We recently interviewed Brian Proffitt on how he uses Fedora. This is part of a series on the Fedora Magazine where we profile Fedora users and how they use Fedora to get things done. If you are interested in being interviewed for a further installment of this series, you can contact us on the feedback form.
Who is Brian Proffitt?
Brian has been involved with Linux for a long time. In the summer of 1999, he was asked to write a book about Sun StarOffice 5.1 for Linux. This was a challenge for Brian as he had never run Linux before. “I got a hold of a Caldera OpenLinux CD set and installed it on a friend’s spare PC.” He was hooked on Linux when he was able to play an in-memory game of Tetris while the operating system was being installed.
Brian’s childhood heroes are Robin Hood and Spider Man, both ordinary guys doing their best to help save the world. Proffitt’s favorite movies are It’s a Wonderful Life and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.
Brian works as a Principal Community Analyst for the Open Source and Standards Team at Red Hat. He is responsible for the creation and contribution of written content, video material, and social media content for a variety of open source projects. Proffitt has been a professional writer for over 25 years with experience in newspapers, technical books, and technical reporting.
Brian was one of the earliest adopters of Fedora after Red Hat Linux ended and became an upstream for Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Proffitt said, “Sams Publishing had a book relationship with Red Hat way back in the day, so I was already familiar with the Red Hat ecosystem of code”.
Brian’s earliest thoughts about the Fedora Community were relatively positive. He was a solid Fedora user originally, but not much of a contributor. Proffitt said, “It seemed a very active and competent group of people and perhaps a little less reactionary than other communities”.
Proffitt would like to see a concerted effort to improve the availability and quality of Fedora’s documentation. “It is disconcerting that one of the most user-friendly distributions available today for desktop, server, and cloud still has a relative lack of information out on the Internet on how to use it.” Brian continues, “Fedora should capitalize on its smart and diverse community to create content that will enable others to find out what they are missing.”
When asked about what he would like people to know about the Fedora Project, Proffitt wanted people to know that Fedora has a great amount of flexibility. “I think people give Fedora a lot of short shrift about its flexibility as a user and as a developer platform. Fedora’s work with Project Atomic and its container-based tools, I think, are going to help dispel that perception, as well as its continued expansion in the cloud.”
In terms of the Fedora community, Brian describes himself as a doorman. “Writing documentation, posting social media… it’s all about opening the door and showing people into your project. That’s what I think I am doing with the Fedora Project.”
When asked who influenced his decision to contribute to the Fedora Project, Proffitt said, “I can’t code to save my life. I never thought I would be an open source contributor. But when I was a technology journalist with Linux Today, I recall Michael Tiemann used to emphasize that any contribution was a good contribution… it didn’t have to be code.”
Proffitt’s primary machine is a Lenovo Thinkpad T430p that is docked and attaches to two external drives. One drive is 1TB and the other is 4TB. He utilizes a standing desk and ergonomic keyboard. He pairs the laptop with a Dell 27-inch 4K monitor and an Asus 27-inch HD monitor.
Brian is currently running a clean-install of Fedora 23 utilizing Chrome, Firefox, and Irssi in a screen session for IRC. For years, he used emacs as a text editor, but after this year’s OSCON, Brian switch to Atom. Atom provided hooks for git and Markdown / HTML preview functions. For social media, Proffitt uses Hootsuite as a Software-as-a-Service solution to manage multiple social media accounts. He also uses Steam to game. “I also have Steam, because on long plane trips, there’s nothing I like more than getting blown up in FTL.”