Do your own homework

We consistently have people come and ask very detailed questions in the Ubuntu Forums. That is reasonable, since it is an excellent place to get help. Occasionally, it is painfully obvious that the question(s) being asked are taken directly from a homework assignment, or something similar. The forum rules prohibit doing this, and moreso, the members of the community would rather a person actually learn the material they are expected to learn, and are willing to assist with hints or advice on where to look for help, but will almost never give direct answers to homework type questions.

We had a new example of this during this week. Someone was applying for a Linux sysadmin job and had the audacity to post the questionaire he was given by his prospective employer on our forums, asking our members to answer it for him. They didn’t, but the interviewer found the thread, and the job interview officially ended there.

See for yourself.

An interview with overdrank

This entry in our interview series was conducted about a week ago, just before overdrank was invited to become a part of the forum staff. Along with being a welcome addition to our team, Mel is another one of the wonderful “regular people” types that have come into our community, someone with no real background in techy stuff, but who has discovered that Ubuntu really is “Linux for Human Beings,” and has shown that anyone with a will and a desire can learn the system can do so. He has also demonstrated humanity to others in his willingness to share what he has learned to others who need help, and for that we are very grateful.

Tell as much as you’re willing about your “real” life – name, age, gender, location, family, religion, profession, education, hobbies, etc.

You may call me Mel, also known as overdrank. I am a 46 yr old man that resides in the N. W. Panhandle of Florida, USA. I was born and raised in this area and it appears that I will stay in the area as I have two children and two grandsons that run me ragged. 🙂

I have many beliefs and many points of views and do not wish to thrust my beliefs on anyone and expect the same in return .

I have been in construction for 28 yrs as a Supervisor/Inspector/Project Manager. I have worked for Contractors, community governments, and Engineering firms. So this has given me a well rounded background as I see the issues from all points of view. The contractor is in business to make money, the community governments position to get the most for the tax dollars and the Engineering firms have to satisfy both. This has lead me on the path to start the studies of CAD (computer-aided design) to further my career as my body has taken to much abuse. I currently work as a Customer Service Rep at Circle K Stores due to a injury that has left me partially disabled.

Hobbies are hockey, computers and reading the Dirk Pitt novels. Fishing is also a great past time here on the Gulf coast as we have the Gulf of Mexico, great rivers and lakes. My son and I have spent the past summers building what we refer to as the gowheeler. Kind of like the Monster Garage as we took a broken 4-wheeler and his go-kart and merged the two. I f you would like to see pictures then you can go here

When and how did you become interested in computers? in Linux? in Ubuntu?

I purchased my first computer in 1996 and I had to learn how to fix the computer after my step son download and installed something that broke the system (windows 95) He then progressed in computers to be a tech at a local computer store which made my learning at a rapid pace. He started using Red Hat in 2001 but I was too busy with work and family to get to involved.

I first came across Ubuntu in a magazine in the Doctor’s Office in the Fall 2006. It had some great reviews by the magazine. I was there as a result of a accident that has now left me partially disabled.

When did you become involved in the forums? What’s your role there?

I joined the forums in February Of 2007, And started observing and helping were I could. I am a member of the Beginners Team and the Unanswered Post Team.

My role there is to help the beginners transition from windows and help others mainly with installation and graphical issues. As you can see on the forums I have a high post count and average. This is due to the fact of being laid off and having surgery on my neck for the second time. Because of the lack of sleep and the discomfort of the injury I was on the forums learning and helping. I have several computer systems that I use for trying different distros and try new things I learn on the forums.

Are you an Ubuntu member? If so, how do you contribute? If not, do you plan on becoming one?

I am not a Ubuntu member but plan on becoming one in the future. The only contribution that I believe I can make is to the Forums helping others transition to Ubuntu and possibly solve some users issues. I do not have the capabilities for the coding and bug fixing so I just help to the best of my abilities due to the reasons I stated earlier.

What distros do you regularly use? What software? What’s your favorite application? Your least favorite?

I mainly use Ubuntu but there is a soft place in my heart for Mandriva. As I almost have a spare system that I install a distro on for testing and learning. I am a simple man so I do not use many apps that aren’t on the standard installation. My favorite would be Compiz-fusion. That is one of the things that converted my son and I just love the fire and rain.

What’s your fondest memory from the forums, or from Ubuntu overall? What’s your worst?

