Back to article

Interview with Sensei of Linuxnewbie

Sensei on the web

September 2, 1999

Linuxnewbie banner

We interview Jason "Sensei" Brietstein, the man behind Linuxnewbie, and quiz him on his web site and the future of Linux.

Linuxplanet: Your site Linuxnewbie has a great name!
Is it just for people new to Linux or do you get all sorts?


Actually, the initial purpose was for Linux newbies and still is the main focus. However, the real meat of the community seems to be the intermediate users that have gotten over the small humps and are now tying to tackle the more advanced Linux areas. 'We' all help each other out and its a very friendly community--NO RTFM at Linuxnewbie.org. You won't be a newbie forever, Linuxnewbie is not just for newbies. What has been so special is that the intermediate users want to help the newbies because they went through the same growing pains before.

I hate seeing Linux elitists perpetuate the "Linux should rule the world" statement, but don't help newbies which would increase the Linux market share--ironic. It's a powerful thing, people working together towards a common goal. In the immortal words of Hannibal from the A-Team, "I love it when a plan comes together."


Linuxplanet: The main area at the moment on your web site is the NHFs. Would you like to explain the idea behind these to people that may not have seen them


Yes, the NHFs are Newbieized Help Files. Basically users submit their NHFs (known as HOWTOs to others) for review and publication on the website. What makes a HOWTO and a NHF different?
Well the HOWTOs are mostly in-depth and lengthy book-like documents for sometimes simple operations. I've always hated the documentation for Linux and knew it needed reworking.
NHFs now provide users with easy-to-follow documentation to get up and running. Unlike the scary, sometimes unneccessarily info-laden HOWTO. Many people find the NHFs so great that they come to depend on them.

Linuxplanet: How long has the site been going now?


The site has been up for 4 3/4 months now and has been well received.

Linuxplanet: What new items do you have lined up for next month?


Online events. I want to get into online lectures. We currently run a help channel #linuxnewbie on the EFNET irc network. We try to tackle anything that comes our way, but if we can't answer it then it's probably best to post to our discussion board. More of my witty banter and weekly rants/reviews. We are going to do some audio feeds soon as well.

Linuxplanet: What is your favourite web site apart from linuxnewbie?


Freshmeat.net. I love going there and browsing through all the new apps, downloading, and tinkering with them. Salute to all the developers of all the great software out there.

Linuxplanet: Ha, you didn't take my hint .. what is your favourite article on Linuxplanet then?


Favorite Linuxplanet article: the top 10 best related Linux sites. However, I think you should've included introductory linux sites for beginners--and Linuxnewbie.org would've been a nice fit :). c'est la vie!

Linuxplanet: We do spider your site via the Search Engine and of course if I do a top ten Newbie sites you'll be in it! Let's talk about you and what you do do other than the site.

Linuxplanet: Do you ever use MS Windows?


Yes I do. I'm a web designer by day and I do a lot of Cold Fusion programming so I have to use it. However, Cold Fusion server for Linux is going to be released very very soon and that should limit my use of "the other white meat."

Linuxplanet: Which Linux distribution do you use the most?


I've used Redhat and Mandrake since 5.2/5.3 and now i use Mandrake 6. (I do plan on picking up one of those massive multi packs though :) ). Within the next months I plan to get a test system for reviewing new Linux apps/games/distributions etc. I also am incorporating Trinux for my firewall.