Your views on the fellowship interviews

Ciarán O'Riordan ciaran at
Wed Mar 9 23:40:57 UTC 2011

I read them sometimes.

What I find interesting is reading about how people with other focusses
perceive free software.

I like when interviewees talk about details and real world examples.  The
Leena Simon interview is a good example, it was interesting to read about
free software views within the Pirate Party and within Freedom not Fear.

I think questions should to focus on the interviewee's direct experience and
not get too general.

And I like getting an overview of the state of the art in a domain.   (see
answer to Q8)

> 7. How could the interviews be brought to new audiences / be more effectively 
> promoted?

It would be good to have a page with the list of interviews.  With the
current page, you have to scroll through the text of all the interviews to
see the titles.  It would be good to have a list of links

* Fellowship interview with Massimo Babieri
* Fellowship interview with Anne Østergaard
* Fellowship interview with Alexander Kahl
* ...

Also, most interviews are with people I don't know, so the title is
"Fellowship interview with [name of someone you don't know]".  It's hard to
guess if the interview will be interesting.  Maybe a better format would be:

* Interview: Massimo Babieri on free music
* Interview: Anne Østergaard on government software usage

And my above suggestion for a page with a list of links would be even better as:

* [title]
  Massimo is an IT manager and musician, publishing free music...

* [title]
  Anne has been involved in government lobbying on free software issues...

* [title]

Then it would be easier to see which interviews are of interest to me.

> 4. Do you think they appeal to people outside of the FS community? Should 
> they?

I think they probably don't, and probably shouldn't.  I don't have a strong
opinion on it but I think the target audience should be Fellows.

> 8. Do you have any strong recommendations for future candidates?

Maybe a good way to choose interviewees would be to first choose a domain,
such as something that's in the news, and then try to find someone who's
active in that domain.

For example, there's lots of free software for doing animations, but it's
difficult for a newcomer to know what the best tools are - which packages
are actively maintained, which have recently added cool features, etc.  An
interview with someone who's done film production with free software could
cover this.

LWN's Grumpy Editor's Guide to [Whatever topic] could be a good style guide,
but it could be improved by getting that type of info from someone who's
directly involved in that domain.  (And in most cases, a power user would be
more interesting than a developer.)

I think domains are more important than specific packages, but if there's a
package/project with a large impact and they're making an explicit effort to
focus on freedom, then an interview could be worthwhile.  I don't mean KDE
5.0 (they've been doing freedom for yonks, it's not news), but Libre Office
might qualify (broad impact, and a freedom and community focus is new for
that code).

Ciarán O'Riordan, +32 487 64 17 54,

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