Interview with Em

Sorry for being a week late with the next interview, I was on vacation in Asia.

I must confess that I had not heard a lot about our next interviewee but I am certainly very glad to have met this very friendly person and the company she keeps. For those that do not know Em is the founder of the popular IRC channel ##club-ubuntu.

1. Tell as much as you’re willing about your “real life” like name, age, gender, location, family, religion, profession, education, hobbies, etc.

I use the nick “em” on freenode and my friends know me as emma. I live in New York City. Playing with Linux has become one of my primary hobbies. I really enjoy Freenode and IRC as a medium for finding people interested in the things I enjoy learning about.

I am not really very interesting but the ##club-ubuntu channel on Freenode is. Club Ubuntu helps to deliver on the concept that Ubuntu is an OS for everyone. We are a community that places an emphasis on freedom, openness, and individual expression. As a social channel and virtual Linux users group we are a very diverse network of friends – with people from all over the world, of various levels of skill, age, and maturity. We are definitely a channel for people who prefer the unpredictability of a busy city over the security of a comfortable suburb.

2. When and how did you become interested in computers? in Linux? in Ubuntu?

I’ve always been somewhat interested in computers. When I was very young a relative bought me a TRS 80 Color Computer and for a little while I was really on the cutting edge. That didn’t last long. About three years ago I was feeling bad that my understanding of computers and technology had become so deficient. I wanted to do something about it. I went to Barnes and Noble to find a book that might help. I found the books about Linux and it seemed that Linux would be the perfect entry-point into everything I wanted to understand. Among all of the Linux books the books about Ubuntu stood out as the most accessible so I bought one of those. I brought it home and installed the Live CD that came with it. Ubuntu installed without any problems. While I was playing around with Synaptic Package Manager I more or less inadvertently installed Xchat which, by default, drops you into #ubuntu on Freenode. One thing lead to another and not long after that ##club-ubuntu was made.

3. When did you become involved in the forums (or the Ubuntu community)? What’s your role there?

No answer given.

4. Are you an Ubuntu member? If so, how do you contribute? If not, do you plan on becoming one?

I am not an Ubuntu member although I have many friends who are. I contribute to Ubuntu, along with the rest of Club Ubuntu by creating a space where a lot of people who wouldn’t have otherwise tried Ubuntu can feel comfortable and know they are accepted. The official Ubuntu community is a well organized group that offers a lot of ways for people to be involved. Unfortunately no community can ever connect with every personality or interest. I think one of the ways Club Ubuntu contributes the most is by being a bridge between that official Ubuntu community and the rest of the world. I’ve known many long time Linux users who don’t identify with Ubuntu but enjoy hanging out in ##club. Likewise, we have introduced a lot of Windows users to Ubuntu and the benefits of open source software.

5. What distros do you regularly use? What software? What’s your favorite application? Your least favorite?

Ubuntu is the only operating system I ever use on my home machine. I have, however, successfully challenged myself to use other distros now and then. I always return to Ubuntu though because for me it is less of a hassel and the packages are a little bit more fresh than the alternatives I’ve tried. Someday when I have some more time I would love to work through Linux From Scratch. Among my favorite applications are irssi, maxima, and inkscape. I don’t have anything negative to say about any of the applications made by talented volunteers who are willing to open source their software and let me try it for free!

6. What’s your fondest memory from the forums, or from Ubuntu overall? What’s your worst?

I am fond of the time I have spent with really funny, intelligent, and interesting people in Club Ubuntu. Many of whom have become genuinely good friends. Club Ubuntu is one of the few places with the flexibility to bring together everyone from Ubuntu devs to high school kids who got banned in other channels. Our setting is informal and people tend to work things out, and get to know one another in an authentic way. That is what a real community is about, and I am proud that is what Club Ubuntu is.

7. What luck have you had introducing new computer users to Ubuntu?

We have been very successful at this. As I mentioned earlier this is probably one of the primary ways that Club Ubuntu benefits the larger and more formal Ubuntu community. You will usually find over a hundred people chatting in ##club-ubuntu at any given time, and over the years hundreds more have passed through. We also have over 150 members in our group on Launchpad. In some ways we specialize in making a home for people who didn’t feel like they were accepted in other places and we have been compared to the Island of Misfit Toys. I think that’s really valuable if you are serious about being a community for everyone.

8. What would you like to see happen with Linux in the future? with Ubuntu?

This is a great question; here are some of the things that show up on the Club Ubuntu wish-list: (1) More attractive games available for play on Linux. (2) Better hardware drivers. Especially for video and graphics. We would really like to see the Linux community get the open source AMD drivers in shape (especially for opencl support) and look forward to getting Wayland as a replacement for X (3) We would like to see Ubuntu make security and encryption as easy for ordinary users as it has done for other aspects of using Linux.

9. If there was one thing you could tell all new Ubuntu users, what would it be?

Visit us in ##club-ubuntu on the Freenode IRC network! We are a community with a lot of diversity when it comes to skills, interests, and maturity. We would be happy to see you and you will probably make some friends who can show you what Linux and Ubuntu have to offer.

Originally Posted here on 2011-08-01

9 Responses to “Interview with Em”

  1. Melissa Says:

    You have got to be kidding me.

  2. akgraner Says:

    Seriously? Are we now endorsing ##club-ubuntu? Just wondering?

  3. seidos Says:

    Wooooo hooooooo! Exciting!

  4. joshola Says:

    I’ve been in the ##club-ubuntu room now for about a month. I’d say its much better than some other rooms because it’s free for open discussion, and i’ve made some really decent friends in there.

  5. bazkie_bumpercar Says:

    i like ##club-ubuntu very much, opinions are generally respected (if sometimes heavily discussed, but that’s fine :)) and there are some really interesting people :)

  6. opt1mus Says:

    For me ##club-ubuntu is a channel that welcomes diversity, that embraces a warm jovial yet forthright ethos that should never be discouraged, and thus shuns a cold pompous arrogance one may find elsewhere.

    To the author of the terse, impolite and nonconstructive critique found within the first comment, I say this; that every human being is entitled to courtesy and consideration. Constructive criticism is not only to be expected but sought. You should not be surprised to find your poor attitude reciprocated.

    Keep doing what you’re doing Emma, I enjoy the exchanges on ##club-ubuntu, whether it’s a heated debate, or a relaxed evening of sharing musical tastes; we must learn to live together as ‘brothers’, or perish together as fools.

    John.

  7. ActionParsnip Says:

    Its a fine interview :)

  8. malv Says:

    She banned me from her channel.

    “We are a community that places an emphasis on freedom, openness, and individual expression. ”

    Total BS. Just another crappy filtered Ubuntu channel with an idiot moderator who thinks she’s more tolerant than the rest.

  9. Atamira Says:

    Ive been in #club-ubuntu forever it seems. Its a great place to be. Always chatting going no matter what time zone you’re in with a wide range of interests to share, debate and argue over.

    Great interview em !

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