Well my fondest memory must be when bodhi.zazen welcomed me to the Beginners Team, Not to under state was the acceptance to the Unanswered Post Team.

The worst would have to be when a member receives the burned beans on the forum as this is usually a result of degrading the Mod’s and Admin of the forums.

What luck have you had introducing new computer users to Ubuntu?

I have had pretty good luck. As I stated, I converted my son and even my mother, who is 74 years old and loves Ubuntu. Her windows system received a error one day and would not boot so I instructed her over the phone how to boot into Ubuntu and she has used it everyday since. I asked if she wanted me to reinstall windows and she said no Ubuntu does all I need. 🙂 I work currently at a Circle K store and am introducing some coworkers and customers. I just purchased some cd so I can burn the Ubuntu 8.04 and distribute at work. I am also talking with management to let me have a laptop there also for show.

What would you like to see happen with Linux in the future? with Ubuntu?

Well if Linux keeps progressing as it is then I think I have nothing to worry about. I also feel the same way about Ubuntu, as many users have hardware issues I learned early off to purchase what was working by viewing and searching the forums. So maybe better hardware support.

If there was one thing you could tell all new Ubuntu users, what would it be?

Well firstly BACK UP your data. Use the forums to learn before you install along with using the live cd. It is ok to dual boot until you feel comfortable with Ubuntu and it suits your needs. Ubuntu has a learning curve and if you will stick with it I think you will be very happy. Feel free to asks questions on the forums but please be descriptive when writing the issue and search before hand because the issue probably has been asked before.

Best of Luck


An interview with the SABDFL

Our next interviewee in these Ubuntu community interviews really needs no introduction, but this is me, so I’ll write one anyway. The Self-Appointed Benevolent Dictator for Life, or SABDFL (see the bottom of the linked page), is an exceptional person. Mark Shuttleworth, in addition to being an all-around nice guy, is also a true geek at heart, with the credentials and accomplishments to prove it. I am sure you would enjoy his blog, and to answer the question on everyone’s mind, yes, he does have an Ubuntu Forums account, but he is a busy guy and isn’t able to spend much time using it. That can certainly be forgiven, as he does so many other wonderful things for our community. So, without further ado, I present one of my favorite interviews thus far.

1. Tell as much as you’re willing about your “real” life – name, age, gender, location, family, religion, profession, education, hobbies, etc.

Ubuntu is my real life!

I don’t believe in separating work and play – I try to work only on the things that are really interesting, and where I think I can make a unique difference. Last year, as a snowboarding project, I built a communications package that integrated cell, walkie-talkie and ipod into a single audio stream, with builtin microphone and speakers in the helmet. That was play, but it was also work, I learned a lot in the process.

By way of stats I suppose I would say 34, South African, straight male, London, wonder-filled-atheist (by which I mean I consider the universe to be wondrous in ways we can’t even comprehend, but I don’t think I’m made in god’s image any more than a jellyfish might be), investor-in-change, Bachelor’s in Business Science (Finance, IS), snowboarding and wine/women/song.

2. When and how did you become interested in computers? in Linux? in Ubuntu?

Computers, technology generally, and the changes they are bringing about in society, have been a fascination for me as long as I can remember. My folks bought me a chemistry set when I was a wee lad and I promptly covered the kitchen in various kinds of ash and other explosive debris. While I never managed to build a rocket engine, I spent hours trying to and loved the fact that old encyclopedias would happily give you the recipe for gunpowder, unlike today’s bland and politically correct safety-first stuff. Thank goodness for the web!

I became interested in Linux while at university. I was really interested in the net and the web, and couldn’t get Windows to do any of that properly (run a web server, even a decent browser or TCP/IP stack). So I sat down with a stack of slackware floppies and never looked back. Linux provided the canvas for me and many other entrepreneurs to draw our net dreams on, and I was luckier than most. Today, I’d like to bring that same freedom of technological expression to everyone, and that means finding a way to contribute to the spread of free software – hence Ubuntu.

Ubuntu started with the belief that we could find a business model which would let us deliver free software free of charge, unlike the existing commercial distributions, which take free software and turn it into something that only some people are allowed to use if they’ve paid the necessary fee. The key values were that it should be released on a predictable schedule, should be part of the Debian family, should always deliver the very best of the free software stack in a nicely integrated stack, should be governed as a community independent of the company(s) that back it, and should be available free of charge, with all security updates, for a long enough period that it’s actually useful as a commercial, production platform. I would credit the whole Ubuntu community with helping to turn those ideals into a real, and quite remarkable, product.

