Behind MOTU: Barry deFreese

One of the things I find so fascinating about Ubuntu development is the community. Why do people put so much time and effort into something with no monetary gain? For many of us a major part is the friends we make through daily working side-by-side towards common goals. One of my favorite communities is the Master’s of the Universe (MOTU). They are the volunteer army of package maintainers that look after the Universe and Multiverse Ubuntu software repositories. So, I’m starting a blog feature where I will have a short interview of people from the MOTU community.

Barry deFreese

Location: Schwenksville, Pennsylvania (Near Philadelphia) USA
Age: 37
How long have you used Linux?
Depends on your definition I suppose but probably close to 8 years now.

What was your first distro?
Installed Redhat but quickly moved to Debian.

How long have you used Ubuntu?
I think I jumped in close to the release of Breezy

When did you become a MOTU?
Honestly I don’t recall exactly. Sometime around August 2005 I suppose.

Favorite package?
nano ;-)

Least favorite package?
Emacs ( double ;-) )

Favorite part of being a MOTU?
The community, by far. With a few exceptions, everyone works hard but remain positive, supportive, and retains a sense of humor.

Any advice for people wanting to become MOTUs or contribute to Universe?
Just dive in. It sounds crazy and I struggled with it at first because I am far from a GNU/Linux Guru but it works. Start small if you are not an uber hacker. Fix some desktop files, unmet dependencies, typos, anything to get some experience using the tools and understanding Debian packaging. I would only say (and I struggle with it, believe me): Don’t get frustrated if you don’t get an answer on a mailing list or on IRC. Sometimes people are just busy or tired, it is rarely personal. That being said, don’t be pushy. Being too pushy has the potential to make you an irritant and can possibly be ignored, especially if you are an unproven commodity. Most of all: Have Fun! Enjoy yourself. Its a LOT of work and can be difficult but you will have a great community backing you up.

Plans for Feisty+1?
Same as always, keep hitting little bugs that I can handle, try to give some love to the packages that don’t see a lot of attention and generally try to help out anywhere I can. Unfortunately due to mortgage, wife, 3 kids, and a general lack of skills, I am not pushing the innovation envelope.

Thank you Barry for being my first victim. You are a valuable asset to our community and on behalf of the Ubuntu community I’d just like to say, thanks!

MOTU Meeting Tomorrow

Today, the 6th, at 20:00 UTC there will be a MOTU meeting in #ubuntu-meeting on irc.freenode.net . The MOTU meetings are not only for MOTUs (Masters of the Universe – the Universe/Multiverse maintainers) but also for MOTU Hopefuls and people interested in Universe package maintenance.

The agenda and announcement are on the MOTU/Meetings wiki page. The agenda is subject to change so keep checking back.

See you there!