You might take it for granted that young people comprise a part of the Ubuntu community. You might not be aware that some forum staff members are still in their teens. jacobmp92 is one of a few moderators yet to reach the age of majority, but is fulfilling a considerable responsibility as a forum volunteer. This Ohioan has made many contributions to the Ubuntu community and LoCo support, and continues to draw new users in tech classes and elsewhere. Please meet the illustrious jacobmp92. …
Tell as much as you’re willing about your “real” life — name, age, gender, location, family, religion, profession, education, hobbies, etc.
My name is Jacob Peddicord, and I’m a 16-year old male in central Ohio, U.S. If you haven’t guessed by my age, I’m a student. I’m not lying about my age either, as many think I am. Just ask those from the Ohio LoCo!
I love to program and debug my programming errors, no matter how long it takes. After finally figuring something out, it also feels good to go play a game or two, either on my laptop or Wii. And when I’m done with games, I go back to programming. Add school, sleep and food in there, and you have my daily schedule.
When and how did you become interested in computers? in Linux? in Ubuntu?
I first got into Linux when searching for a new web host about five years ago. The fact that I could control a system just by typing commands into a black box was amazing. A few months later, I tried SUSE Linux with KDE. I was pretty confused by the fact that everything was installed as packages, and that there were no installers. The concept of root got me too. But once I had those two concepts down, I began to look into new operating systems to see what the differences were.
Soon after, I heard of a new operating system release known as Ubuntu 6.06 that had been getting a lot of media hype. I’ll admit: the Human theme had me hooked, and I wanted to give it a go just for that look. And so I bought into that hype, and installed Ubuntu over my entire drive, completely abandoning Windows and SUSE. Now, I’m an avid GNOME user, but I still do the same things I used to do years ago: mess around and program.
When did you become involved in the forums? What’s your role there?
A few months after I started with Ubuntu, I started poking around on the forums, answering a few questions here and there, and asking my own. I had an obsession with looking for unanswered posts at the time, before that feature was really announced. I guess you could say I abused the search form.
Strangely enough, an announcement was posted about new forum support teams, and when I saw the Unanswered Posts Team announcement I immediately applied. A while later, I was the new leader.
Fast-forward a year, and there is a nice big Unanswered Posts team of a lot of very active members. Unfortunately, due to my randomly changing schedules at the time, I was not very active at all myself, and so I decided to transfer team leadership to ajmorris, who currently leads the team (very well, I might add). Right now, I’m simply on forum staff.
Are you an Ubuntu member? If so, how do you contribute? If not, do you plan on becoming one?
Yep, under the Launchpad account of jpeddicord. When I first applied, I made a lot of contributions towards the development of LoCo websites through a few Drupal LoCo packs and a LoCo support module, but I don’t maintain those anymore. Currently I’m helping on the forums (obviously), the Ohio LoCo, and a few bug triages or patch here and there. Eventually I’d like to do some MOTU work, but that isn’t on my short-term goal list.
What distros do you regularly use? What software? What’s your favorite application? Your least favorite?
Ubuntu 8.04 at home (to be 8.10 next week — oh my!) and Windows/Ubuntu combination at school. I run the GNOME desktop with full Compiz bling. I used to run Firefox, but now I use Epiphany due to Firefox 3b5′s persistent eating of the CPU. My favorite app would probably be Epiphany as well. There are so many little features that are in Epiphany that make you think “Oh, that’s really cool. Why don’t other browsers have this?” My least favorite is actually OpenOffice. Sure, I need it, but version 2.4 seems slower than ever. What is with all of this slow new software? Did I miss the meme?
What’s your fondest memory from the forums, or from Ubuntu overall? What’s your worst?
There are a lot of good memories from the forums. I definitely liked the forum upgrade, not only because of the new look and features, but from the reactions of the users. It’s been a month, get over it!
My worst memory would be difficult. There haven’t been too many bad memories I’ve experienced yet, though it is always sad to see a once-active member leave the forums all of a sudden.
What luck have you had introducing new computer users to Ubuntu?
A lot. Some may say I’ve been cheating, because just by distributing CDs at a tech class I am able to convert users fairly quickly. At one point, when trying to install Ubuntu alongside Vista, myself and the person eventually gave up after at least 10 reboots in an hour trying to get chkdsk to run on Windows. A day later, that person called to tell me that they were using Ubuntu 100% and hasn’t had a problem since.
What would you like to see happen with Linux in the future? with Ubuntu?
There is always the ubiquitous goal of “Linux on the Desktop,” but I don’t think that will ever happen. Why? Linux is on the desktop. People are using it. It’s just a matter of introducing new people to Ubuntu and the free software world. There isn’t one day that Linux suddenly “wins,” there is just time when more and more people begin to use it.
The same applies to Ubuntu. The distribution is already the most popular among Linux distros, it’s just a matter of showing it around and helping people out.
To be more specific, I’d like to see some game developers at least take a look at developing on Linux and free platforms. There is so much potential of having Linux-based games, open-source or not. The incentive for the developer would be no licensing or platform fees, and at the same time be able to port their game to many other systems.
If there was one thing you could tell all new Ubuntu users, what would it be?
Don’t be afraid to try new things. Seriously, I’m 16 and I call myself a pretty good programmer. I don’t think I could say that if I hadn’t found out about Ubuntu or Linux. Not only are there good tools out there for developing on Linux, there is an excellent community always willing to help. That doesn’t mean you should instantly alter everything you do, but just get out there and have a look at what there is to do, and then do it.