I get a lot of help from many people and from the community and I also have two other people working full time with me. I'm not interested in making Linux Mint grow fast though. Seeking investments, funds, renting an office, giving myself a job title and going to work every day as the boss of 20 newly hired engineers isn't what I have in mind. I love what I do, I work with passion, from home, with no commercial ties to anyone, and now and then I get in a position where I can secure yet another salary and make someone else join the adventure.
Knowing what you know now, what (if anything) would you have done differently to the project as a whole if you could go back and change it?
A few things come to mind, but I suppose only in light of the learning I got from the mistakes I made. I think the one thing I regret the most is giving people the impression I cared about politics and getting involved in something that had nothing to do with me. I hurt some people by doing that and that's something I'll always regret. I try and apologize as much as I can to whoever queries me on that and reassure them that absolutely everyone is welcome to join me, no matter where they're from, who they are and what their political beliefs might be. Dividing topics such as these are an awful waste of time. We're passionate about what we do and we do it together with people who don't necessarily agree on everything but agree on the fact that these topics aren't important here, so yes, I deeply regret taking position on one of these and you can be sure I learnt a lot from that and won't get close to any of that again any time soon. Now and then I turn on the TV to watch the news, and that's as far as it goes. When I'm in front of the computer I want to avoid all that, I want positive feelings, positive thinking, constructive interactions, and most of the time I seek sharing and creating new exciting things.
If you had the power to change one thing, no matter what that might be, about another FOSS project, what would the project be, what would you change and why?
Anyone has the power to change any FOSS project, that's the beauty of FOSS.
What non-Linux Mint open source projects are you currently most excited about and why? What other external projects are you involved in?
I'm really focused on Linux Mint. The only project outside of Linux Mint I'm involved with is one of our most important upstream components: The MATE desktop environment.
How can users support the project (financially, bug testing, development, etc.)?
There are many ways to support the project. Simply by running Linux Mint, enjoying it, giving us feedback and spreading the word people already help us a lot in promoting Linux Mint and making it better. Donations, sponsorship and usage of partnering search engines also helps us fund the project. Helping other people and writing tutorials on the community website, in the forums or on the IRC make it easier for newcomers to join us and for all of us to enjoy being together. And then of course, for people who are familiar with what we do, where our focus goes and what we're working on, we're always happy to welcome people within the team and to help them work with us on artwork, testing, development, design etc. The main thing here isn't skills or experience, but an understanding of what Linux Mint and its community are and how they work, what their priorities are.
If a community member / Linux Mint user recognized you and walked up to you in a pub and offered to buy you any drink, what kind of drink would you order?
Oh no, this is Ireland, we buy rounds of beer around here. He/she would have to order a pint for everyone in the group and join us in the rounds. The good news of course is that he/she would probably drink for free all night after that and get to know everyone pretty fast.
Christopher von Eitzen is a freelance technology writer specialising in open source and security, as well as mobile hardware and software platforms. You can follow on Twitter or Google+, or contact him by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read more about software in Network World's Software section.