Submit News Alternative Tip Form

OMG! Interviews: Chris Johnston from the Ubuntu Beginners Team

Notice: This post is more than a year old. It may be outdated.

Once again we’re back for another week, which means it’s another Wednesday where we feature someone in the Ubuntu community and ask them a few questions. This week we’ve got the pleasure of talking to Chris Johnston; Ubuntu Beginners Team and Classroom all star.

Chris is an awesome dude who lives in Orlando, Florida. Outside of Ubuntu he fights fires and helps the injured as a Firefighter Paramedic (awesome in it’s own right!) but because we’re OMG! Ubuntu! and not OMG! Firefighter Paramedics! we’re going to be focusing on his involvement in Ubuntu. =P

Chris started using Ubuntu on his server back in 2007 with Ubuntu Server 7.10. After realising the awesomeness of Ubuntu, he began using it on his desktop and laptop in 2008 with the Hardy Heron. Last year he was awarded Ubuntu Membership status for his continued work in the Ubuntu Beginners Team, Ubuntu Classroom and his LoCo in Flordia.

He’s in IRC quite often and very approachable. Chris has done some fantastic work on ClassBot with Nathan Handler for the Ubuntu classroom, which we had a chance to try out in Ubuntu Manual’s 48 hours of Learning event and also during Opportunistic Developer Week not that long ago.

Chris is a Jedi Fellow in the Ubuntu Beginners Team, where he is active in the Launchpad Focus Group answering questions on Launchpad and triaging bugs. Along with his work in the Classroom and Beginners teams, he also keeps a neat blog, is learning to do bug triaging for the Bug Squad and helps organize Ubuntu User Days and Ubuntu Hour.

Interview Time!

1. You seem to be very interested in improving Ubuntu education with your involvement in the Beginners Team and Ubuntu Classroom. What do you think could be improved in Ubuntu to make it easier for new users starting out?

I think that the Ubuntu Manual Project is a good start. I would also like to see one of my other projects, Ubuntu User Days take off and become more of a staple in the Ubuntu Community. I believe that the learning environment provided by User Days, where an instructor can teach, and new users can ask questions in a live setting is a great way for getting your feet wet with Ubuntu.

2. You must be an incredibly busy person with your firefighting job alone, how does Ubuntu fit in with your everyday life?

With my schedule, I work 24 hours, and then I am off for 48 hours. So on my days off while my kids are at school and wife is at work I do stuff with Ubuntu.

3. Ubuntu education is incredibly important. What would be the best way for readers to help the Beginners Team or the Classroom project?

Both teams are very important. With the Beginners Team, we are always looking for people to help out. We have many different areas within the Beginners Team for users to participate, so you can work on what you are good at.

As you already said, I am a part of the LP focus group, which is one area that I enjoy helping. There is also a wiki focus group that helps maintain the wiki, an IRC focus group which provides live help in #ubuntu-beginners, and other areas for people to help as well.

4. Judging from your photos of the Florida LoCo, it looks like you guys have a lot of fun. Do you have any advice for other people in LoCo teams around the world who want to increase the number of activities and events their team organizes?

Just do stuff. I started the Ubuntu Hour in Orlando after speaking with a couple people who live near me and finding out that there was an interest. We have met 3 people since we started, 2 of which have joined the Florida LoCo, and another Ubuntu user who just happened to be having a cup of coffee. We have had weeks where there have only been two of us, and our record was 12.

We meet every Monday at 7pm locally in Orlando. Anyone in the area, please stop by!

5. Tell us about some upcoming projects that will be keeping you busy in the next couple of months. Now’s your chance to plug some projects!

Let’s see… ClassBot development is winding down. That was quite fun. Thanks nhandler!

Right now, my newest project is Website Localization. This is a project that I am leading, in which we want to add a cool new feature to We are going to take a users preferred language from their browser settings, and then display a short message on in the users language telling them where they can go to get more help in their language.

I have also recently started working on the LoCo Directory, which I think will be a great resource for all LoCo’s worldwide.

1. Browser of choice?


2. Your guess for the 10.10 code name?

Manic Monkey

3. What one application is your *must install* on a fresh copy of Ubuntu?

Just one? If I am limited to only one, I guess I would say Cairo Dock.

Thanks a bunch to Chris for taking some time out of his busy schedule to answer some questions! You can catch Chris on with the nick ‘cjohnston

Stick around and next week we’ll be interviewing someone else in the Ubuntu community!