04 Dec

Master Spotlight: Thomas Ward

Meet Thomas Ward aka teward!

1) How did you first get started using Linux? What distros, software or resources did you use while learning?

. I first started using Linux when attending Carnegie Mellon University (before leaving for another University), back in 2009. They were heavily supportive of the UNIX based environment, as well as Windows and Apple. I first started with Ubuntu 9.04 on my own systems, while having access to Red Hat systems (without administrative privileges, unfortunately) at Carnegie Mellon.

2) While you were learning Linux, was there anybody (or group of people) who acted as a mentor to help you?

. The Ubuntu community at large helped me out with everything I had in terms of issues with Linux. As time progressed, and my skillset evolved, different Ubuntu teams began to pique my interest, and as I started contributing, their skilled members helped me improve on my own skills.

The Internet in general also needs some credit, most “how to do” something tutorials help to some extent.

3) What made you want to join Linux Padawan as a master? What do you hope to gain, personally or professionally, from your involvement?

. Initially, I was invited by one of the founding members of Linux Padawan, to act as a Master if time permitted, and to be a knowledge resource if I could not. I hope to gain additional sight as a helpful community member by my membership in Linux Padawan, even if I can’t actively mentor someone full-time.

I currently am working as the technical contact for the infrastructure that runs the LinuxPadawan site and functionality.  Yay, IT Systems Administration experience!

4) What did you learn most about being a padawan?

. I never was a padawan here. However, I can say that as someone who has received mentoring from others, it is important to note that you will always learn something from a mentor, even if it’s something simple.

5) How are you going to pass on mentoring? What projects will you help them get involved with?

6) Linux Padawan is still a relatively new project, but what has your experience been so far?

. I think Linux Padawan has a lot of benefits of helping individuals get started with Linux, and to get them interested into areas they’re already curious about. It’s a fascinating project, and it has a lot of potential, and will gain support from others over time and more and more mentors and padawans.

7) What do you hope to help your Padawans achieve during your mentoring of them?

. I currently do not have any Padawans, however my overall goal has been to share my knowledge, and help others expand their own by taking information from my own knowledge. This helps others to in turn learn and expand their knowledge, which is the whole point of being a mentor!

8) Outside of Linux Padawan, what projects or community are you involved in?

. I am currently a member of the Ubuntu Server Team, working primarily to keep the {{{nginx}}} packages maintained in Ubuntu. I also work with the Ubuntu Bug Squad, and Ubuntu Bug Control teams to help triage bugs.
.  
. I also provide third-party package repositories for the {{{nginx}}} and {{{znc}}} packages in Ubuntu and Debian, making sure that people on older releases of those distributions have access to more recent patched software.
.  
. I am also currently attending University for a degree in Security and Risk Analysis, focusing on Information and Cyber-Security, to further make myself more marketable to the world. I also work as a member of the IT staff at a private cyber-security firm.

9) What advice do you have for new users who are just starting off and want to learn more about Linux?

. This applies to everything, but… start with the basics. Ask questions to try and learn more, consult knowledge bases and documentation, and try and learn things on your own before asking for the answers. Also take baby-steps – don’t immediately jump into building kernels if you haven’t even mastered how to edit things on the command line or even how to use the command line, and don’t jump around outside your skillsets at first. If you’re starting out with Linux, you start at the basics and work your way out from there.
.
. And remember: ask questions if you have them – you learn more by getting answers from those that know what they’re doing, than doing nothing.

21 Jan

Master and Padawan Spotlight: Gustavo Silva

Gustavo is one of the members of Linux Padawan who is both a padawan and a master. We all can learn new things, right? Linux Padawan is not a hierarchy, but a community.