3. When did you become involved in the forums (or the Ubuntu community)? What’s your role there?

I lead the Community Council, which is the group entrusted with the “constitutional” issues in Ubuntu. We are responsible for governance in the project at large, and we delegate authority to the leaders in each part of the community who are most competent to be responsible for that piece.

I’d never used a web forum before Ubuntu. Ryan Troy really got the Forums going in 2004, and did a great job of building a community and a leadership team there, that is now the Forums Council [Ryan Troy is also known as ubuntu-geek, ed.]. We worked to integrate that into the broader Ubuntu community governance structure, and I’m delighted with the results. There’s a huge amount of activity in the forums, and I would like to make sure that the people who contribute there are recognised widely within the community for that contribution. For example, we really should have Community Karma for folks who post in the forums – that’s been discussed for a long time, but never fully implemented in Launchpad.

4. Are you an Ubuntu member? If so, how do you contribute? If not, do you plan on becoming one?

Yes, mainly though time and effort on CC issues as well as helping to fund Canonical’s activity in the community.

5. What distros do you regularly use? What software? What’s your favorite application? Your least favorite?

Only Ubuntu. I also use a Mac at home and Windows on occasion. My favourite application is bzr, because I have worked closely with the leaders in that community and feel some fatherly influence on its growth and development. I’m really interested in how Canonical and Ubuntu can help to pioneer genuinely better practices in the state fo the art of software, and Bzr is a wonderful contribution to that which I hope will make a big difference across the whole of the open source ecosystem, including other distributions.

My least favourite app… probably GCC, just because I don’t have the clarity of engineering to work in C! I think it’s a great pity that Objective C hasn’t taken root more deeply in the free software world. My ideal development environment would have elements of Python syntax all the way from the shell, through the script (Python) and down to the fastest-compiled language.

6. What’s your fondest memory from the forums, or from Ubuntu overall? What’s your worst?

My favourite memories are stories of how people are using Ubuntu. Often, I’m with folks wearing Ubuntu t-shirts walking in the street, and we get stopped by other people who say “Man, I love Ubuntu”, and what I find fascinating about it is that they are in the most amazing spread of professions, from taxi drivers to librarians and musicians. My worst memories… I think the open source community has a dangerous habit of reserving the nastiest vitriol for factions of itself. I always find it disappointing when one group of open source folks is really nasty about another group. We have bigger fish to fry.

7. What luck have you had introducing new computer users to Ubuntu?

Rather a lot!

8. What would you like to see happen with Linux in the future? with Ubuntu?

I’d like to see free software become the de facto standard way “people do software”, and I hope Ubuntu is making a big contribution in that regard.

9. If there was one thing you could tell all new Ubuntu users, what would it be?

Share it! Help other users to gain the confidence with free software that they need to try it in ever more demanding environments.

If you enjoyed this interview, please accept our invitation to read the others in the series, both on this blog, and it the series’ previous home.

Respect is something that must be earned

I disagree. Respect is something you choose to give. It is not based on achievement. It is not based on personality. Respect is given because you value people. Inherently.

A position may be earned. A title. Leadership. However, respect is something that we choose to give.

People who are respected tend to behave in a manner worthy of how they are being treated. Obviously, that is not universal, but it is common enough to be worth noting. If you want people to behave well and treat others around you with kindness and gentleness, then treat them well. Do unto others…

There is another misconception about respect. Sometimes, people get the idea that one must always agree when showing respect. That is not true. It is very possible, and fruitful, to disagree and even argue in a manner that demonstrates politeness and consideration. If you value someone, you will want to tell them the truth. You will want to share your opinions with them honestly and completely. That can be done without berating the person, without insulting them or their opinions, and without causing hurt, guilt or shame.

It disappoints me when I hear people say, “I don’t respect the position, the uniform, or the title. If this guy wants my respect, he will have to earn it.” Respect may be earned by those who excel at something. However, this is not the foundation. We start by treating all people well, but we may find there are some who represent ideals in life that we wish to strive for ourselves, and who we wish to honor further. That is what “earning respect” is all about.

