Interview: Kenneth Hensley of PuppyLinux

Posted by Scott_Ruecker on Jan 14, 2007 12:25 PM EDT
LXer Feature; By Scott Ruecker (Phoenix, USA)
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LXer Feature: 14-Jan-2007

An Interview with Kenneth Hensley, the creator of the "Unofficial PuppyLinux Guide".

PuppyLinux is one of the most popular "flavors" of Linux, I have used it on several old P-II and P-III machines that I donated and it got them to work when the original OS (95 and 98) would not even so much as boot up. It was just after PuppyLinux's offer to be the OS for the One Laptop Per Child and the new "Unofficial PuppyLinux Guide" came out that I first contacted Kenneth of PuppyLinux. I wanted to know more about Puppy, the OLPC and what goes into making a guide for a Linux distro, Kenneth was kind enough to share his experinces with me.

How long have you been active with OSS?

I believe that I have been involved for about 3 years now.

How long have you been involved with PuppyLinux?

I have been involved with PuppyLinux for almost three years.

What projects have you been or are involved with?

The project that I mostly involve myself with is of course PuppyLinux. Though I do involve myself with other projects like metalink or metalinker & stickwiki. Though I am not a developer. I do help by testing and getting the word out about the projects above. I also send suggestions & bug reports too many of the applications that I use.

Do have any programming experience?

No. But the good thing about PuppyLinux is how it is scripted. The reason PuppyLinux is so easy is because of the scripts that automate certain jobs & processes. A fellow pup that goes by GuestToo writes many great scripts for PuppyLinux. And it was actually through his scripts that I became interested in the commandline & bash scripting. And also thanks to Nathan F. creator of GrafPup I learned html.

What is the PuppyLinux Foundation?

The PuppyLinux Foundation came about as an ideal to support the (PuppyLinux 1.xx Series) which is based on the 2.4 kernel. So a group of persons decided to try and do just that. It is still in the development phase but the webpage and many support links are already up.

Why did you decide to create "The Unofficial PuppyLinux Guide"?

In the beginning there was the forum, and I do not believe anybody anticipated how big PuppyLinux would grow in such a short time. Many suggested that a wiki would do a good job for this documentation. This was a positive, but sadly no one showed any leadership. After messing around with StickWiki I got to messing around, I was going to surprise Barry K. by transforming his help files into one single paged wiki. This did not go right for me, because I could not understand much of the docs available. This is not to bash Barry, he has enough responsibility as is. So I took a look at the ubuntu guide and seen what they did, my advantage is using StickWiki because of how much quickly it loads than that of the ubuntu folk. So I scoured the Puppy Linux websites looking for what a typical end-user would look for. I condensed it as much as possible but still made sure it was understandable.

Can you give us a rundown of how you put all the divergent information in the guide?

Very quickly.. At the time the forum was going through some changes and I was terrified that all information would be lost. I also pay attention to what most people are asking about when they first come to puppy, little by little a lot had been done. I focus on one area at a time and plan to to keep doing it as such.

Do you have any tips or tricks that you can share that helped you when you were working on the Guide?

Using IceWeasel browser's tab feature helped me flip back and forth from the ubuntuguide. :) Though the PuppyGuide is not as defined as the ubuntuguide it's roots stem that teams work. Not that I copied and pasted, but that I looked at how I felt they went right & went wrong.

How long did it take you to finish it?

The PuppyGuide will never be complete. Puppy like other distro's is constantly evolving.

What were some of the mistakes you made and how did you overcome them?

The regular mistakes one makes when typing or writing. And I think I might have rushed on some areas. Of course I will critique myself and go back and try to make what others and myself think need to be better.

What happened with One Laptop per Child? What went wrong?

What happened & went wrong? Corporate interest of course. Every corporation trying to sink their teeth/name into the project. Everyone including Apple, Microsoft and Intel. To state that people have shelter and food, and what they need is an education seems ridiculous to me. It is the educated world who seems to bring the weapons and strife that cause poor under-developed nations to become worse than what they already were. Now they want to educate these people ? Get real, most of these countries are up to their necks in debt thanks to the World Bank or IMF whatever they call themselves, and it comes as no surprise that they would want to finance these countries more money for computers. And these countries I speak of mostly consist of African nations, because the developed world has already realized it's all a scam.

Where do you see PuppyLinux going?

To the best of my understanding Barry K. has already turned down some offer's. I do not speak for Barry but it would be my best guess that if the right company with the best intentions came along Barry would endorse such a company as he has in the past.

What are some of your personal interests?

My personal interest.. I enjoy fishing and camping very much and I used to play a lot of frisbee golf. But since moving out of the city fishing and linux seem to be the only things available.

Thanks again to Ken for the interview and the great work on the PuppyLinux Guide. If you are interested in getting more info on how puppy works, visit their website and Forums. They have a very active and freindly community to help you. Cheers!


The Unofficial PuppyLinux Guide

PuppyLinux Website

Puppy Linux Discussion Forum

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