Bryan Poerwoatmodjo

Bryan makes FOSS and takes our Twitter mic from September 09 to 16. Thank you, Bryan!

Please tell us about yourself

I’m Bryan Poerwoatmodjo the projectleader and one of the founding members of EndeavourOS, an Arch based distro that originated from the now defunct Antergos.

What are you working on right now?

At the moment we’re very busy with the upcoming launch of EndeavourOS ARM.

What is the most interesting about that?

I have to say that every launch, even an ISO update, is exciting, but this one brings extra excitement and energy with it. When we started, it was just four guys in the core development team and with the addition of the ARM project, three members joined us in our adventure. They bring a new and different way of working in the mix, which was a big step for us but it worked out to be great. The community is looking forward to this launch, which adds to the excitement and, to be frank, it is a little bit nerve wrecking too… but they’re “good nerves”, so to say.

How did you first discover FOSS?

Some years ago when I was an exclusive Mac user, I downloaded Handbrake and on the forum I frequently visited back in that time, another member recommended it with a big plus that it was open source software. At that time I had no clue what that meant so I looked it up, merely to reassure myself, because at that time I thought open source meant it opened up my computer. I was surprised to learn that it meant the opposite and very soon I became intrigued and explored it further by using OpenOffice replacing MS Office and gradually installed other open source software, much later I discovered the distro world, which was a turning point for me.

What prompted you to start contributing to FOSS?

Being so confident with the software I used, it felt natural in backing the projects financially in the first place. When I started exploring the different distros, I reported bugs and later helped out other members. Since I’m not a coder, I thought that helping out other members and backing projects with financial contributions was the limit for me, until May last year when Antergos closed shop.

I kind of blurted out the idea of moving the community to another communication platform, thinking someone else was going to jump in and execute the plan. Little did I know that people jumped in expecting me to get the ball rolling. To be honest, when that happened, I kicked myself for a brief second for “the mess” I got myself into. I didn’t have the guts to dissapoint so many people, so I went forward with the plan, having no idea what I was doing and luckily an invisible FOSS force sent three guys across my path who knew how to actually open a terminal and I haven’t regretted that step ever since …

Why should others get involved with FOSS?

I have said it before, but the days that computers and the internet was the new big exciting thing to have are long gone. We went from tech being a trendy and exciting addition to our life to tech being interwoven in our daily lives in a very fast pace. In those early days we’ve trusted the ones who provided us those services blindly, which has proven to be the wrong thing to do. Since tech and the internet has almost litterally turned into an extension on our thumbs and voice, we are more vulnerable to the dangers of those daily conveniences. Getting involved with FOSS helps you be more aware and alert of those dangers. You don’t have to be a coder in the first place to get involved, just using it, asking questions and giving feedback is already a great step in contributing to FOSS and it will give you a better understanding of your digital daily life as a big bonus.

How should they get started?

Just engage in the project(s) you are using by sending feedback to the devs and help other members out. It may seem as an insignificant step but doing that actually helps the FOSS projects and their communities to go forward.

What difficulties and limitations do you see with FOSS?

The major difficulty is the cooperation with certain closed source software that are ruling the digital world for the vast majority.

I completely understand that a company has a business earning model and you don’t have to give all your trade secrets away, but the last decade individual privacy breach was and still is a hot topic and let’s be honest, the tech giants have made a mess with that.

I’m convinced that if everyone in the tech world uses a certain standard in particular in the privacy area and compatibility, it would make things so much more clear for the average tech user whose knowledge don’t go further than powering on or resetting a device.

In that scenario, the FOSS option would offer a bare, but very usable software package versus the same package with extra layers of convenience with all the bells and whistles a company can offer on the commercial side. Making that choice will not lose tech companies customers, it will actually gain their trust towards everyone.

This would make the choice between FOSS and closed source more fair and not as it is now, that the majority of tech users think the FOSS option is an inferior choice and only for computer nerds.

How can they be solved?

Big tech companies are making small steps towards the FOSS community and that is an achievement that deserves applause, but a bridge has to be build from two sides and we, the FOSS community, must acknowledge those steps by letting our guard down gradually. I know that trust has to be gained but they are building a foundation on the other side, so we must start doing that also, otherwise this bridge will collapse and this significant step will die in vain.

Where do you see difficulties in contributing?

The biggest difficulty is that most users think they can’t contribute because they have no coding skills, FOSS is more than coding, it also needs translating, being a spokesperson of the projects you’re involved with and you can do that very locally or contribute with your creativity or perhaps bussiness knowledge. Whatever you do, always involve the developers of that particular project by talking with them before you act, most developers will welcome you with open arms and who knows, you’ll become an official team member of that particular project.

What does a perfect day off look like?

No matter which season, a perfect day for me means walking, cycling or just enjoying nature go its way, nothing beats a beautiful sunny day, walking on fresh snow or even walk on the beach or park against a stormy wind, and after that sharing a great meal accompanied with good wine with people you really care about.