Meet Walter Lapchynski, aka wxl!
- How did you first get started using Linux? What distros, software or resources did you use while learning? I started rolling my own kernels in Slackware on an old ?ThinkPad when there was really only one page on the Internet *briefly* dealing with the subject of running Linux on laptops. I distro-hopped quite a bit before trying to breathe new life into an old PowerPC machine. I found Lubuntu and its wonderful community and stayed with them every since.
- While you were learning Linux, was there anybody (or group of people) who acted as a mentor to help you?
Not really, but that’s not necessarily my style of learning, either. When I was eight, I read an enormous manual for my Commodore 128 and started programming games in BASIC. I learned a lot by reading and then experimenting with the concepts. Almost everything I have ever learned about computing has been like this!
I guess I did have bulletin board services and especially Cleveland FreeNet (running on FreeBSD, I might add) that served as a resource of some kind or another. At minimum they gave me a community of like-minded folks and a playground to explore some other ideas.
- What made you want to join Linux Padawan as a master? What do you hope to gain, personally or professionally, from your involvement? Honestly, I don’t hope to gain anything beyond the enjoyment of helping others. I love learning and I love sharing what I learn. Most importantly, I feel I can help a whole new generation of the Linux-curious to become more than just users, but active, productive contributors. In this way, I feel I can give back to the world.
- What did you learn most about being a padawan? I’m not formally a padawan right now, but I’m always trying to learn as much as I can. In that and through my padawans, I think the thing I learned most is that is that everyone has their own motivations and aspirations. The padawan must adapt to the master in this way. This, in and of itself, can be a great lesson in getting along with different people. This, not code, is truly at the core of every healthy open source community.
- How are you going to pass on mentoring? What projects will you help them get involved with? I have a real aspiration to help people write code. The fundamentals of programming can be applied to any language and thus any open source project. I don’t think I will direct anyone at a particular project, but the ones that best represent their own interests. That being said, I do maintain a certain degree of bias towards Ubuntu and will likely lead people there.
- Linux Padawan is still a relatively new project, but what has your experience been so far? Being one of the core people involved in LinuxPadawan, my answer to this question more reflects my experience in creating the project, drawing interested parties to it, and keeping them engaged. This last part is perhaps the most challenging of all, as it requires constant check in. This has been a great learning experience for me.
- What do you hope to help your Padawans achieve during your mentoring of them? Confidence in their innate abilities, regardless of whether or not they have realized them or put them into practice. A natural curiosity to explore new avenues and projects. An ability to communicate effectively with people across the world. A knowledge that no matter what their abilities are, that there’s a place for them in the world of open source.
- Outside of Linux Padawan, what projects or community are you involved in?
Mainly my involvement is with Ubuntu. I’m currently the Lubuntu QA Lead/Release Manager, the Team Leader for the Ubuntu Oregon Local Community, the PowerPC Point of Contact, and I also serve on the LoCo Council and the Membership Board. I dabble in all sorts of other things in the community, too.
I’m also a co-organizer for the Eugene Unix and GNU/Linux User Group in my hometown.
- What advice do you have for new users who are just starting off and want to learn more about Linux? Do it! Ask lots of questions. It’s actually much easier than it seems. The egalitarian nature of Linux and open source will impact your life and way of looking at the world that no proprietary solution ever will.