro called Ubuntu, so I figured I should give that a shot. Now they say Windows Power Users can’t be converted. Well I guess miracles do happen As soon as the Ubuntu 6.06 live CD booted up, everything worked, and I fell in love. The rest is history.
When did you become involved in the forums? What’s your role there?
I first became involved in the forums in October of 2006. At first I only stopped by when I was having a problem. But by just reading through the threads, I learned a considerable amount of knowledge. Now I help solve other people’s problems. In fact, I’m still learning new things about Ubuntu.
Are you an Ubuntu member? If so, how do you contribute? If not, do you plan on becoming one?
I am currently not an Ubuntu member, but I am an Ubuntero. I would like to be an Ubuntu member some day though.
What distros do you regularly use? What software? What’s your favorite application? Your least favorite?
I mainly use Ubuntu. I have four computers and they all run some form of Ubuntu. I use a wide range of software, from productivity to multimedia to games. Some of the programs I use most often are Firefox, Evolution, Pidgin, Xchat, Exaile, Gimp, and Gnome Terminal. One of my favorite applications is Exaile. I used to use Amarok, but I never liked installing all those KDE libs. Exaile is an excellent GTK Amarok-like player. I really don’t have a least favorite though.
What’s your fondest memory from the forums, or from Ubuntu overall? What’s your worst?
There’s a lot of good memories from the forums. It’s always a good feeling when someone says thank you for helping to solve their problem. I also have a lot of good memories from the Community Cafe. I love when I read a funny thread someone posted, it brightens up my day.
My worst memory would probably have to be the time that X broke pretty badly back when I first started with Ubuntu and I had to do my first reinstall. It just kept crashing on me. I never did figure out what happened. But there were a lot of friendly people on the forums who tried to help me solve it.
What luck have you had introducing new computer users to Ubuntu?
Not much really. I try not to force anybody into it. Usually that has a bad outcome. If they’re happy with whatever OS they’re using, that’s fine by me. I will mention Ubuntu though. However, I actually have had a few people come to me asking me to install Ubuntu for them.
What would you like to see happen with Linux in the future? with Ubuntu?
I would really like to see more hardware manufacturers support Linux in the future. I would like to see Linux gain a considerable portion of the PC market share so that when you order a new computer, next to the Windows choice there will also be a Linux choice. Basically, I would like to see Bug #1 fixed.
If there was one thing you could tell all new Ubuntu users, what would it be?
Don’t give up. Stick with it. It may seem very difficult at times, but if you stick with it and get to know the ins and outs of Ubuntu, it will become like second nature. Linux really isn’t hard at all. You don’t need to be a genius geek to use it. After all, Ubuntu is “Linux for Human Beings.”