If someone needs to earn your respect, then you do not actually respect the person, you are only respecting their achievement, talent, or attirbutes. If you respect a person, you choose to do so without regard to what they have or have not done. Respecting their achievement, talent, or attributes is another thing entirely, and while this is not bad, it has very little to do with respecting the actual person.

An interview with forestpixie

Those who have followed our interviews for a while will recall that we like to highlight people from many different backgrounds, levels of technical proficiency, and experience with Linux. Why? Because this gives a real cross section of one of the more beautiful aspects of the Ubuntu community–we are a well-rounded and diverse bunch with perspectives and backgrounds that are not as common in other Linux communities as a result of the focus on accessibility to technology that has always been at the forefront of the Ubuntu philosophy of Linux for Human Beings.

Okay, it is time for our first interview victim, *ahem* I mean volunteer, in this project’s new location. Today we highlight forestpixie, a man who was originally hesitant to be interviewed because he didn’t feel he had an adequate geek status, and who I felt should be included for just that reason. Kev represents one of the many sorts of people whom we welcome in the Ubuntu Forums, and in the larger Ubuntu community; people who want their computers to “just work” securely, easily, and well. Enjoy!

1. Tell as much as you’re willing about your “real” life – name, age, gender, location, family, religion, profession, education, hobbies, etc.

Hi, my name is Kev, I’m a 45 year old atheist and divorced unfortunately; I have 3 children, 2 of who are quite grown and have flown the nest – the other is 8 and lives with me, so I am one of the ubiquitous UK single parents. At the moment I am trying very hard to get back into the workplace after 4 years out – although I’m trying to change profession as well. I apprenticed straight out of school as an aircraft wireman and over the next 20 years I worked in similar fields ending up at a small company making harnesses for some quite diverse customers – from small personal hovercraft to sports cars.

I live in the south of England close to the New Forest, which is a forest in the King’s hunting ground sense. It has very little in the way of trees and is in fact for the most part lowland heath – some of the UK’s 20% of the global lowland heath environment left.

About 8 years ago I was made redundant, again, but rather than look for work I took the chance to further my education, as I’d not been able to do so when I left school. So I enrolled in a degree course at a local university and did Heritage Conservation, using my knowledge of the area I live in when it came to write my dissertation, one of my local Wildlife Trusts provided me with an area to work in and they have my research on restoring heathland. Since then I have tried to keep my mind active with various courses at my local college while my youngest was growing up, now she is old enough for me to carry on with the rest of my life.

My only real hobby at the moment is playing around with the 3 ‘buntus and trying to learn more about it.

2. When and how did you become interested in computers? in Linux? in Ubuntu?

I’ve never got into programming any computers, when Commodores and the like appeared in the early 80’s I was not interested in them, so I’ve only ever used computers as tools. Though I think I might start to look at programming, just to see what it’s about really.

Computers came quite late into my life, I suppose I first used computers when I started my apprenticeship – we used  tape run DITMCO testing equipment to emulate the rest of the aircraft wiring. Once I left there I had little to do with computers until a company I was working for started to use a DOS based production software, it wasn’t until the mid 90’s that I bothered at all at home – although the first one I did have I built myself, since then I’ve become  a bit more involved as I have ended up being maintenance for family and friends.

I remember when I started to look at Linux, in fact one of the first I looked at was Dapper Drake, at the same I got  Debian, Gentoo (not knowing 🙂 ) and Fedora discs through a website somewhere – at the time I was using a USB modem – I tried, I really tried, probably not for long enough though,  then gave up. Then I downloaded Topologilinux to run inside windows, I guess that maybe came before wubi – my word that was fun, anyway I really couldn’t get my head round the commands needed to get the modem to run and I wasn’t too sure about changing the firmware, so I left it all alone for another day.

Another day came when I changed to a router and I tried the Dapper cd again, it connected to the net without any problem, so I downloaded Feisty from windows and dual booted for a while before I finally got rid of windows completely.

The next step will probably be to look at different distros, maybe some of the ‘harder’ ones – just to see if the grass really is greener…

3. When did you become involved in the forums? What’s your role there?

I became involved in the forum on the first day that I installed Feisty – I needed a question answering after I installed it and found the answer quite quickly with a search, shortly after followed my first threads – one a real question, the second on how to bump, it was the first time I’d used a forum and really couldn’t work that out.

