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.

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