Our next interviewee comes in all the way from Canada. starcraft.man takes a moment out from zapping zerglings (whatever they are, sound dangerous ), to tell us more about himself and his involvement with Ubuntu….
1. Tell as much as you’re willing about your “real life” like name, age, gender, location, family, religion, profession, education, hobbies, etc.
Oh, you want more than that. How about I’m a guy and I played quite a bit of starcraft growing up
More? Ok. Well my real name’s Jeremy Pallats and I’m a Canadian living in Quebec (Oui, je peux bien ecrire la langue!). I’m 23, doing a degree at Concordia University in Montreal for programming. Computer Science, real geeks know science is where it’s at! Main hobby over my life’s been computers, for a very, very long time. I enjoy programming quite a bit, I’d of course like to do that as my profession. I’m mainly interested in engineering fields like Aerospace and simulators. Web development also cool, though I only really enjoy the backend stuff on servers/controllers/db. I’m a COOP student so I get some work experience as I go.
Two things I’m most passionate about are Science and Philosophy. Been a science student since the early days, had a lot of fun teachers over the years. I always marvel at wonderful things you can learn about how the world functions just by observing and doing experiments. People think it’s all about chemistry when you say that but I think my fondest memories were of Biology (Human, Environmental and Animal), especially observing in the natural environment. Don’t think I mentioned that, I’m a former health sciences student. Anyway, I’ve just always been intrigued by the inner workings of things since I was small and had fun in the backyard. Philosophy is another of my favourite topics, only got into that at Cegep (College for others) when I was older but was quite interesting. I enjoy the debate, it’s a fresh break from formulas and facts. Nevertheless it requires a sharp mind and wit to win the argument. The best is when you need to defend points you aren’t comfortable with (playing Devil’s Advocate as it were). Not so much done nowadays. People seem to think philosophy is a topic that’s aloof or stuffy. A shame, it’s quite insightful letting you understand different views and theories on life/ethics and other topics.
On the topic of religion, I’d hope it was clear but I’m not. Between science and philosophy, I’ve found no need to put faith in other ideas. I suppose more to the point, my life’s taught me not to put faith in anything. Science teaches you to believe facts based on experimentation and philsophy teaches you to take a stand and defend it vigorously! I let those two principles guide my life, I help people too in between though I don’t wear any kind of funny looking cape/spandex.
You can find me in the #beginners-team lounge, when I’m around I like to chat Oh ya, I’m on that odd team called Beginners Team.
2. When and how did you become interested in computers? in Linux? in Ubuntu?
I kinda think I was born wired for Computers. When I was small I played a lot on my dad’s DOS box which was a 386. Course most of the time I was just installing games like Commander Keen and Oil’s Well. Still, remember the black blinking prompt fondly. Transitioned quite naturally over the years from Win 95 all the way to currently using Windows 7. I’d say about half the reason I had it over the years was gaming, the other half is productivity I now usually handle on Linux. Linux is a programmers paradise.
Got into Ubuntu some time during XP’s awfully long and atrocious shelf life as an OS. At that point I was just tired of Windows, too much maintenance and I felt in general it didn’t “DO” anything for me, except gaming which, has kinda lost it’s appeal over years. I felt I spent too much time worrying when the next problem popped up. I think one of the things really rubbed me the wrong way was WGA (Windows Genuine Advantage), I don’t like reactivating my product ever 6 weeks. Nor the implication that I’m a pirate until proven innocent. So Ubuntu 6.06 was the strange thing I just happened upon, I forget exactly why. I think a friend of mine suggested it. Haven’t looked back since, was my first linux box and still run Ubuntu on my main machines. I’ve tried other distros but for now I’m content with Kubuntu on my main machines and an older version of GNOME Ubuntu on a server round house.
