November 8th & 9th, 2024
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SeaGL speaker Q&A: Andrew Kane

Andrew Kane will speak about contributing to projects:

Q: Could you please introduce yourself and tell us a little about your background?

I’m not very interesting in my own right. My personal background is both boring and depressing.

I became interested in computing early on, and had a Commodore 64 when I was a small. I heard about Linux in 1994 from a person I worked with, but didn’t have and couldn’t afford a computer at that time. After hitchhiking to Washington in 1995 and living in the woods for a year, I moved to Seattle because there were no computers where I was. Also I wanted to participate in this Internet thing I’d heard so much about (later I realized I’d already been on it via GOPHER, but that’s another story).

I first installed Slackware in 1996 and have run GNU/Linux on all my computers since. About this time I learned about the GNU Project and the idea of Free Software and I wanted to be part of this new way of doing things.

More recently I worked with and helped to destroy Free Geek Seattle, and am working on another project to help make such an organization live again. I decided that another layer of abstraction was needed. During this time I switched to using Debian for all my computers, and am trying to help that project.

Q: Without tipping your hand on the actual talk, can you give us an idea of what we might expect?

The talk is about how newcomers can contribute to Libre projects. Since the talk is itself Free Software and I’m a Debian booster, the talk will use itself and Debian as example projects. There will be some discussion of technical topics (how to submit patches, etc.) and some discussion of interpersonal topics (since ‘politics’ is a dirty word) including but not limited to the thickness of skins as a hidden requirement for participation in some projects.

Q: Is this your first visit to SeaGL? If so, what are your expectations? If not, can you give us your impressions of the event?

I have attended the previous two SeaGL events as a table anchor for Free Geek Seattle (and incidentally for GSLUG also). I’m very impressed with the growth of the event and the quality of the information presented there. I’ve also enjoyed interacting with the organizers. Good times all round thus far.

Q: This is an optional question. If you have a question you’d like to ask yourself to answer, put it here and then answer it:

The question: “Does it matter who you are?”

The answer: For the purposes of this presentation, not at all. If this talk is only accessible to people like me, then it will be a complete failure. If it cannot be successfully repeated by someone who is not me nor similar to me, then it will be mostly a failure.

Free Software cannot work without radical inclusion. It must be open to all or it isn’t really open at all.

Free Software projects are collaborative projects. Without collaboration there is no reason to publish your code. When people work together they must be able to communicate honestly and openly. This means that barriers to communication must be addressed and overcome.