The Official Ubuntu Book, Fourth Edition is available

Ubuntu Book cover

The main Amazon site says it is in stock, and I’m hearing reports of people seeing it “in the wild,” although I haven’t yet received my copy.

This book is perfect for people who are interested, but have no idea where or how to get started with Ubuntu.

Disclosure: For this edition, I had the privilege of editing and updating chapters 1-4, 7, 11, and the appendices, and provided assistance checking the full manuscript, including the final proof, against the final release version of the software covered. I also was the lead contact during the copy edit, index, and final proof and author query stages.

An interview with Travis Newman

If you have been around the Ubuntu Forums for a while, you are certain to have come across a person calling himself panickedthumb. Guess who we are interviewing in this edition of Ubuntu Community Interviews?

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

I’m Travis Newman, 27 years old, living in Radford VA. My wife, Katie, and I have two cats Max and Leo. I’m AVP of IT at a regional bank in the area. In my spare time, which I seem to have little of lately, I’m an avid gamer and internet junkie.

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

Ever since I first saw a PC, in first grade, I have been fascinated by them. Unfortunately I didn’t get one until my senior year, in 1998. Back in Sept. ’98 I was having trouble sending email and double-clicking on links. But my lack of knowledge didn’t slow me down. I wanted to know how things worked, what I could and couldn’t do. I ended up using the Compaq restore CD more than I would like to admit, but I learned quite a bit. One thing that I learned was, even though I thought it was all that was available, I hated Windows.  Later that year the network admin at my high school gave me my first Linux CD. Perhaps installing Linux, especially Slackware 3.5, was not the best idea having only *really* used computers for 2 or 3 months, but I did. I was lost. Could never figure out how to start XFree86. But I persisted throughout the years, trying different versions of Red Hat and Mandrake, and many others, and by 2003 I was using Gentoo pretty much full time.  In 2004 I heard about this new distribution (which would become Ubuntu) that was starting up based on Debian, and I decided to give it a shot. My experience with Debian was not a good one, but I had hoped this new distro would help with that. It was still at no-name-yet.com, before being called Ubuntu, but I was hooked. It was very rough around the edges, but I could see the diamond in the rough. Never looked back.

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

I joined the forums October 27th, 2004, less than a month after it started, though I had been lurking for a bit before then. I became a moderator at some point in November, and have been one ever since, with the exception of a few months a couple years ago.

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. I contribute as a moderator on the forums, and I started and co-admin the Ubuntu LoCo team for Virginia. Come by #ubuntu-us-va on Freenode the first Tuesday of every month at 8 if you want to join in the fun! 🙂

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

I use Ubuntu, and that’s really about it. I try other distros here and there. I absolutely love what they’re doing with Arch Linux, and I’m interested to see where Moblin goes for netbooks. However, since trying Ubuntu for the first time, nothing else has felt like “home.”  My favorite software is probably Firefox, and I know that’s a bit of a cop-out since it’s so popular, but I don’t even like browsing the web without it anymore. Least favorite software? Adobe Reader. Seriously, a document reader should not be so bloated and finicky.

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

I don’t have a single fondest memory from Ubuntu or the forums. It’s a great place and I really feel at home there, so I have many fond memories just being part of the wonderful community and contributing as I can. However, one particularly funny memory, that’s kinda hard to explain, was the :porc::inca::dito::love: mystery. Someone in the #ubuntuforums channel started pasting what appeared to us to be random stuff, like the above. It’s still an inside joke to those who were there. I know it doesn’t sound that funny, but I guess you had to be there 🙂  Worst memory… well with a forum this size, there are some troublemakers and there are occasionally interpersonal conflicts among staff. I won’t go into any details, but those are rough to go through, and they are ultimately not good for the community. Luckily, much has been done over the years so that we have fewer and fewer problems.

