27 Jan

I wasn’t sure if I should do the master or the padawan interview, so I did both… zach villers

Another of our master / padawan people have given a deeper insight into them selves.

How did you first get started using Linux? What distros, software or resources did you use while learning?
Christmas of 2013, my eight year old son was crazy for Minecraft. We didn’t have a computer for him and the little raspberry pi I bought to start learning linux on didn’t much interest him. We didn’t have much to spend that year, but I really wanted to surprise him. I scoured the local ads and found an old Pentium 4 box, and a monitor for about $40 US. I added in a $20 graphics and was set for hardware. I had planned all along to install linux of some flavor, mostly because the price was right, but I also liked the aspect of freedom and being in control of my system.
I tried Puppy first and found it too complicated for me, Ubuntu worked, but the machine hadn’t much ram and it just felt clunky. I finally settled on Mint 16 with the Cinnamon desktop. It was easy to use, easy to configure, and the install worked. I put in several hours at nights for a couple of months getting everything working the week before Christmas.
Watching him play on Christmas morning was the best! Both of our children are on the Autism spectrum and are faced with many challenges in life. Playing Minecraft was a way for him to be social with his friends and family. It reminded me of the fun that I had with my Texas Instruments 99-4A more than a few years ago and gave me a desire to build my own PC.
I shoveled driveways and sidewalks that winter and was finally able to put together enough cash to build my own machine, an AMD quad core machine that I loved. I can’t remember what distro I started with on that, but it has seen at least fifty installs in just over a year’s time, booting up to four or five distributions at once. I tend to hop less often now, but have been through every major flavor of Linux and FreeBSD for good measure.
Through it all, I received so much guidance from various forums, tutorials, chatrooms, podcasts, etc. All of this was made possible by various communities who were willing to contribute something of themselves and their time.
While you were learning Linux, was there anybody (or group of people) who acted as a mentor to help you?
I would point to the Reddit community for questions, the folks at Jupiter Broadcasting for encouragement and enthusiasm, and my RH-CSA instructor Phil Lovecchio that really made things click.
How did you find Linux Padawan?
I am constantly looking for new content to learn or experiment with. I follow Svetlana Belkin’s blog; http://ubuntusense.com/ and saw her post regarding the group.
What skills did you come to Linux Padawan with?
Outside of breaking things, I have a good foundation with the basics, particularly in the RHEL family of distributions for setting up basic servers. Having used so many different distributions has given me a good foundation of working with desktops in particular. I am familiar with sysVinit as well as systemd. I’ve broken GRUB more times than I can count. I’ve used most every major desktop and a few window managers as well. I can find my way around /etc, have a very basic knowledge of shell scripts and regex. You could say I’m a good all-rounder.

What made you want to join Linux Padawan as a padawan? What do you hope to gain, personally or professionally, from your involvement?
I am apprenticed to Phillw to expand my knowledge of OpenStack, virtualization, systemd, and gain a better understanding of what goes into day to day systems administration. I currently work as a project manager and hope to certify with either Red Hat or the Linux Foundation as a CSA within the next few months.
I’m also apprenticed to Zleap to learn python for scripting and automation. I would also like to learn more about python for the purpose of detecting network intrusion.
What have you accomplished as a padawan? What did you learn.
So far, I’ve written my first script in more than twenty years or so and am rediscovering the power and fun of programming again. I’ve also written my first tutorial for LinuxPadawan on resetting a lost root password o
From phillw (and really the whole group) I’ve learned how much you gain by contributing to others and the community. I’ve started to learn something of moin syntax and am working on my own website.
What has your experience been like with your master?
Both masters are incredibly easy to work with. Collaborating is so much easier now than it was when I was in school. Having PhillW and Zleap available to bounce ideas off of is so much better than banging my head against the wall trying to learn something.
Any suggestions as to how masters can better facilitate learning in their padawan?
Both masters have done a great job and have been very encouraging. Just keeping the encouragement and challenges coming makes it interesting and fun.

What made you want to join Linux Padawan as a master? What do you hope to gain, personally or professionally, from your involvement?
I originally came to be a Padawan, but PhillW encouraged me to offer myself up as a master. The thought hadn’t occurred to me that I could help people learn. It made me take a step back and walk through my accomplishments and see how far I had come.
I want to give beginners the same leg up that I had when I first started. Knowing how to problem-solve basic issues and where to look for the more complicated ones is a barrier that stops a lot of people.
I work for a cable provider now that will be going through changes this year. I think that opportunities in Open Source keep growing and would like to make a career of it for myself.
How many Padawan are you currently mentoring? What projects are you helping them get involved with?
I am currently without a padawan. I would love to get people started learning how to work at the command line, give them the basics that I’ve been given and help get them pointed to a project that interests them.
What do you hope to help your Padawans achieve during your mentoring of them?
I want people to gain confidence in themselves and broader understanding of the world available to them with Open Source.
Linux Padawan is still a relatively new project, but what has your experience been so far?
It already feels like a community. Everyone understands the pressures and responsibilities that we all have in our daily lives. I was able to help another padawan with a problem they were having and they were so happy and thankful it really made me feel good to be able to contribute as well.
Outside of Linux Padawan, what projects or community are you involved in?
I’ve joined the Ubuntu Ohio LoCo and will be participating in my first global jam soon. I have also started testing with Lubuntu as well and found my first bug.
What advice do you have for new users who are just starting off and want to learn more about Linux?
Back up your data, back up the back up of your data, and then start breaking stuff and fixing it. Contribute something, ask that question you are afraid to, join us as a padawan or join another community. Keep trying.

Anything else you’d like to say?
I’m very thankful for the opportunity to contribute.

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