Meet Gustavo Silva

How did you first get started using Linux? What distros, software or resources did you use while learning?
I started using Linux a long time ago. I am not even sure the version that was used back then. I was 13 years old, so that was almost 10 years ago. I only used Ubuntu for a short period. The concept of open-source was not well received among the people I needed to work with – so, school work groups and similar. Also, I was very young and I was more interested in playing computer games back then.
In the last year of my master’s degree, I wasn’t forced to use Office or any other similar tool, so I decided to switch again to Ubuntu. It is more fast, not-so-picky as windows and most of the alternative softwares suffice my needs. And currently with all this cloud software… I barely need to use any stand-alone software.
While you were learning Linux, was there anybody (or group of people) who acted as a mentor to help you?
No. Only Google. When I finally switched over to Linux, I already knew that any problems that could come up would require me to solve them by myself. Therefore, all my troubleshooting was made via Google and occasionally via the official forums.

How did you find Linux Padawan?

Phill mentioned about it when he was thinking about starting the project. Back then, I was interested in learning about the leader’s role in open-source projects.

What skills did you come to Linux Padawan with?

Well, only small things in Java and HTML. Other than that, only had my academical background to define my skillset. My academical background comes from intense training in economics and management, even though I have tried to specialize in strategy, leadership, finance and management. I also had some basic knowledge of R, even though I do not master the software. I have been using it to build some graphics to my master’s thesis. It works very well for that purpose, but requires a bit a patience and willingness to learn.

What made you want to join Linux Padawan as a padawan? What do you hope to gain, personally or professionally, from your involvement?

Linux Padawan as a full and competent roster of Masters. They are all very experienced guys, either with open or closed projects, so the skills they can pass on are very important to the development of the linux community.

Personally, I think this is a great opportunity to experiment my skill set in a different world – the world of open-source, that is. Obviously, that requires me to learn something in specific and be good at it. Professionally, the teamwork required for the survival of all teams and sub-teams is a great thing to mention in the future. Even though this is in a different world, it is still teamwork.

What have you accomplished as a padawan? What did you learn?

I managed to learn and get my way around MoinMoin. I think that is the most important achievement since I am around this group. Even though it is not as complex as other programming languages, it can be tricky and complex to deal with on a daily-basis. Besides, the importance of wiki maintenance is high for developers and newcomers.

My work as a Padawan around the Wiki affairs as opened the opportunity to lead the Wiki & Documentation subteam of Lubuntu. It is a big opportunity for me since I can have an experience to lead a team full of experienced people and it feels great to have your work recognized by the ones you call as masters.
What has your experience been like with your master?
It has been great. I have two but this case can apply to both.
Their approach has been highly practical and that allows us to understand the concepts more in depth.

Any suggestions as to how masters can better facilitate learning in their padawan?

Well, regardless of my previous experiences, the best way is to make it as practical as possible. This is a practical world and sometimes our explanations are not as clear as we think so. Thus, putting your padawan’s hands into the dirt, is very important. Besides, s/he will feel important and useful to the community – so s/he integrates easier.

What made you want to join Linux Padawan as a master? What do you hope to gain, personally or professionally, from your involvement?

For a long time, I have been helping IT guys getting their projects running, while using my management and economics background to help them. I notice their managerial sense is not as accurate as mine and ideas aren’t useful unless they are put on the right path. I joined Linux Padawan to try to help anyone that needs input over the management of their ideas and projects (open or closed source).

How many Padawan are you currently mentoring? What projects are you helping them get involved with?

Currently none. I am new to the list and I didn’t find enough time to promote myself as a master.

What do you hope to help your Padawans achieve during your mentoring of them?

First of all, I hope to suffice their needs. I will always try to leave them in an independent position. I wish they become autonomous throughout time without needing help (not even mine).

Linux Padawan is still a relatively new project, but what has your experience been so far?

Great actually, both as Padawan and as a Master. The people behind it just make a great project like this come alive.

Outside of Linux Padawan, what projects or community are you involved in?

I’m currently the leader of Lubuntu’s Wiki and Documentation sub-group.

What advice do you have for new users who are just starting off and want to learn more about Linux?

If they are not comfortable using the OS, then Linux Padawan is a great way to 1) know some interesting and helpful people, 2) learn a lot of things about the OS and the community. Finally, and not related to Linux Padawan, 3) don’t be afraid to use the terminal.


You can read the rest of the Master Spotlight interviews here
You can read the rest of the Padawan Updates interviews here