Forbes writer Jason Evangelho tells us how he started promoting Linux


While we try to bring you the main information about the open source world, making the Portuguese-speaking public aware of the news, facilities and peculiarities of the Linux and free software world, other people outside Brazil are doing this too, one of these “Linux defenders ”Is Jason Evangelho, writer of the famous Forbes, who kindly gave us an interview.

If you follow us on Twitter, it is quite possible that you have seen our interactions with the Jason Gospel, he ended up becoming a great promoter of open source operating systems and their tools, especially enhanced by the name, fame and recognition, of Forbes.

As time went on, Jason’s Linux-related articles ended up reaching big companies, which, with the help of his publicity, began to at least rethink their ways in relation to Linux, such as Adobe. We have a video on this issue on our YouTube channel, you can check it out here.

Jason Evangelho is also the creator of “Linux Challenge“, A very constructive“ joke ”where he asks his readers to test some distro with him, joining a very healthy group on Telegram, which was where I got even more direct contact with him than on Twitter. He shows himself to be a very friendly person, willing, and with “the face” of the new generation of Linux users, so, I asked him some questions, these will help him to know “the man behind the myth” and, according to himself, some of these questions have answers that he never gave anywhere else, so enjoy.

Note: The interview was done in English, however, I will post the translated version here, in case you want to read Jason’s answers in English in Full, just access this file.

Interview with Jason Evangelho

D: Introduce yourself. Probably people know you as a Forbes writer, but people are always so much more than your jobs. Who is Jason Evangelho?

J: Jason Evangelho has always been a writer, be it song lyrics or short stories, or even lengthy GPU reviews. But one thing that I notice that runs through my veins since I was a child is music. It was always something that defined me as a person. It is the soundtrack of my life, a constant company that gives me energy, that raises my emotions, that calms me and that brings back memories of decades ago.

Anyway, I have been trying to finish an album and write a book for a few years. I’ve been getting closer and closer each day!

I also love “Transformers”, the Grunge movement of the 90s and spending my days on Croatian beaches, but now this is starting to sound like one of those escort ads and I’m happily married! ?

J: My fascination with computers started when I was just a child, probably at the age of 12. My stepfather had a technology-related business company and our entire home was filled with IBM “towers”. I often got in trouble for secretly booting computers and starting to «tweak» the DOS command line to try to find a game to play!

In 2003, I finally had the money to buy my own PC (In terms of games, I was always a console guy when I grew up and in adulthood), and of course, it woke up in me the constant desire to get you better performance and graphic quality. Which made me obsessed with reading GPU reviews in places like Tom’s Hardware.

In 2004, all this can be combined with the introduction to podcasts. I was lucky enough to be one of the first 30 podcasters in the world when I launched “Insomnia Radio”, a program focused on unknown and unknown bands. As an additional note, this is why my Twitter account is called “KillYourFM”.

I was self-taught in audio editing, creating RSS files from scratch and this started a new fascination for computers and the technology contained in them. A year earlier I wanted my games to look better, now I wanted everything to run very fast!

And here’s a curiosity that few know about, in the late 2000s I started my own computer company, focusing on fixing other people’s problems with Windows computers.

Jason Gospel
Jason Gospel

D: How did you discover Linux? Did the decision to talk about Linux at Forbes come from the company itself or was it your idea?

J: I discovered Linux twice. The first was in the mid-2000s with openSUSE and Red Hat. The experience with both was disastrous. I ended up getting frustrated and with a feeling that it was a technology far beyond my understanding. Unfortunately my first impression with Linux was bad and I ended up moving away for years.

So in July 2018 I finally got to the point of getting tired of seeing so many forced reboots on Windows 10, many problems, many update failures and even the loss of some data. A few weeks before I got to the “last straw” with Windows, I was talking to my brother-in-law, who was visiting me from Switzerland, about Debian, because he had been running the distro on an old Thinkpad for some years.

Topics like privacy and user control came up, and I just loved the way it worked. Watching him use the system, Debian seemed ridiculously fast for a computer with old hardware like the one he had. So with that in mind, I decided to give Linux a new chance and put Windows aside.

It is worth mentioning that nothing that was done here was an easy decision. It was more of a professional risk than a personal risk. I often reviewed video cards and PCs customized for Forbes, that type of content was my “make bread”.