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

Its a struggle sometimes, because for all its faults, Windows is pretty easy to use. Taking some people out of their comfort zone is like pulling teeth. I have had a few converts over the years, and helped get CD’s to a lot of students at a local community college. However, as I have seen over the years, getting someone to *try* Ubuntu doesn’t mean that they will stick with it. One of the most heart warming things for an Ubuntu user ever, though, was at our LoCo installfest in Galax for 9.04. A middle-aged couple had bought a netbook and hated the default Asus version of Xandros, and came by to get Ubuntu Netbook Remix installed. While that was going, Jim Tarvid (the other co-admin of the group) and I got wireless working on their Ubuntu laptop. People over 40 are frequently the hardest to try to convert, but this couple had basically done it on their own, and just needed a little help.

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

I think it’s on a good path for the most part. I would of course like to see Bug #1 (https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+bug/1) taken care of. It seems that every time Microsoft releases something new, we get a lot of new Ubuntu users. I think business as usual is not working as well for Microsoft anymore, and they need to change their game plan if they want to stay on top for the foreseeable future. But ultimately, I’d like to see Ubuntu (or Linux in general) get a 10% market share. I don’t mind if we never get to 50% or even 25% really, I just want enough so that businesses take us seriously and support the platform.  More than just Ubuntu or Linux, however, I would like to see Free software become the standard for software development. I really believe it’s the way of the future, and all of the best software available is Free (as in freedom, of course).

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

Don’t give up! I know it’s disheartening at times when you feel like you’re in over your head, but the forums, the mailing list, and the IRC channels are here to help.  Also, get involved! You feel much more a part of the community when you give back. When you become comfortable with Ubuntu, you can help others out. It’s what makes the community work.

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.

An interview with Codename

Codename has given us the latest installment in our Ubuntu Community Interviews series. He’s a young guy, polite, friendly, and helpful. He also provides us with an example of thankfulness and service, choosing to help others in the community after recognizing the help he received. Thanks, Mike!

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

Well to start things off my name is Mike, and I’m 18. I’ve always been kind of a computer guy, the family calls me “The Computer Whiz Kid”. I was around computers as a kid so I’ve always kind of liked them and hence the reason I’ve became very fluent on the Ubuntu Forums. I really don’t have a job, but I’m working on becoming a Network administrator soon, so I’m really excited, and I want to fulfill that goal.

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

I became interested in computers at a very young age, I’d probably say when I was 5. The first OS I ever used was probably Windows 3.1 and as a little kid I knew how to run simple commands and go to directories to launch my favorite games, but as time moved on I kept on using Windows until XP came out. The OS wasn’t working out for my needs, so I decided to seek an alternative in 2005 and this is where Linux comes in. I looked at a couple of distributions before looking at Ubuntu. My first distribution I used was Gentoo, I used Gentoo for a little bit and loved it, but I was hearing a lot about “Ubuntu” so I decided to give it a shot. The first thing I loved about it was the interface and the simplicity, so I obviously installed Ubuntu and I loved it, and became my primary OS of choice. At the time I couldn’t believe how easy it was to set everything up and it was an absolutley amazing feeling using an OS that worked almost perfectly for me and fitted my needs.

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

I actually didn’t become involved in the forums until May 2007 I think, I had some video card issues and some very talented people helped me out and since then I just thought I should return the favor that people did for me, which was help others in need. I think my role now at the Ubuntu Forums is network support and general support. When I help someone and that person says “Thanks Codename” there’s no better feeling, for me anyways, because I know now that the problem is obviously solved and they now enjoy Ubuntu without having that issue.

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

Sadly I’m not an Ubuntu member, I do plan on becoming one soon.

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

The distributions I regularly use are probably Sabayon and Ubuntu. I think those two distributions of Linux are really innovative, both have great features and of course very simple. I honestly use a lot of software, but if I had to pick some favorites I’d probably say Pidgin, VLC and Eclipse. I think those programs work flawlessly. Honestly I don’t have a least favorite application. The applications I use I love.

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

My fondest memories of the forums would probably have to be helping people, and receiving satisfaction of helping others that need the help, and when when I see great collaboration going on in the forums, there’s nothing like it. My fondest memory of Ubuntu actually is probably when I got my wireless and video card working! Even though that’s not much, that’s really the only problems I’ve had with Ubuntu, and when I got two things to work, everything worked perfectly. My worst memory with Ubuntu is getting frustrated at the issues I’m having, but if there’s anything I’ve learned from using Linux is patience is the key, and once you have patience you can probably fix any issue you have.

