18 December 2009

Interview with JontheEchidna

For a paper explaining what things about New England's love of freedom and teaching and such brought me to love CS and programming.

John's blog can be found here: http://jontheechidna.wordpress.com/

Thank you so much Jon, could you briefly introduce yourself?

Hi, I'm an 18 year old student living in the Tilton/Northfield area of New Hampshire. I've always liked computers and videogames and hope to see more of both in my future.

When did you first become interested in GNU/Linux ?

About three or four years ago I finally became fed up with how slow Windows was on my computer. My father, and engineer, had this thing called Linux that he always used. (I had even played Xbill and xboing on our 486 when I was younger.) Being fed up with Windows, I tried Fedora with KDE as an alternative. I liked it a lot, but still wibbled between it and Windows. (Games...) But this sparked my interest in Linux as an alternative in general.

How did you get involved with KDE and Kubuntu?

About two years ago my dad came home with an Ubuntu CD. I popped it into the computer and promptly did not install it due to the brown background. A bit I learned that there was a KDE Ubuntu; namely Kubuntu. I found this to be much more visually pleasing than Ubuntu, to say the least. It was also KDE, which I was familiar with. I started to use Kubuntu more frequently until I used it most of the time.

One day I somehow found myself browsing dot.kde.org (now kdenews.org) and saw something about KDE 4. “Wow, 4 is bigger than 3. This ought to be cool!”, I thought, so I did some research. Being the geek I am, KDE4 got me really excited. When Kubuntu made available its KDE4 Live CD I tested it and (understandably) found some things that I felt needed changed. I popped into the Kubuntu irc chat room and voiced my opinions. A nice person named Lydia brought me to the Kubuntu Development chat room where I was able to give my opinions to the developers. I hung around there and gradually became involved in both Kubuntu and KDE.

What's your favorite application?

Good question. I think I have to answer KMail here. It was able to quite completely replace the need for Thunderbird for me with little effort on my part. Plus it was about 10 times as good looking too. KMail has served me faithfully for a year now with nary a crash, which is something to be said.

I noticed by a network speed test on your blog that you live in New Hampshire, how do you feel that the New England culture has effected you concerning your work in the free software/ open source world?

Well, to be honest when I moved to New Hampshire five years ago I didn't have very many neighbors around my age at all. My parents insisted on homeschool so I also didn't really have much of a social life other than church. Instead I spent more time with computers (and videogames), which is probably why I'm involved with the open source world today. But who can really say what would have happened if I had not moved to New Hampshire?

I'm also doing some researching about other people and things, one being the infamous RMS. Any thoughts?

My opinion's a bit mixed here. His ideals and opinions are a bit too extreme for my tastes, but on the other hand I must admit that he has done a great service to the open source world. If he ever read this interview he would probably get mad since I didn't refer to the Linux operating system as GNU/Linux, which makes me a bit depressed.

Watching him “Crank Dat Soulja Boy” with a bunch of MIT people on YouTube sorta makes up for it, though.

Project Timelord, can you talk a little about this? I understand it's on the blog, but a brief summary of why it's important to you.

Project Timelord is basically a fancy name for an effort to get Kubuntu on the path to success, through a roadmap of ideas and solutions to make sure that we are using our limited resources in the most efficient manner. It's really just the results of a few developers taking a retrospective look at Kubuntu and seeing what we can do better. After we did that, we slapped a name on it, publicized it, and started implementing it!

Project Timelord is important to me because Kubuntu is important to me. If we are successful in the implementation of Project Timelord both Kubuntu and KDE will benefit. I am excited to see how this all pans out.

Just personal curiosities...

I am also a huge Doctor Who fan. Excited for the 11th Doctor?
Oh yeah, definitely! But, quite frankly, I have had a hard enough time waiting for the special that's due to arrive November 14th. I have no clue how I will be able to hold out for season 5. (Or should I say series 5, as the British do?)

Another Simple Curiosity, I've always wanted to know if your screen name JontheEchidna has anything to do with the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise.

Bingo. As I have said before, I like video games. Sonic 2 was my first video game, and I've always loved it. After playing Sonic 3 & Knuckles I thought Knuckles was really cool, so when I got my first email address it involved echidnas, being 12 and all. After that, almost every other screen name I've had since then has involved echidnas in one form or the other.
Thank you,
I will most likely post this interview on my blog, if that's alright with you.
I appreciate the time you took to answer my questions.

See? a big part of Kubuntu and he's much younger than I! I better get crackin' at those C++ books and get to work!

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