To answer your second question, I became so fascinated with Linux that I made the decision to do more coverage on the subject at Forbes. The first articles I published had a good impact with our traditional audience and with new people. The feedback I received while covering Linux was positive, people saying that I was showing you things that are easier to understand and accessible.

I also realized that instead of starting to cover «hot news» simply to get my salary, I could wake up in the morning and say «what do I want to explore in the Linux world today?» and write about it. People came and read the content, and in fact, I was analyzing the traffic of my articles on the site, and more people were showing up to read the Linux articles than my previous material. This is very encouraging.

As if that weren’t enough, the community really showed its support in this new direction that I took, supporting, helping and constantly engaging with me. I had never seen a community like this before and all of these factors made me start covering Linux on Forbes full time. Forbes had no problem with that.

D: How was your first contact with Linux distros on this tour? What did you find that you found simpler and more complicated to do on Linux?

J: The first time I tested Linux last year was with Linux Mint on my Dell XPS 13. The installer failed to see my NVMe drive, so I switched directly to Ubuntu because I knew Dell was doing a great job at make the distro run perfectly «out of the box», and in fact, that’s what happened.

I had a lot less problems with Ubuntu 18.04 LTS than I had with Windows 10 and ended up installing it on multiple machines. Each installation went smoothly and simply detected my machines’ hardware perfectly.

Ubuntu became my main system for months, or at least until I started the “Linux Distro Challenges”.

Jason Evangelho Office (Ubuntu on the main monitor)

D: Do you have a favorite distro? Which one?

J: Right now, asking me to choose a favorite distro is almost like making me choose my favorite song. It’s impossible. Because I am still testing the main distros for a while, probably any statement here would not be fair.

Ubuntu was my main system, but I’m also very impressed with elementary OS and openSUSE, but I still find myself wondering how interesting something like a Manjaro Deepin can be… The question of getting addicted to “distro-hopping” is real! (Distro-Hopping is jumping from distro to distro and testing).

D – You are developing new projects parallel to Forbes in relation to Linux, including “challenges”, inviting people to test a specific distro together. Tell us a little more about these projects and how they have been received by the public.

J: The «challenges» started as a way of forcing me out of the «Ubuntu comfort zone», and as a secondary goal, I was forcing myself to experience different Linux distros and generate some unique content based on that journey. I knew that being directly involved with the community would only increase my experience and allow all participants to discover new things together, solve problems together and maybe even make some new friends.

Just 3 days after starting the first challenge, which was with elementary OS, I had more than 200 participants in our group on Telegram, and both Cassidy Bleade and Daniel Foré, distro developers, showed up to help people; then the world of podcasts on Linux ended up talking about “challenges” and I saw that it really “worked”.

In this way I realized that this could become a kind of “series”, something that we could do all together and I hope that the feedback accumulated using these distros will also help the distros themselves to improve, especially because it seems that the developers are providing attention. In addition, a secondary objective was to convince people to switch from Windows or macOS to Linux.

D: What do you think is still missing from current Linux distributions to be better recognized among home users?

J: I spent some time in marketing for AMD Radeon, so from my point of view, I would say that the biggest challenge to be overcome is: Linux on the desktop has a marketing problem.

The principles of FOSS are commendable, but it is a fact that Linux gives people practically infinite choice possibilities, and that is good and bad. Two things need to happen for Linux to be widely adopted by home users:

1 – More companies need to start selling their computers with pre-installed Linux. Dell does a fantastic job with that, but they’re not very good at publicizing that kind of thing. The truth is, most home consumers will accept the system that comes with the computer in front of them… (And most people are NOT Adobe users or are part of the more “hardcore” segment of games).

2 – The Linux world needs to adopt “the Desktop distro” and stay with it. Put it into the mainstream, even if it’s not your favorite distro. There is only one Windows 10, there is only one macOS. To be more clear, I LOVE how there is a perfect distro for every need and for everyone, but fragmenting options for beginners is detrimental. In fact, there are many websites that advocate for a specific distro and that shows part of the problem.

D: Leave a message for your Brazilian readers.

J: Thanks for the support Diolinux! It takes a lot of time and hard work to organize the content, so take a few minutes of your day to enjoy it. As a writer too, I can say that this is our fuel. ?

I would like to thank everyone who is always encouraging my journey in the Linux world on Twitter and Facebook. I hope you enjoyed this interview and if you need anything else don’t hesitate to contact me.

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