I imagine quite a few of you have heard of this next interviewee. Daniel (a.k.a dholbach) has been involved in Ubuntu for as long as I can recall. He always seems incredibly enthusiastic, especially when it comes to the awesome community we have. Not to mention having a blog I find well worth a read. Enjoy!
1. Tell as much as you’re willing about your “real life” like name, age, gender, location, family, religion, profession, education, hobbies, etc.
My name is Daniel Holbach, I’m 30 years old, male, still enjoy living in Berlin, Germany. Live together with Murphy, my dog, work for Canonical in Jono Bacon’s community team. I like wandering around in the city, reading, all kinds of music, learning languages, good food and lots of other things. I DJed every now and then, playing Drum&Bass music, but haven’t for some months now and I miss it already. Another thing on my thing “TODO list” is: more holidays.
2. When and how did you become interested in computers? in Linux? in Ubuntu?
We had a computer at home for as long as I can remember and I always liked toying around with it. I think I wrote my first program in Basic or Pascal, when I was 11 or 12.
The first Linux I looked at was a SuSE 5.x and I was intrigued by the idea of people writing code for the greater good and sharing it. It took me a bit longer until I decided to remove Windows from my computers and stick with Linux. It was Debian Potato which I fell in love with and I spent a lot of time with.
I was lucky enough to meet Michael Vogt in Dortmund where I was studying and I still remember how he told me about “No Name Yet” over a beer and that I should try it.
3. When did you become involved in the forums (or the Ubuntu community)? What’s your role there?
When Ubuntu had its warty release I was busy with my thesis and I found that I needed a newer version of a library for what I was working on. I knew that it would involve packaging and Michael and S√©bastien Bacher helped me a lot to get the job done. It took me a bit to figure the packaging out and I was amazed that S√©b and Michael stayed that calm with me during the whole time. It wasn’t anything like what I expected from Open Source developers.
In the meantime I had read about Ubuntu’s goals, especially from a community perspective and I excited me a lot that this was so clearly codified and everybody was working together like that. I definitely wanted to be part of it.
The community was much smaller back then, so it was easy to stay on top of almost everything that was happening (Ok, I was neglecting my thesis a bit at that point). I helped out with supporting users on IRC and on the mailing lists and after some encouragement started to help out with packaging and trying to think of ways to best organise all the technical tasks in our slowly growing community.
4. Are you an Ubuntu member? If so, how do you contribute? If not, do you plan on becoming one?
I became an Ubuntu member after my first uploads and first attempts at writing TODO lists for all of us. I was really passionate about fixing packages not only on my machine for myself, but for thousands of users. This still exictes me today.
When I joined Canonical I helped out in lots of different areas: I helped S√©b with the maintenance of Desktop packages. I helped with some of the planning for the MOTU team, I was involved in setting up Bug days and the Bug Squad, I even packaged Artwork for some time. The work was pretty diverse and I always enjoyed it.
I’m glad I’m now part of the Community team, Jono’s four horsemen. Where I mostly work with the Developer community, but lots of other parts of the community as well. Since last cycle I’m part of the Ubuntu NGO team too, which tries to help non-profits and charities to help more effectively by making Ubuntu work better for them.
5. What distros do you regularly use? What software? What’s your favorite application? Your least favorite?
Exclusively Ubuntu. I’m a fan of Thunderbird3, of python, Django, GNOME and lots of other stuff.
6. What’s your fondest memory from the forums, or from Ubuntu overall? What’s your worst?
There’s many great memories I remember: my first upload to the archive, the first user who thanked me in a bug report for fixing their bug, when Mark invited me to UDS. Everytime I get to know so many brilliant and wonderful people. When I was flash-hugged at UDS. When I DJed with James Westby at the last night at UDS Prague. I could go on for hours.
I can’t really say there’s any “worst moment”, but maybe it’s all the small moments where we forget what amazing things we’re doing together and we need to remind ourselves.
7. What luck have you had introducing new computer users to Ubuntu?
Here in Berlin I find a lot of people converted to Ubuntu already. Just the other night I was in a bar where the computer that played the music was running Xubuntu or when I was talking to somebody and she asked what I did for a living and I asked “Do you know about Linux?” and she said “Oh you mean Ubuntu – yeah, I’ve been using that for ages now, it’s awesome!”
Also an Ubuntu T-Shirt works wonders here.
8. What would you like to see happen with Linux in the future? with Ubuntu?
Even more Ubuntu users, even more Ubuntu community members.
9. If there was one thing you could tell all new Ubuntu users, what would it be?
It’s such a great feeling to realise that you can help out easily and make a difference, not just for your own good, but also for others.