I have no formal role on the forum, in common with most of the users there, but I do visit very regularly during the day and when I can help I do so; I haven’t yet got the knowledge to deal with the more exotic problems so reading the replies on these is good for me as well. Of course following other peoples problems should enhance your own understanding – although nothing beats having a broken system which needs to be fixed as a learning tool.

4. Are you an Ubuntu member? If so, how do you contribute? If not, do you plan on becoming one?

No I’m not and don’t plan to become one, at least not in the foreseeable future.

5. What distros do you regularly use? What software? What’s your favorite application? Your least favorite?

Are all the *buntu’s different distros? I regularly use Ubuntu as I prefer it to the others, I do have Kubuntu and Xubuntu installed as virtual machines which I use to play with both for me and to use when I’m trying to help others. I will be installing Intrepid on a spare partition in the next week or so, to look at that and maybe get a bit more involved.

The software I use most are music players – which is currently a bit of a bugbear for me – Pulseaudio seems to have thrown Amarok a bit and it pops and crackles more than a bowl of cereal – so I’m using others – and Exaile, Banshee don’t like starting from where playlists were stopped. At the moment I’m using Audacious which does what it says on the box without any extra noise thrown in 🙂

OpenOffice wasn’t new to me as I was using it long before I finally turned up at the door here – at the moment I have OO2 installed but have been using the OO3 beta for a couple of months now with no hiccups. Firefox is the same, I used it in windows – although I have to say it hasn’t been a bed of roses since Hardy and I’ve now gone to Opera for the time being, perhaps I’ll not bother with it again.

I don’t have a favourite application as such – although the music starts in the morning and goes off at night – computers and software are just tools to me, similarly I don’t have a least favourite application – although Character Map probably comes quite close.

6. What’s your fondest memory from the forums, or from Ubuntu overall? What’s your worst?

Other than the first helpful reply I received and first thanks I got for my help I think that my fondest and worst memory are inextricably linked – and those who know me will have a pretty good idea what is coming next 😀

In June I came across a thread where a user had sadly died and his widow was trying to get his account dealt with as per his last wishes, as it had no reply I replied and also reported it so that it would be moved and dealt with by those who can. One staff member moved it, then an admin closed the users account, and mine got caught up accidentally. I got logged of and couldn’t log back in – over the next 30 minutes I ended up with another 3 accounts trying to get to the bottom of what had happened as I kept not being able to log them in either – a catalogue of errors on my part that was.

Eventually, after a few days, I was told by matthew that they couldn’t bring back my old account –  sorry and all that 🙁 , so I’d now lost all my beans and my thanks and was left with a start date of June 2008, very few beans as most of the posts had been in the Forum Feedback forum, no custom title and I was now forestpixie2 and okthinkigivingup depending on my mood, forestpixie3 had the wrong e-mail set so I couldn’t get at the account 😳

So I was left not being able to access any of my old posts or threads which was a bit uncool to say the least.

Matthew did change my user back to forestpixie as a name – he also offered to put my beans back, but as they would revert to the ‘real’ new account count on maintenance it did seem a bit pointless, he gave me the custom title option back – so that’s good, and most importantly changed my start date to 2007 again. It was quite amusing really, one day people read my solutions as I had a whole bunch of beans ( even though they are meaningless) and had been around for a while, the next day with a start date of June 2008 and less than 50 beans I was roundly ignored.

But I’m me again – just plain old forestpixie – still with only a few beans, but I got my title and start date and as a bonus I don’t have a bean image on my user and I haven’t seen anyone on the forum like that !

So all in all it was quite good fun at the time and accidents do happen, if they didn’t they would be called deliberate, it was no-ones fault and I would go through the same exercise in the same way if I needed to.

So I hope that adminX, if it was him, doesn’t think in any way that I blame him – I really don’t, the most important thing was that the widow got her wish and for that I’m glad I reported the thread.

The support that I got from many users while I was in a state of flux was a real high point, it will always remain with me so for all of that and more – I thank you 🙂

7. What luck have you had introducing new computer users to Ubuntu?

Quite a bit, I look after probably a dozen pc’s for friends, family and acquaintances – most of them have moved over after being left with a dualboot for a while – which makes it sooo much easier now I don’t worry quite so much about spyware and malware. One of the best has to be the one who is trying to get his head around vista after Win95 – he hates vista can’t get anything done, because he can’t find anything – he never had the gradual change through Win98, 2000 and XP, he loves using Ubuntu though.