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

I’ve actually had great luck. I now have at least 3-4 people that I personally know switch to Ubuntu because I’ve stated the advantages of Ubuntu and why they might like the OS. I tell them remember “Linux is not Windows” and if you have any trouble, let me know and usually I don’t hear back from them because everything just works for them, which is an awesome feeling.

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

I’d definitely like to see Linux in general expand on to the desktop market, which we have kind of seen today. I mean Dell offers computers pre-installed with Ubuntu which is great. I also love the fact that Asus has the option you can buy a Eee PC with Linux pre-installed, I think that’s a step forward. I wish for Ubuntu and Linux in general the best.

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

Remember new users, research the forums and have patience, and believe me it will pay off sooner or later. The forums are also a great place to learn and expand your Linux knowledge, and don’t be afraid to ask questions! If you have researched your question and nothing comes up, then by all means please ask the quetsion and I’m sure one of the talented people on the forums can help you! Just hang in there.

An interview with Rocket2DMn

Today we have the opportunity to hear from one of our staff members in the Ubuntu Forums, Rocket2DMn, in the latest installment in our Ubuntu Community Interviews series. Rocket2DMn first came to our attention as a result of his help answering questions in the forums. It wasn’t long before he became a member of our Beginner’s Team, which is focused on helping newcomers to the world of Ubuntu and Linux in the forums. He’s a great guy, a patient helper, and a wonderful asset to our community.

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

My name is Connor Imes, I’m currently 22 and live outside of Philadelphia, though I am originally from California.  I’m a software & systems engineer by trade, but also enjoy other activities like running, skiing, mountain biking, and watching movies.  I hope to travel around the world for my job, meeting new people and experiencing new things.  I am also the only member of my immediate family to not choose a career in medicine, and the only one to not serve in the US Navy.

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

I’ve been using computers most of my life, starting with DOS and Windows 3.1.  My passion for computers began with playing games, then progressed to building and tweaking systems, and ultimately to programming and using Linux.  My first experience with *nix came in 2004 at my university where we used Sun Solaris.  My first Linux experience came in 2006 from putting Fedora Core 5 on a game server that I hosted with my roommate all through college.  I started dual booting my laptop with Ubuntu 7.04 Feisty Fawn in May 2007, once a stable ntfs-3g driver was available so that I could share data between the dual boot setup.

I did my first programming when I was in 6th grade, a buddy of mine started learning, so I got a pack of Visual Basic CDs with some books, and went to work!  It also lead me into constructing a few basic websites along the way.

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

I started on the Ubuntu Forums right when I first started using Ubuntu, and have been a regular from day 1.  I joined the Unanswered Posts Team and Beginners Team at the beginning of 2008 and have been heavily involved since then, esp. with the BT.  I sit on the BT Council and head up the Wiki Focus Group which works with the Ubuntu Documentation Team.  In July of 2008, I was invited to become part of the Ubuntu Forums staff.  I considered declining the offer, but felt I could contribute positively to the community in that role, as well as build some good relationships in the Ubuntu community.  I accepted, and am certain that both predictions have proven to be true!

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

Yes, I was approved for membership in early 2009 by the Americas regional board. I was going to apply during the summer of 2008 with a handful of other Beginners Team members, but delayed my application.  I saw a lot of members come to the BT, and many were interested in becoming Ubuntu members – I just wanted to show that you could be a strong and dedicated contributor without being an Ubuntu member.  I’ve never really been a fan of titles and badges because I hate to see them distract from what is really important, which is having fun and making a positive impact.

My contributions are mostly on the forums, launchpad bugs, development release testing, and to the documentation team.  I’m looking to contribute to official system documentation and to triaging (and troubleshooting) some of the common but tough bugs – kernel, X, and wireless problems!

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

Ubuntu is my primary distribution all around, I use it on my laptop (I’ve ditched the dual boot there), and I dual boot between Vista and Ubuntu on my desktop.  Nowadays, Vista is only really kept around for gaming some weekends, and any specific functions I might need it for in the future.  In the past few years, I have spent time with (in no particular order): Ubuntu, Fedora Core, Mandriva, Puppy Linux, Gentoo, Red Hat, CentOS, and OpenSolaris (not Linux!).

