Some time ago I announced a poll where I gather your opinion about the different changes on this blog. One of the questions there relates to interviews. Even though I have not published the results yet (you can still vote), I can tell that majority of my readers like the interviews.
I think I will continue with this line on the blog. And today I am happy to present you the interview with Riccardo Capecchi. You may or may not know his name, but you are more than likely know his blog - Linuxaria.
DarkDuck: Hello Riccardo. More people know you as Linuxaria. This is kind of a brand in the Linux world, I believe. How would you introduce yourself?
DD: You’re a blogger who writes about Linux. What is your blog about?
RC: Like my site says, everything related to Linux and Open source. I like to make posts that range from a special flag in the kernel to achieve a particular goal, to the last game released for Linux, or an introduction to a new open source software. In short, really anything related to the Open Source world.
DD: What does word “Linuxaria” mean?
RC: It's not a real world, it's a latinism that should mean “the knowledge of Linux”, like herbaria - the knowledge of plants. Perhaps the correct form would be linuxarium. But well, I prefer linuxaria. For more info see also this link.
DD: Who is the target audience of the Linuxaria blog?
RC: Anyone interested in Linux and Open source from newbie to old hackers.
DD: What was your first acquaintance with Linux?
RC: I started to work as a System administrator in 1999. We had all our Web servers (Apache !) on AIX systems at that time, with php and perl as scripting language. Compiling everything from scratch was a real pain in those days, but with some work everything worked fine. In those days, I must say, I used Windows as an OS for my workstation. Then, around the first months of 2000, someone talked to me of Linux, a new operating system, and introduced the concept of Open Source and GPL to me.
I must say that I really fell in love with the idea of Open Source and GPL even before I actually installed my first Linux Distro.
The first installations were not so easy. I kept a dual boot for some time. I used Red Hat in those days, until it became Fedora. And naturally, I started to press on my company to move our servers from Unix/Windows to Linux. This happened (for most applications, not all) in 2004, when Linux was considered mature enough for an enterprise. Since 2004, I use Gentoo (only, no dual boot) in my computer at work, and Ubuntu and Debian at home.
DD: Why did you leave Fedora?
RC: At that time I found that some of the packages I was interested were not packaged in the standard repository, and I had to compile them from source. Another things that I did not like was the frequent cycle release, an upgrade was never safe in those times, and so every 6-8 months you had to reinstall everything. In Gentoo, I loved the concept of rolling release.
DD: Linuxaria blog is relatively old. How, why and when have you decided to start it?
RC: I finished some long-term project in 2010, and I found myself with some spare hours in the week. So, I've thought to help the Linux community in some way. I'm not a programmer, so I cannot help directly in developing new programs. That’s why I started a blog where I write about my experience and other useful tips for every Linux user. I hope I helped Linux users in finding new and useful information in these 2 years.
DD: You write your posts in two languages: English and Italian. Why? Which part of you blog is more in demand?
RC: I'm Italian, so it is easier for me to write in Italian naturally. But most of the tech world understands English. That’s why I decided to write in both languages from the start, and I use this interview to apologies to all English people about my treatment of their language. ;)
In numbers, around 25% of my readers use the Italian version, and 75% use the English version of the site.
DD: I have reviewed several Linux distributions from Italy recently: Semplice and SalentOS. How popular Linux is in Italy? Is it taught in schools or Universities?
RC: Well, I'd like to say that it is popular, but usually between young people only. For what I know, it is used actively in the Universities, and this is a good thing. I'd love to see it also in the Public Administration, but things there move really slow.
A nice thing that we have in Italy is the Linux Day, a day dedicated to information, demo installation parties and anything that can help to spread the knowledge of this OS.
DD: Linuxaria blog gets quite a few guest posts. You have even accepted my post once. Do guest authors find yourself, or you are looking for them somewhere?
RC: It works in both ways. Usually I receive 1 or 2 request of guest posting a month from people that want to make a post on linuxaria.com, and I too make requests to people that have interesting tech blogs.
DD: I’ve seen your posts on Wazi, next to mine. Do you write anywhere else?
RC: Yes, I've written some articles for Wazi. I have a profile on hubpages and I've written in Italian on Italianbloggers. I also published some small how-tos here and there.
DD: What is your favourite OS now? Desktop environment?
RC: Operating System is GNU/Linux naturally, both at work and at home. Talking about Distro, I don't like some of the last choices of Ubuntu. At the moment my 2 favourites Distros are Gentoo (laptop) and Debian (home and servers). If I have some spare time (when??), I'd like to test Mint and Arch for my home computers.
Desktop: I can seem weird, but I use different DE for different tasks. I use only Fluxbox at work. I like to keep my screen clean and focus on few things. The killer feature that I like in this DE is the option of “tab any application”. At home, I use XFCE on my older computer and Gnome 3 on the new one. I'm testing Cinnamon these days, and it seems a good alternative to the default shell of Gnome 3.
DD: The usual question I ask to all my visitors. Do you read the blog Linux notes from DarkDuck? What would you like to improve or change there?
RC: Yes, I read it from long time ago. I like the in deep review that you do, I find them really well done.
What I'd change ? Not much, really. Perhaps the design, but you know everyone has his idea of what a site should look like :).
DD: Who are your favourite Linux bloggers, authors, journalists?
RC: Susan Linton, Joe 'Zonker' Brockmeier, Marco Fioretti and Carla Schroder are four old School writers who can write interesting articles of everything related to Linux and Open source. I like to read their articles in different websites and paper magazines.
Some of the blogs that I read regularly are: http://www.ubuntuvibes.com/, http://linuxpoison.blogspot.it/, http://www.garron.me/linux/.
In Italian: http://www.lffl.org/ and http://gmstyle.org/
DD: Other than Linux and computers, what are your hobbies, interests, activities?
RC: I'm interested in the protection of the Environment, I'm part of a group called Voluntary Ecological Guards. Our goals are to promote environmental information, to ascertain violations of the natural heritage and to cooperate with public bodies working for the preservation of the natural heritage and of the landscape.
I've just spent a month of March in Costa Rica, working as a volunteer in some of their beautiful National Parks.
So Linux / open source and these activities take most of my free time. I spend the rest of it with my girlfriend and our family, 2 dogs and 5 cats at the moment.
DD: Thanks for coming, Riccardo! It was nice to see you here. And I wish all the best to you and your blog.
RC: My pleasure, Dmitry, I hope to have some of your readers back on http://linuxaria.com and have their feedbacks on my site as comment or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.