An interview with tinivole

We have a musician to interview in this edition of our Ubuntu Community Interviews. Unsurprisingly, tinivole is also a pretty good guy and a wonderful addition to our forum staff. I think you will enjoy this conversation.

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

My real name is Iain Buclaw. I was born in Surrey, 1989, and am currently living in the West Midlands, UK. I have a European bound family with heritage roots from Italy and Poland, to which I’ve picked up enough of the Polish language to survive if I were ever to visit the country. My strengths are in Studio Engineering/Production and IT Support/Analyst roles; I am yet to decide which one to take on as a full-time career. I have vendor IT qualifications in CompTIA A+, Network+; Microsoft Certified DST; and Linux LPIC1. In my spare time I am a hobbyist programmer of the C and Perl languages, and spend whenever I can thrashing out Jazz/Rock on guitars.

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

I was a Music Recordist before I was a Computer Enthusiast, ever since the age of 12 using Cool Edit Pro2, and later Adobe Audition to record, track, layer and mix my own songs. That was until one day I had a sudden epiphany which motivated myself to learn programming. Of course, this sort of change didn’t happen over night, but after hours of playing with, and enjoying a software I bought called QuantumFX; which in a nutshell is a 5th Generation Programming IDE for making custom audio VST effect plugins, ranging from simple delays, to complex amp simulators.

At 16, I joined a Music Technology and an A Level Computing course at my local college. The practical elements of Computing were great, despite the course language of choice, VB6. That with added theory work in networking, programming paradigms and operating systems led me to stumble upon debian.org for the first time in my life, although it was to take another year before I initially installed my first Debian system. In the meantime, however, the course eventually because monotonous, so I ended up dropping out later during the second year, but continued on to get a BTEC Diploma in Music Technology.

By the time I had switch completely 100% Debian, Ubuntu Hardy Alpha1 was released, which just so happened to be the first time Ubuntu worked completely out of the box on my desktop system. The rest is history.

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

Almost immediately as I had installed Hardy Alpha1. Initially, I had a few questions to ask here and there about the operating system, and in the time waiting for replies, idolised by reading other support threads, occasionally answering to some of them. Over time as the number of solved posts increased, so did my enthusiasm to help/teach people.

After about 5 months of answering support threads, and some bumps into forum conversation with vor (aka sdennie) later, I received a private message from Joeb inviting me to join the Beginners Team. Since joining, I have seen the team grow and evolve from around a dozen active members to what now must be 40-50 active members. I now give support on both IRC and Forums, and have gotten involved in the Beginners-Dev and IRC Focus Groups within the BT team. Also, I would have been a key player in the Stalkers FG too, if such a FG existed, which it doesn’t.

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

I’m not currently a member, but I suppose, like many, it is something that I would like to apply for in the interim future. I haven’t really gotten involved in any LoCo group yet due to geographic constraints, but it’s something that may begin to happen as I relocate to better suited areas of Britain.

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

I run Debian 5.0 and Ubuntu 9.04, both installed from a Net boot disk, both of which are running 2.6.29 kernels with patches for real-time computing. Something I’ve slowly been adding to is to make a small recording studio setup in Linux without the bloat that other Studio distributions seem to be included with.

My favourite programs are vim and perl, if I were to naturally follow in the path of sdennie. I also have a liking to my own adapted version of an old abandoned pseudo C interpreter. kvm is another one for the good books, especially when used as a machine to test fixes/solutions before posting them. And ardour is a another brilliant application that deserves merit too. I don’t generally have a least favourite.

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

Every time sdennie kicks me from a channel would be my fondest moment, more-so now as I can kick him back. Compiledkernel is another fond memory too, I always enjoy it when he is around IRC talking to new users. I can’t think of any notable things that happened on the forums, although nowadays I find myself digging up more and more old threads I posted solutions in. Be that a good thing or bad thing.

The first week of being a moderator on the forums and all the anxiousness that came with it was perhaps one of the worst weeks. There is a lot to take in, and quite steep amount of adjusting to do. The first time I confused Edit and Quote was a notable experience to elevate that, although perhaps quite humorous now I look back on it. My time on the forums since has only gotten better as my confidence grows in making important decisions, I now have a deep respect for the staff, and understand their sometimes undervalued role.

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

Haven’t really introduced Ubuntu to any new users as of yet, although I’ve had plenty of conversations with people who are either aware of Ubuntu, own a CD, or have tried it out in a VM, but haven’t yet taken the leap onto trying it out on a real partition yet. Have even had an interview where the interviewer was an Ubuntu user, which was fun. Since joining the BT and Forum staff, I have always included my voluntary work on my CV, and interviewers always pick it out first. I feel it is important for them to understand just what it takes to be in such a role.

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

Further adoption and growth. Perhaps not on the Desktop for the time being, but in every other nook and corner of the Computer world.

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

Although we have collaborative works such as Ubuntu nowadays, it is always important to consider your own learning ability before trying out a new operating system. The Study Skills Handbook by Stella Cottrell is one such book I’d recommend to people looking to optimise their own learning abilities, as it has, at the very least, played a vital part in my education.

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