Linux Format 150: the countdown continues
It’s Graham Morrison’s turn to divulge his choice picks from his time at Linux Format:
There have been many memorable moments. And the vast majority have been positive. But inevitably, as I'm sure any Linux writer will concur, it’s the tough projects that stick in your mind.
The combination of a looming deadline with the occasionally pernicious nature of Linux can whip up a perfect storm. Your sense of dread heightens as things go wrong and you make increasingly desperate changes to get something working, breaking everything in the process and leaving you with no backup. This has happened to me many times over the years. But it’s the Open-Xchange tutorial from issue 84 that still fills me with terror. It seemed like every step I took forward the installation slid me two steps back. After a week of late nights and desperate LDAP re-configuration, I did get it to work, but only just, with the last words finished as the magazine went to the printers. But the ‘Autopackage’ and ‘Build your own Debs’ tutorials from issues 77 and 91 are a close second and third in the nightmare stakes.
Interviews, too, can be difficult. My interview with Damian Conway from 2006 is a good example because I knew so very little about Perl. I had to make sure questions represented something of the Perl community without revealing my ignorance, and that’s a tough challenge when you’re faced with someone who holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science. Fortunately, Damian is a very generous interviewee, and I was able to talk conversationally about many aspects of Perl without requiring any specific knowledge. That might not happen if you were already a Perl devotee. The interview went so well that Damien emailed me later to say how much he’d enjoyed it. Damian and I were able to reprise the interview in Portland this year, exactly 5 years later, at exactly the same location - and Perl 6 still hasn’t been released!
Positivity certainly didn’t happen when I interviewed the difficult Michael Robertson in 2005. It’s never a good idea to get into an argument only 200 words into what you know needs to be a four page feature.
But meeting people is still one of the best parts of the job, and one of the most memorable evenings I’ve had with the magazine was at the Readers’ Roundtable from issue 113 - something I’d love to do again!