15 Mar 2012

Guillermo Garron: Linux can be as easy as Windows, but you can complicate it as much as you want

There are many people who write about Linux. Many of them help each other. But there are few whom I appreciate most of all. Today I interview one of them - Guillermo Garron.

DarkDuck: Hello, Guillermo. Welcome to my blog. It is very unusual, because more often I write guest posts for you. Now we slightly change roles. I am glad to see you here. I think not all my readers know you. Could you please describe in short who you are?

Guillermo Garron
Guillermo Garron: Hi Dmitry, I'm a guy in love with computers since I was 16, I'm 38 now :(. I'm an electronic engineer, and work in the telecommunications area.

I am married and have two children, girl (10) and boy (4). I'm Bolivian and live in Bolivia.

DK: What are your relations with the Linux world?

GG: My relation with Linux started back in 1998 when I worked as a chief on the Internet section in company ENTEL in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. Almost all our servers were Linux, only the DNS was Unix, we worked with Red Hat in those days.

DD: You work in the telecommunications area. What is the link with Linux? Is it your professional or mostly personal interest?

GG: It is mostly a personal interest, as I told you I like computers. I have found that Windows is in no way a challenge, at least not like Linux is. And before someone start saying that Linux is a challenge because it is difficult, I should add, that it could be as easy as Windows, but you can complicate it as much as you want. That is what I like about it: you can use it as day-to-day tool, but also as a hobby to learn new things.

DD: What are your current projects?

GG: Unfortunately, I've been busy these last 10 months, and found few minutes a day to work on new projects, and document them in my blog. Maybe I'm also getting old, and I get tired earlier in the day than few years ago. :)

DD: You now have several blogs: go2linux.org, garron.me. What is the difference between them?

GG: Well, I started go2Linux to blog just about Linux. With the time I started to have some other interests besides Linux. I am interested in Android, iOS, Mac, and technology related news. As I wanted to start writing about them, I thought that writing about iOS in a Linux blog was not a good idea. Even about Android, as one of my readers once told me.

So, I started a new blog, this time not Drupal powered anymore, this time is powered by Jekyll. You can read more about it here.

I write now at garron.me about those areas of interest for me, in different sub-blogs, with independent RSS links, independent email-newsletters. I hope the readers may like the new site.

DD: What do you cover in each of your blogs?

GG: I still cover Linux, but also Mac, Android, Blackberry, iOS and other technology related areas.

But I also have my personal sub-blog in garron.me site, so I also cover there the random posts that could eventually come to my mind, some are as random as this one.

DD: You live in Bolivia, the relatively small country. I am not sure so many people are familiar with situation there. How popular or unpopular is Linux in Bolivia?

GG: Bolivia is a small country if think in number of people. We are only 9 million. But we are as big in size as France and Spain combined.

Linux is popular in Universities, especially in computer science careers, but not too popular in the corporate universe. Even the Internet cafes have Windows installed in cases when Linux could be a better option, because it is free, and also because it is more secure.

I think the government should push the use of Linux as Universities are doing, because that way the money stays in Bolivia.

But it should also be said that most people do not pay for Windows and use the pirate copies.

DD: Does your company do anything to popularize Linux and FOSS in your home country?

GG: Actually no, Linux is my personal project, and I try to return to the community what the community gave to me.

DD: What are your favourite operating system(s)? Desktop environments? Applications?

GG: My favourite distributions are: Arch Linux, Slackware, Debian and Gentoo in that order. I like Fluxbox, blackbox and the like. Now I'm using Gnome 3 with Arch Linux on my desktop, and I'm really enjoying it.

DD: GNOME3 and Fluxbox are actually on different poles of the scale, if compare complexity of window manager / desktop environment. Why are your choices so different?

GG: I consider myself a minimalism lover, you can see that in my blog design, so fluxbox, OpenBox and the like are in that area. But sometimes I also like to have everything configured for me, and now Gnome3 and Unity are somehow minimalist too.

DD: You work with Linux-based operating systems since 1998, which is almost 14 years now. What has changed? What was different? What was better or worse?

GG: The first thing I can see have changed, is the complexity. Linux is not for the software gurus only anymore, now it is as easy as any of the competitors. Just few days ago I was configuring my 3G USB dongle in my Ubuntu Netbook, and it was as easy as insert it, and write the APN in the right field, and it was working, no more wvdial, pppd, or the like configuration and editing files. Plug and play, just like in my Mac.

DD: The estimations are different, but I think that realistically Linux-based operating systems encounter about 1-2% of the market share. What should be done to get more people involved into Linux community and increase the Linux popularity?

GG: I think that the product is ready for the prime time, but we need some space in the super bowl. It was there where Steve Jobs started.

Well, what I mean is that what we need is Marketing, the product is ready, at least for me. The bits and odds, that may be needed, will come when more people and companies start using Linux.

DD: The question I ask to all my guests. Do you read the blog Linux notes from DarkDuck? What would you like to see here? What should be improved?

GG: I read it. I have you in my favourite RSS with some other 6 blogs (not all of them about Linux). I admire you for all the reviews you do. I understand they are not in-deep reviews, and more something like bird eye reviews. But I learned about Pardus and some others because of your blog, and this encourages me to read more about them.

DD: Do you have any hobbies or interests outside of the electronics world?

GG: I like to go to the gym I have 4 years straight lifting weights, doing some spinning and jogging too.

DD: Thanks for the interesting interview, Guillermo. I hope our collaboration will continue. All the best for you and your projects.

GG: Thanks to you for this opportunity to share something about me. Keep the good job.


  1. GG says that he thinks linux is ready for prime time and what we need is marketing.

    I’ve been looking at this issue for several months now, comparing distributions, assessing their strengths and weaknesses, and trying to identify the problems for an ordinary person migrating from Windows or Mac to linux.

    Someone says somewhere about the distro Peppermint that they have never met anyone who didn’t know what to do when they opened up its desktop for the first time. I agree. It gives nothing but a menu—and from that, away you go, in intuitively obvious ways. So there are distros that newbies can handle.

    But—and this is a big but—there are three problems for the non-geek: downloading a distro, installing it, and getting their hardware to work. In particular getting the printer installed and the scanner—these two I have found again and again to be big obstacles, in distro after distro. Occasionally the distro can’t find the ethernet. Occasionally Virtualbox will not install correctly.

    I’m pondering—what do we do to overcome the hardware problems?

  2. You know. I have written about that in the past:


    And yes, there is a problem, a problem the hardware makers need to help to solve.

    We are in the egg or the hen.

    - Should the hardware makers need to put effort into dealing with Linux modules (Drivers) before Linux is popular.

    - Should the Linux community try to make it more popular with Marketing and then hardware makers will have support Linux users.

    Hard to say, and I'm sure there are people more prepared to answer this than me.