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An interview with John Crawford

Welcome to the next installment of Ubuntu Community Interviews. Today we are highlighting John Crawford, an Ubuntu Member, a leader in the Arizona LoCo Team, one of the co-editors of the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, and the editor for the Ubuntu Fridge.

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

I’m John Crawford (johnc4510), a 55 year old male, living in Arizona. I was once married, but I have been single for so long now that I really don’t even remember it. 🙂 I grew up in Missouri which accounts for what I call my “hick” accent. I’ve had several hobbies over the years, but Ubuntu seems to have replaced them all.

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

I got my first computer experiences in the work place, but didn’t have one for home use until 1985. It was a basic machine and didn’t have a very fast processor. I used it mostly for web surfing, email, etc. I became interested in Linux sometime in early 2005. I was just looking for a better alternative to Windows, and happened upon the DistroWatch website. I tried a few different flavors of Linux but settled on Ubuntu for several reasons. It seemed to work with my hardware well, anything that didn’t work right off I was able to make work with help from the forums. I was also very impressed with the community, no rants, or telling you how stupid you were.

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

My transition to helping on the forums was kind of a natural thing. It was where I learned about our operating system, and I felt I might be able to give back some of the great tips and help I had received. I’m not as active on the forums as I used to be, but I do moderate the Arizona thread, the US Teams thread, and the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter thread. I wish I had more time to devote to the forums but other Ubuntu tasks have pulled me in other directions.

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

I am an Ubuntu Member, and very proud of that fact. In addition to the moderating of forum threads I listed above, I’m a founding member and team leader of the Arizona LoCo team, a co-editor of the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, and an editor for the Fridge. I’m not the most technical Linux user around, so I try to find other places that I can do something to contribute back to the community.

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

Ubuntu is my #1 distro! I have a partition on my desktop box that I use to play around with other distros, or alpha versions of Ubuntu, but I have never found another distro that I like as much as Ubuntu. My favorite software applications are: irssi, screen, Liferea(news reader), Deluge BitTorrent, Exaile music player, Htop, ssh, Synaptic Package Mgr. and GDebi Package Mgr. My least favorite software application is probably Thunderbird. Now, before I get flamed, you should know that I use it everyday and it works great. So why is it my least favorite, it’s because I hate email.

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

My best memories on the forums, or with Ubuntu, are centered around the great friendships I have made. I don’t think I have ever been associated with a better group of people than the Ubuntu/Forums community. I have only had one bad experience during my 3+ year association with Ubuntu, and I won’t go into it. Let’s just say you can’t always milk the cow without getting kicked, and I figure one problem is a drop in the bucket so to speak.

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

The Arizona LoCo has been a very active group, so I’d have to say I’ve been lucky at introducing new computer users to Ubuntu. Our release parties, installfests, and conferences have enabled not only myself, but our team to introduce new people to Ubuntu. We have helped users from 14-65, and even a hearing impaired gentleman to experience what we all believe to be the best operating system available today.

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

I would hope that not only Ubuntu, but Linux continue to make headway in the desktop/server markets. Ubuntu has a great product, a fantastic community, and a bright future. I would love to see less arguing over who has the best operating system, and better coordination between the many Linux distributions. I try very hard to get the point across to people that “it’s not what operating system you use, it’s that you use Linux, the free operating system.”

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

I use this phrase a lot with new users: “Don’t be afraid to get in there a try new things you’re not sure about.” I tend to find that most people are a little scared of Ubuntu, or Linux at first, but once they start experimenting with it, well you can almost see the joy on their face when they accomplish something they never thought they could do. It’s a very satisfying thing to me.

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