I’m not much of a one for trying to push people towards anything though and while I’m quite happy to set up dualboots for people, it’s up to them afterwards.

As I get further in time from using windows myself it gets harder to remember the answer to phone queries , although maybe that is age, so the more of them who use Ubuntu the more likely they are to get a sensible answer from me, which I guess helps their decision along a little bit.

8. What would you like to see happen with Linux in the future? with Ubuntu?

I’d like to see Linux get real access to hardware drivers from all suppliers, but I haven’t been around long enough to give a particularly insightful answer to that one.

I’d like to see Ubuntu flourish and grow generally, but I wish that the fascination with eye candy could be put behind the need to get more widespread hardware support; luckily I’ve not needed to try for wireless – but I do shudder at the thought of trying. I turn Compiz off, although I did have a little play around, so am not too bothered 🙂 and like my desktop to be nice and simple as you can tell. (Screenshot here.)

9. If there was one thing you could tell all new Ubuntu users, what would it be?

How about 2 things? Firstly that there are no ogres, the odd troll floating about, but mostly that it’s a friendly place where people will try their hardest to help, especially if you’ve tried to search for a solution yourself. Secondly – that ‘help I’m a noob’  is not very useful as a thread title 🙂

Introducing Ubuntu Community Interviews

Since September 2007, my friend and co-worker in the Ubuntu Forums, K.Mandla, has been doing interviews with forum members on his blog, Motho ke motho ka botho, giving all of us an opportunity to get to know some of the people who are consistently helpful and friendly contributors to our community. This has been a fun way to introduce the wonderful members of our worldwide forum community to one another in a little bit deeper way, with posts coming once every two to six weeks*, depending on the time of year, how busy everyone is, and how easy or difficult it is to get a response at a given time.

A large number of the forum staff have already been interviewed, as well as many of the most popular and helpful members of our forum community. Many current forum members have been around since the forums’ inception, the same month that Ubuntu itself started, October 2004, and have become fixtures in the community, so they were the ones we started with. Others are much newer, but bring a new energy and life to the community that longs to be shared. Some interviewees are Ubuntu members, others 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.

Of late, K.Mandla has found himself taking on more and more responsibility in the real world. This has the downside of forcing him to release this project to someone else so that he may continue to be a consistent contributor in the forums community, helping new users with problems and helping keep the forums community clean and welcoming for newcomers. The positive side of him stepping down is this, I get to be the one to continue the project.

As I take this over, I would like to expand the interviews to include people from the larger Ubuntu community as well, some who are well-known, and others who have been mostly anonymous so far. I will continue to focus on people with a consistent and positive presence in the Ubuntu Forums, as that is my main role in the wider community and where I know the most people, however, I don’t want to limit us to only including forums people. So, to all of my friends on Planet Ubuntu, we would love to include you in the project so you may find an email from me in your inbox someday asking if you are interested in participating (I’m also open to volunteers, so feel free to email me).

The bottom line reason for doing these interviews is that everyone has a life beyond the nickname and avatar that we see, and it’s interesting to find out a little bit more about the human being behind the screen, the blog, or the reputation. To that end, I’m picking up on an idea that was borrowed from an idea originally suggested by forum staff member extraordinaire aysiu, and given legs by K.Mandla. I will be asking the same simple series of nine open-ended questions.

  1. Tell as much as you’re willing about your “real life” like 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 (or the Ubuntu community)? 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. Replies are only edited for punctuation, grammar or clarity, and so what you read is what they responded.

* Just in case anyone gets scared that I am about to flood the Planet Ubuntu feed with these interviews, let me ease your mind. I will be keeping to a similar schedule of one interview every two to six weeks, give or take. That should be infrequent enough for disinterested people to ignore them easily.

Early responses can be found here on K.Mandla’s site, including my interview last November.

EDIT/UPDATE: I have had a wonderful time leading and hosting these interviews, but time constraints in real life compel me to pass the project on to a new leader. Joe Barker is that person and I’m sure he will do a fabulous job on his blog. Thanks to all who have participated during my time! I appreciate it!!

All contributors whose interviews have been posted here on Matthew Helmke (dot) Net from 07/2008 to 08/2009 are listed below, in chronological order.


Mark Shuttleworth, SABDFL


Alan Pope

John Crawford



Nicolas Valcárcel






Travis Newman