This is an ongoing Linux.com series that profiles The Linux Foundation's individual members and begins to collectively illustrate a very important part of the Linux community. Individual members help support the work of Linux creator Linus Torvalds and other important activities that advance Linux, while getting a variety of other fun and valuable benefits. It is this collective support from thousands of individual members that enables The Linux Foundation to provide important services for industry and community.
"My 7-year old has declared Linux is cool," says Alex Hooper.
Alex is an individual member of The Linux Foundation and has been using Linux for five years. She started using it when she moved in with her partner, who is a programmer and built her computer using Ubuntu. Since then, Alex, her 7-year old son, her parents, and even the neighbor have all become regular Linux and open source software users.
"I am not a computer programmer or very skilled when it comes to figuring out what to do to make things work. So I need something that is easy and intuitive. I can load new applications, software and peripherals without having to look up manuals or finding that drive disc that always goes missing when you need it."
Alex doesn't use Linux at work but does at home, so she sees the stark contrast with other operating systems on a daily basis.
"I can make a coffee and take a couple of calls before my work computer is ready to function, but I am welcomed by the login screen after making my coffee at home," she says. "I do a lot of artwork on the computer at home, which requires a fast dependable machine. The multiple desktop feature is extremely useful. I can have different windows for different tasks so that I don't get cluttered."
Alex said that she's tried quite a few Linux distro's on different laptops but today uses Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope. She also uses eeebuntu on her netbook. She says, "I have tried others and possibly need to upgrade to the latest distro. But it's not broken, so why fix it?"
She is also running a variety of applications on her Linux computer, including OpenOffice, Firefox, Blender 3D, Audacity, Brasero, Amarok, Skype, World of Goo, and GIMP.
"GIMP has to be my favorite open source project. I am a freelance illustrator in my free time. When I was learning to use software to draw, I looked at the usual packages available and couldn't afford to buy them. I found GIMP on the applications menu and thought I'd give it a try. Again, as is the case with all open source projects , it is very intuitive and I learned how to manipulate images and draw and paint on the computer. As a result, I have gained some commissions and sold some artwork in the process."
The graphic used to accompany this article on the Linux.com frontpage was designed by Alex.
As for joining The Linux Foundation, Alex says that she initially did it as a gesture to show her support for Linux but soon realized all the goodies to which she had access. "I've discovered many useful tutorials and how-to's, and the community forums on Linux.com are extremely interesting and helpful."
It appears that the family affair with Linux will continue into the next generation. Not only does Alex's son think Linux is "cool," but he's also working on becoming the next in-house Linux expert.
"For his birthday, we refitted an old computer into a pretty case and set it up with Ubuntu with a changing desktop. We left him to it while we set about arranging the day and came back and found he had added several games to the computer through the applications tab. We were rather impressed he'd worked it out. I asked him how he did it and he said 'it was easy mummy, do you want me to show you how to do it?'"
He is also the proud owner of a Tux T-shirt and is prepping his little brother for greatness.