Christian Imhorst

Christian makes FOSS and takes our Twitter mic from June 24 to Juli 01. Thank you, Christian!

Tell us about yourself

My name is Christian Imhorst and I am also known as Datenteiler on Twitter, Fosstodon, openSUSE and some other places. By day I am a local Windows admin and after work I manage my Linux projects at LUG Hannover and get involved in the openSUSE community. I am a supporter of the FSFE and a Fairphone Angel for Hannover. So you can contact me if your Fairphone is broken in Hannover. I am also a member of the PowerShell User Group Hannover because I need PowerShell a lot for my daily work and it is fun to exchange with people. I have also released a few PowerShell modules as Open Source tools. And I wrote a book about Free Software and Anarchism long time ago.

What are you working on right now?

Right now I am proof reading some articles at the German openSUSE Wiki for our Leap 15.2 release. I am writing Linux tips for the Linux User Group Hannover on Twitter and Mastodon in German. Sometimes I translate some of them into English and publish them on my account on Fosstodon.

Last week I wrote an article about LibreOffice makros in Python for heise.de, a German online IT magazine.

What is most interesting about that?

I like to learn new things especially on Linux and other FOSS Projects. I like to meet new people with the same interests to learn from them.

How did you first discover FOSS?

During my studies of political science and philosophy at the University I discovered Linux and LaTeX to write my papers and thesis and I was enthusiastic, especially about the community spirit behind it, the collaborative work and the idea of commons.

What prompted you to start contributing to FOSS?

I think it is great to be able to use all the fantastic FOSS tools and learn from them. I wanted to give something back and at the beginning I answered questions in forums and joined the “freiesMagazin”. This was a free online newspaper on Linux topics, which unfortunately no longer exists today. And from there it went on: Today I am involved in the openSUSE community and in the Linux User Group Hannover.

Why should others get involved with FOSS?

For the same reasons I do. Because they think it’s great to learn something new and to learn from and with others together. This works best when you join a FOSS community. You don’t necessarily have to be able to program for this. Many communities are happy to have support for the wiki, software testing, advertising and in the social media, help with design and much more.

How should they get started?

Choose a project you like and get in touch with the people. Many FOSS projects are understaffed and welcome support. Or at least you can spend them some money.

What difficulties and limitations do you see with FOSS?

We need more diversity. Because having different people in our teams means we benefit from different points of view and approaches that come from different life experiences and perspectives and this can spark creativity and innovation.

The other FOSS problem I see: FOSS is increasingly used by companies to lock people into proprietary services. Today you can easily click together an Open Source stack in the Microsoft Cloud. You use Open Source and get a vendor lock-in for it.

How can they be solved?

We should be aware that Open Source is not the purpose, but the people who use FOSS are. They are the purpose. Free Software is about empowering users and developers.

Where do you see difficulties in contributing?

A poisoned atmosphere in a community. We should make every effort to ensure that FOSS communities are open and welcoming.

What does a perfect day off look like?

When I can spend time with my family. I am married and I have two kids.

Do you want to tell us something else we didn’t ask?

I feel everything is said so - now to something completely different. :-)