I have to sincerely apologise for not getting these interviews out as often as I should. Luckily, I have a great one to start getting back on track – cprofitt is a hard-working, dedicated member of the community, his work in the Beginners Team (that which I had contact with, at least) is nothing short of invaluable. Rather than tell you everything, read on:
1. Tell as much as you’re willing about your “real life” like name, age, gender, location, family, religion, profession, education, hobbies, etc.
Name: Charles Profitt
Location: Western, NY
Profession: Systems Administrator / Database Administrator / IT Security
Education: BA Political Science
Hobbies: Photography, Computers
Marital Status: Married
2. When and how did you become interested in computers? in Linux? in Ubuntu?
I became interested in computers around 1970 while my dad was at Syracuse University. I was completely hooked in 1979 when my I was exposed to the Apple II while in 7th grade. Later that same year my family got a Ti-99/4. I first looked at Linux in 1994 or 1995 when I tried Suse Linux. I did not adopt Linux seriously until 6.06 when I started dual-booting Ubuntu and Windows. I did not convert completely until I gave up gaming and finished a .Net programming project I was being paid to do. Gutsy Gibbon was the first version that became my full-time OS w/o Windows installed.
3. When did you become involved in the forums (or the Ubuntu community)? What’s your role there?
I joined the Ubuntu Forums in October of 2006 and through my connection with the Ubuntu Beginners Team I became involved in the Ubuntu Community.
I am a forum moderator for the New York State LoCo team area.
4. Are you an Ubuntu member? If so, how do you contribute? If not, do you plan on becoming one?
I am an Ubuntu member. I contribute through the Beginners Team and several other teams. I have primarily focused on running my LoCo team and advocating for Ubuntu and open source software.
5. What distros do you regularly use? What software? What’s your favorite application? Your least favorite?
I regularly use Ubuntu, but have played around with Debian, Arch and Fedora. If Ubuntu did not exist I would likely be using Fedora. My favorite application is nmap because I use it in my job to monitor the networks I am responsible for. My least favorite is… well… I do not really have one.
6. What’s your fondest memory from the forums, or from Ubuntu overall? What’s your worst?
My favorite just happened this past October when I attended UDS-N in Orlando Florida. It was an amazing experience to see how the community and Canonical work together to fashion an OS. To meet so many of the great people that contribute to the project was absolutely fabulous. My worst experience with Ubuntu was actually tied to the same event. My flight to Orlando on Sunday night was delayed and my connecting flight was going to be missed. I got rebooked on a flight for the next day, but
that too ended up delayed by an hour.
7. What luck have you had introducing new computer users to Ubuntu?
I have had great luck in converting people as individual users. Several clients that I had done work for resolving Windows issues have been converted to Ubuntu. I would guess I have converted roughly 15-20 people to Ubuntu over the last four years. In trying to convert large organizations to Ubuntu or Floss the process has not been as successful. While I feel that I have at least made people understand there is an alternative to Microsoft and Apple I feel that it is much harder to move a large organization. I just hope that my advocacy is gradually making an impact by eroding the belief that there are only two choices.
8. What would you like to see happen with Linux in the future? with Ubuntu?
I would like to see Ubuntu become easier for people to choose. Currently you can not walk in to a big box store and get a Linux based computer. It would be amazing to see smaller local computer shops feel as though they could compete by offering a Linux based alternative. It is close to impossible for them to do so in price. I think Ubuntu’s focus will make them the OS of choice for desktop Linux should such a movement come to fruition.
I also think there is a chance that a company like HP may decide to use Linux on their desktops as they start to compete more with Apple has a hardware manufacturer. I think HP’s purchase of Palm shows that there is a belief that Windows may be holding HP back. With the hiring of Leo Apotheker, a software centric player, it is possible that HP will look even closer at how software can help them compete. While HP has HP-UX at the server level it has not used an *nix in the consumer space.
9. If there was one thing you could tell all new Ubuntu users, what would it be?
Be patient because Ubuntu is not Windows or OS X. It will be bumpy to migrate, but the investment in re-learning some applications will set you free of vendor lock-in and leave you richer computing experience.