3. When did you become involved in the forums (or the Ubuntu community)? What’s your role there?
Started some time in 2006, was a natural fit for me. I’m sadly a little inactive at this time, my programming degree at University takes quite some time, in addition to other regular obligations. After discovering and installing 6.06, I used the good old Google to answer some questions I had and needed a bit of support for a few things. Posted some questions on the forum and found it to be quite friendly. So I decided to stay, few thousands posts later and I can say I learned a lot. I think my main motivation was my background as an IT person fixing windows boxes. Answering linux questions was natural for me, it also provided an excellent learning sequence. People ask so many good questions that when I didn’t know answer to something I would go and find the answer. Then post back for them too of course .
4. Are you an Ubuntu member? If so, how do you contribute? If not, do you plan on becoming one?
Yup. My main contributions have been to support on the forums/IRC (via Beginners team) as well as documentation via the Documentation team/wiki FG on beginners team. I like writing, though not all the time, it comes and goes in passion so when I get the urge I churn out quite a few pages. Continue supporting regularly on beginners team when I can as well as mentoring. I’m hopeful that I’ll put my programming to use in an open source project some time when I’m a little more free.
5. What distros do you regularly use? What software? What’s your favorite application? Your least favorite?
Kubuntu runs on my main workstation, also my portable notebook from System76 (nice UltraThin Lemur, good battery life/size). Ubuntu (older version) runs on my server for sharing files around the house (local network sharing in house). My favorite software is a few things. I program C++ on Eclipse (Geany is also cool and light for variety). I often do quick fixing for programs on Kate, great editor. Yakuake is my trusty best friend for console commands. Songbird’s my favourite music player, it’s easy and simple and it sorts stuff the way I like. Least favourite software at this point is amarok 2. Never got past the 2.0 transition, some might say I just don’t get “it” (the new paradigm) but it seems like it’s trying to be overly sophisticated for no reason. For browsers, I still use Firefox, I <3 my addons.
6. What’s your fondest memory from the forums, or from Ubuntu overall? What’s your worst?
First thank you on the forums was pretty good. There’s a few questions I still remember where I put quite a bit into it and the people were very happy to get the solution. Overall, that’s more or less the best. Day I found Beginners team was quite cool as well, had plenty of good memories on the team. I guess the “worst” would be a handful of trolls that were unfortunately not a figment of my imagination… I of course fondly remember all the nice people I’ve gotten to talk with .
7. What luck have you had introducing new computer users to Ubuntu?
Gotten a few in my computer science department at University. My mom runs and uses Ubuntu now too, started using it and was a pro in a day or two at what she needed. I think that’s a strong testimony for Ubuntu, my mom doesn’t like computers much. I recommend when I think it fit’s the person’s need, I wouldn’t say I’m evangelical though about converting people. I still use Windows after all.
8. What would you like to see happen with Linux in the future? with Ubuntu?
I’d like Linux to maintain it’s community driven feel, Windows and OSX just never feel so comfy being driven by large companies that frankly aren’t very nice to consumers (see support, restrictions, licensing, WGA, etc…). I’d like to see more focus on stability/UI over innovation and new developments. Many applications seem to have plenty of features, it’s just they don’t have the intuitive layout/UI of other applications. To many users I’ve talked to it’s not just about being able to do x macro in excel, it’s about being able to conveniently do x macro in excel. I don’t think this is unreasonable, I hope as I become a developer I can pitch in on the things I criticize. UI isn’t easy and requires lots of effort from what I’ve seen. As for Ubuntu, I’d like my close, min and maximize buttons on the right again by default. Apart from that, how about a job at Canonical in Montreal? Oh, your not a secret Canonical recruiter? Doh.
9. If there was one thing you could tell all new Ubuntu users, what would it be?
Don’t be afraid to experiment, it’s the cornerstone of science and there’s a good reason for that. Dive in and mess things up, then fix it, then rinse and repeat. Hopefully you’ll have lots of fun and learn too.
I’d also as a corollary mention helping others can never be understated in this “fast lane” world. Too often I feel like people just do for themselves first, always. I refuse to live like that. I like that about Linux.
En Taro Tassadar good Linux community.