My favorite applications would have to be the ones I use every day – Firefox, Pidgin, Xchat, Amarok, VirtualBox, Thunderbird, the conky.  I don’t think I have a least favorite application.

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

The forums can sometimes be a bit of a roller coaster, it is tough to decide a best and worst, but I’ll try.

The FOSS community can often be very vocal, and despite our best efforts, sometimes a little rude.  This became very apparent in summer 2008, shortly after I became a moderator on the forums, when a user posted about Foxconn supposedly sabotaging their BIOS to intentionally not work with Linux.  This was, of course, bogus, but it hit Digg, Slashdot, Reddit, blogs and other sites all over the world and created quite a mess.  When I jumped into the fray almost 12 hours after it started, I found people bashing Foxconn left and right, and in all the chaos, nobody had even bothered to attempt triage on the Launchpad bug.  I did it myself, and followed the case all the way through to the end.  Since all the forum threads ended up getting closed as flame bait, I wound up keeping the community up to date with developments, and was ultimately in contact with a Foxconn representative.  By the time it was all over, the original poster was banned from the forums, Foxconn worked with the poster to test new BIOSes, a fix was released, I was relaying information, and the community was singing Foxconn’s praises for taking us seriously.

I think it was the worst and best of my experiences on the Ubuntu Forums to date.

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

Since it’s a rare occasion that I run across new computer users, I haven’t had much success in this department.  I have shown off Ubuntu to a number of people, and introduced some of them to the great world of Linux and FOSS for the first time.

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

I would like to see Linux become more available in off-the-shelf computer systems for home users, and for the general user population to know about Linux as a viable alternative.  I also have very high expectations for Linux overseas, esp. in developing countries.  However, I hope that neither Linux nor Ubuntu become victims of their own success.  To clarify that statement, I would love for everybody to know about and have the ability to use Ubuntu (or another flavor of Linux), but I don’t want either to lose aspects that make them so great or gain baggage that will spoil their appeal.

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

If you are thinking of switching, I would highly suggest using some FOSS in your current setup before you make the switch.  Get comfortable with programs like Firefox, Pidgin, OpenOffice.org, and VLC – these will ease your transition so that when you get here, everything won’t be totally foreign.

After you install, you are very likely to sit face to face with the system and have a moment of “OH MAH GAWD what was I thinking?!”  Breathe.  Remember that the Ubuntu Forums are always just a few clicks away, with knowledgeable users ready and willing to help you out!

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 – ubuntuforums.org.

    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 ubuntuforums.org 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 ubuntuforums.org 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

An interview with PartyBoi2

It has been a little while since we last had an installment of our interview series. With the new year fully begun and things moving back into a regular schedule, I think it is time we continue the introductions.

Today we get to hear from Karl, known in the forums as PartyBoi2. In the last two years, he has racked up over 3000 posts and helped tons of new users, attempting to focus on posts that have gone entirely unanswered as well as helping beginners with their adaptation issues.

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

Hi everyone, my  name is Karl and I’m a 34 male who in 2000 decided to leave my family and friends looking for greener pastures so to speak and migrated to Melbourne Australia from New Zealand. I have had a interesting last 8 years in Melbourne where I worked in the hospitality industry and unfortunately made a few wrong choices and ended up with drug and alcohol addictions which nearly cost me my life. In 2006 I quit my job due to my deteriorated health and put my trust and faith back in  Jesus and saw amazing things happen including freedom from the drugs and alcohol.

I don’t have any title or letters before my name and have had an average education and probably see myself as the ‘run of the mill’ type of guy who has learned most things by trial and error and experience. Currently I am doing some study and are hoping to start a new career in the IT industry as a Technician, with the possibility of starting a small computer business with some friends geared towards assisting underprivileged people.

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

When I was younger I use to  play the odd game on my friends Amiga computers but was a bit of a late bloomer I would say, as I did not take a real interest in them till a few years ago, even though I  got my first computer running win 98 around 1998.

