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An interview with Michael.Godawski

Michael.Godawski is a great example of what makes the Ubuntu Forums so special. This is why I chose him for the next installment in our Ubuntu Community Interviews series. Michael started in the forums and in the Ubuntu community as a Linux novice and has progressed to being a consistently helpful contributing member, assisting new users with their problems and being a positive example of kindness and gentleness, combined with competence. It is people like Michael who make the overall Ubuntu community so welcoming to newcomers. He also is a great representation of the international nature of our forums and our overall Ubuntu community.

  1. Tell as much as you’re willing about your “real life” like name, age, gender, location, family, religion, profession, education, hobbies, etc.
    My name is Michael Godawski, at the moment I am 23 years young. I was born in the beautiful Cracow in Poland. Today I live in Düsseldorf, Germany studying history of art and sociology. Not the typical studies for a “geeky” Linux user you say. And you are right.I am everything but a computer zealot. For me they are just machines, dead boxes full of weird stuff in it like cables, microchips, and who knows what…

    But you can do fantastic things with them. And you meet wonderful people with the help of them. Suddenly you are talking to people from the other hemisphere which is a great thing. They (the computers) become an inextricable part of our daily life so it stands to reason to get to know each other better. Nothing more but nothing less.

    What can I tell you more? I do some Aikido when I am not playing piano; when I am not on the mat, nor at the piano I visit the website you might know from hearsay –

    I like to read. I hate to read from digital displays.

    I like to travel, as far as my pathetic income of a student allows me to.

    I like to compose new music pieces. I hate superficial people.

    I like writing. I also like to throw my writings into the trash and don’t fuss about it.

  2. When and how did you become interested in computers? in Linux? in Ubuntu?
    The first contact with “computers” was an ancient Atari 2600. I remember playing some really cool “games” on it like a flight-simulation, during which you had to destroy the adversarial plane – a simple moving dot. T’was cool, your imagination power was really tested to the maximum.After the Atari the big blur begins: blue dos screen was omnipresent for a long time. Then an ultra-fast Pentium 75 entered my life and with it Windows 3.11. Then came a Super Nintendo: again classics like Zelda, Secret of Mana, of Evermore, R-Type, Pilotwings enter my mind….

    Where is Linux you ask? Well, my first Linux experience was an epic fail. I installed Red Hat something on my PC and literally nothing has worked. Perhaps I was too young or the machine was too dumb, I don’t know, it was not the right time I guess.

    So I sticked with Mr.Gates for a while. And who knows if I had ever changed to Ubuntu if Windows would fulfill all my needs… But stop… I am strongly against bashing an OS as the inferior one. That’s a moot point. Every single OS has it right to exist and should act as an inspiration to make things better than they already are.

    So Windows was not a product of the Satan for me, you could play nice games on it and so on… but something was missing.

    And that something I think I have found in Ubuntu. Don’t ask me to specify this something. I guess it is not the juxtaposition but the blending of the digital with the natural, the tradition with the future, the machines with the people. Whoa we are getting far to philosophic here…

  3. When did you become involved in the forums (or the Ubuntu community)? What’s your role there?
    I joined the during a star-spangled night in 2007. Forgot the month.
    My nick was janquark.

    Then came a break. Real life took over. Taught me some things.

    Comeback to the forums with my real name somewhere in 2008.

    My role on the forums? I help where I can. Be it as a member of the Beginners Team and Unanswered Team or like writing guides and tutorials on my website –

    I have no specific role. And I do not want to be put into one category.

  4. Are you an Ubuntu member? If so, how do you contribute? If not, do you plan on becoming one?
    Yes, I am. Just recently approved.
  5. What distros do you regularly use? What software? What’s your favorite application? Your least favorite?
    Favorite distribution? You bet it’s Ubuntu. Favorite software? Bluefish, VLC, Rhytmbox, OO, FF3, Gimp, gFTP, Transmission, sun xVM Virtual Box, pretty un-exotic list… but it works for me. Perhaps I will test some distribution in the future who knows, I do not feel like jumping to others now.
  6. What’s your fondest memory from the forums, or from Ubuntu overall? What’s your worst?
    Let me say this. Honestly… if the time I spend on the forums be it as a helper, be it as the one with the question, would only slightly be somewhat an awkward, displeasing and annoying experience I would quit immediately. But it is not. Every time I log in I have fun. Sometimes the breaks between the logins are shorter sometimes they are longer. But I cannot point out a specific time when I felt especially happy or especially annoyed. It is rather a constant feeling of having a good time…
  7. What luck have you had introducing new computer users to Ubuntu?
    “Oh… wow.. what is that? Is this Linux? Windows was not good enough for you he?”“I want to have this 3D Desktop too? But will it be difficult and complicated?”

    “You are using the console? Man…DOS – times are the past.”

    “You are on Linux? Well, yes then you don’t have that much trouble as I have on my §$%& Windows PC.”

    Only a sample of real-life quotations. I did not have many success stories of converting PC users to Ubuntu. But I could destroy some of the old prejudices and clichés. I especially like when people do not notice what OS I am using but what results I present them with it.

  8. What would you like to see happen with Linux in the future? with Ubuntu?
    I want Ubuntu to become a truly worth-mentioning alternative for the average computer user. I especially stress the average in the sentence above.
  9. If there was one thing you could tell all new Ubuntu users, what would it be?
    As my title already says: It is only a machine.It is much more important to spend some time with your family, playing an instrument, doing some sport, traveling the world, reading a book, writing, painting, or just going out with your friends, than staring at a square display of a computer.

    In this spirit I hope I have not bored you to death and you know me a little better than before.

    Michael Godawski


  1. Vadim P.

    Interesting read, thanks.

  2. Cool interview.

  3. Richard

    “It is only a machine.It is much more important to spend some time with your family, playing an instrument, doing some sport, traveling the world, reading a book, writing, painting, or just going out with your friends, than staring at a square display of a computer. ”

    This guy is an inspiration!

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