Interview with Linux Journal Associate Editor Shawn Powers

Shawn Powers

Carlie: What is it that you do for Linux Journal?

Shawn: That's a scary question for your boss to ask... :)

Carlie: I meant "Tell our readers what you do for Linux Journal". :p

Shawn: As our needs change here at Linux Journal, my duties have shifted around a bit in the past year. Right now I'm spending a lot of time creating the daily Tech Tip videos for the website. I also write pieces for the print magazine (Current_Issue.tar.gz, and some UpFront stuff). I answer Letters To The Editor. I write some web articles, although not as many as Katherine would like.

Honestly, Linux Journal is the sorta place that you do whatever needs to be done. I've helped edit articles for the print magazine, proofread the mag for print, come up with zany contest ideas, and *almost* convinced the Houston office they need to get a coffee pot. I'm still working on that last one. [Editor's note: we now have a Breville BKC700XL in the office. We couldn't deal with Shawn's incessant taunting.]

Carlie: Best part of the gig?

Shawn: Honestly, although it might seem like a pageant answer, the best part of working at Linux Journal is the people. Don't get me wrong, as a long time subscriber, the prestige of working for my favorite magazine is really humbling -- but in the end it's the people that make it awesome.

The Linux Journal crew itself is such a laid back group of people, I've never experienced "awkwardness" or uncomfortable politics. Yes yes, I realize I live and work in Michigan, so geography might isolate me from office stresses. In all honesty though, we communicate often enough that I feel as though I'm really part of the team as opposed to some outside consultant. The Internet makes it seem like we're in the next room instead of the next time zone.

But that's just the LJ crew. When you add the entire community, it really does get awesome. Commenters on linuxjournal.com, and their varying views on "freedom" along with the #linuxjournal IRC channel members and their penchant for sarcasm really provide a neat place to be yourself. If you want to know the Linux Journal crowd -- we're easy to find online.

Carlie: Worst part of the gig?

Shawn: It sounds cheesy, but it's tough to think of a downside. Living and working so far away from the rest of the staff is frustrating at times. I'm terribly disorganized, so I think I tend to frustrate my co-workers occasionally when I forget to do stuff. If you ask our Executive Editor, Jill, what the worst part of the gig is for her, she might say, "Shawn on deadline day." ;)

Carlie: What open source project are you most interested in right now?

Shawn: I'd have to say I'm still interested in seeing what happens in the embedded market. I see projects like Android, Moblin, WebOS, and others beginning to compete with more traditional Linux distributions. It's just neat to see all these new devices (phones, netbooks, handheld computers, ebook readers) continue to blur the distinction defining mobile computing. It's a cool process to watch.

Carlie: Vulcan, Borg, Ferengi, Klingon, or Romulan. Which species do you most relate to and why?

Shawn: Vulcan, hands down. It would be illogical to choose any other. You want more reasoning? Fine.

  • Borg - I'm afraid of needles, much less 50 pounds of hardware getting crammed into my body. Plus they walk really slow.
  • Ferengi - I know you'd assume it's the ears that would ruin it for me, but really it's their greed. How could an honest Open-Source boy ever identify with a Ferengi?!!?
  • Klingon - I'm just not cool enough. I'm more likely to get gored by a Targ than to become a Klingon officer.
  • Romulan - They have all the dorkiness of the Vulcans, but none of the cool. Plus, I'd probably end up living in a cardboard fort strung out on Romulan Ale.
  • Vulcan - Again, I'm pretty geeky. I think Vulcans are awesome. Plus, have you SEEN Zoe Saldana? :)

The real question is which captain do I most admire or identify with. And of course, it would have to be Picard. (There's actually more of a story there, but I won't bore you with it now.)

Carlie: Any parting words for our readers?

Shawn: Well put, and very IRCish of you. I'd just like to invite everyone into our little "family" here at Linux Journal. Stop into the #linuxjournal IRC channel (irc.freenode.net), and chat with the folks that write the columns. Follow our staff on Twitter, and experience the mundane (and sometimes absurd) day to day ramblings of the staff. And heck, if there's something you'd like us to do differently, just let us know.

/part #web_interview

______________________

Carlie Fairchild is the publisher of Linux Journal.

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LJ has been out a long time.

Using Linux since 15 years old; 23 now.'s picture

Cool. I first got exposed to Linux Journal in a high school drafting class back in 2001-ish. My teacher was a Linux geek, and he had a LJ mag on his desk so I just picked it up. Googled Linux on the school computers, and I have been doing Linux ever since. Back in those days, most netizens used Linux and had to write their own "dial up" scripts if they were not using MS Windows. Of course, the config for the script was stored in good ole /etc.

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