In 2007 I was looking for an alternative to windows, as windows was out of my price range at the time and I needed a operating system so I could communicate with my family back in New Zealand. I had heard about linux many moons ago and thought that since I had plenty of spare time I would teach myself Linux. I had a look at a couple of different flavors of Linux but was unsuccessful at installing them, probably due to the fact I was a newbie and did not know what I was doing. Most of my searching for a Linux flavor came from searching www.linux.org  and since I had been unsuccessful up to that point of being able to install any I started to check out the forums and support for each Linux distribution that interested me and found that Ubuntu had a large active forum with plenty of Documentation. So I took the plunge and successfully installed my first Linux operating system which was Dapper 6.06 and launched myself into learning about the Ubuntu operating system.

As my interest in Ubuntu grew so did my interest in computers in general and before I knew it I had friends calling on me to fix their computers when ever things went wrong, which was a wonderful learning experience for me and encouraged me to learn more.

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

I started using  the Ubuntu forums in about June 2007 even though I had signed up with the Ubuntu Forums in January of that year. At first I mostly read different threads in the Absolute Beginners section reading and learning about the different types of problems people were having then finally one day dived in and started replying to some of the posts.

I think my role really is just being part of the Ubuntu forum community like so many others and doing what we enjoy which is assisting others and helping out where we can. Generally I reply to posts that have not been answered and would  say that “Installation and Upgrades” is where I post the most and enjoy helping out the newbies.

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

No, I currently am not a member, its not something that I have really thought to much about to be honest, but maybe down the track once I have contributed more it maybe something that I would consider.

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

Ubuntu is my number one distro at the moment , I have installed a few others like dsl and gentoo using virtualbox but have not really spent much time using them. Might look at other distros more once I get a bigger hard drive.

My favorite application would probably have to be deluge p2p program. I don’t think I have a least favorite applications but if I had to choose one, Evolution would probably be the closest as I have always preferred Thunderbird and never really got accustomed to it.
The main software that I use is the gnome-terminal, Thunderbird, Xchat Vlc, Nano and Firefox.

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

My fondest memories have been when I have helped people get the answer to their question, and knowing the relief they feel when they can finally stop banging their head against the wall. Some of the other fondest memories would be the different types of people I have encountered on the forums and the eagerness they have to help others out. I don’t have any worst memories really the closest I would say would be when I replied to a thread and another poster told the original poster to ignore what I had posted and do it their way. As I have said I have not really had any bad experiences and generally I have a very good impression of the forums and the active members.

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

For awhile I did some voluntary work refurbishing computers for the underprivileged which also became a good opportunity to promote Ubuntu, when I first started they were sending out computers with windows on only, after awhile I started installing Xubuntu on a lot of the computers and they also started getting sent out and I was able to inform the people I work with more about Ubuntu as well as giving out a few Ubuntu disks.
Not long ago there was  someone who stumbled into ##beginners-help on network irc.freenode.net who was trying to connect to another server who had never heard of Ubuntu, after talking with them they downloaded and tried Ubuntu, so I guess I have had some success at introducing people to Ubuntu and I am sure there will be plenty more opportunity’s  to promote Ubuntu.

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

I would like to see people’s awareness increased about Linux and Ubuntu and see more computers sold with the option to have Ubuntu come already installed.
Also to see some of the things that hold back Linux improved like games and drivers etc.

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

Breathe, don’t stress, it takes time to learn a new operating system. The forums are a great place to get help and remember that no question is stupid and that everyone was a newbie at some stage.

There is also the ubuntu wiki pages that can be helpful as well as irc ##beginners-help on network irc.freenode.net or #ubuntu on network irc.freenode.net

Ubuntu 8.10 magazine

I wrote several articles, and co-wrote one with a friend, Ryan Troy, for the Ubuntu 8.10 edition of Linux Identity. I even got to write the editorial at the beginning of the issue.

I received my copy today. The issue should be available on newsstands soon. It includes two installation DVDs, one 32 bit and one 64 bit. The issue will give a good introduction to Ubuntu for your friends and coworkers, even those with little technical skill, knowledge or experience.