Originally Published: Monday, 26 March 2001 Author: Sean "The RIMBoy" Jewett
Published to: interact_articles_live/Live! Page: 1/1 - [Printable]

Linux.com Live! Event Summary: Robin "Roblimo" Miller

Robin Miller, the Editor-in-Chief of OSDN flies into town for a lightning visit with the Nashville Linux users group. Linux.com Live! was at the scene and sent this full report.

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Like the sound of a Harley motorcycle, Robin "Roblimo" Miller roared into the Nashville (TN) Linux User Group meeting on Wednesday February 28, 2001. NLUG gave Robin an open forum to discuss any topic of his choosing. Linux.com's Katharine "Wintersun" McCoy drove up from Huntsville to moderate the #linux.com-live! irc channel while Sean "The RIMBoy" Jewett attempted to transcribe the staccato rhythm Roblimo kept. It was an experiment for the Live! Section in that the speaker was not in the channel, but was speaking to an audience and being transcribed. A semi-live webcam was setup so those at home could check in and see what Roblimo looked like.

Roblimo needed little introduction and filled in all the blanks during the course of the evening. Before his start as a poster on Slashdot, Roblimo worked varied jobs from being a taxi and limo driver to working for Time Life. His current title is that of Editor in Chief for OSDN. He paid his dues writing freelance for a newspaper before realizing people would pay him to write on the Internet. Cranking out text at 50 wpm, he's known to call an assortment of friends (he has his spy networks) for quick quotes. He manages a worldwide staff of people - some of whom he has never met. He credits IRC as the binding force that allows him to get the story out. Likewise, he feels "There is a real shortage of journalists who can cover tech matters. You have to write what the market wants. Anyone who says they cannot get things published is a hobbiest."

Roblimo evangelizes Linux whenever he can. When Windows 98 went on sale a Baltimore TV station asked him how he liked Win98: "Well, it does not effect me, I use Linux". The same station also was told "I'm a professional, I can't use Windows." He was going to meet with the Peace Corp in the following week to sell them on Linux, especially in developing and poor countries. He was going to have to use Kpresenter since "People in the government like slides".

Roblimo considers himself a Linux enduser. He likes KDE, but says that no one says you have to or should use KDE. He's friends with Miguel of Gnome. Bluefish is his editor of choice and thinks StarOffice is junk because it cannot count words. At the same time he'll tell you he will never use EMACS and has told Stallman this to his face, yet they are friends. This from the guy whose two favorite commands are "point" and "click".

VA Linux Systems is the parent company of OSDN. (Disclosure: VA Linux is also the owner of Linux.com.) Roblimo says he keeps out of the hardware side of the business and expects VA Linux to keep out of the editorial side. When the purchase of Andover.net by VA Linux was first announced Roblimo commented he was not ultra-happy with the decision. He was not too sure about a vital news site (Slashdot) being owned by a hardware company. He was ready to resign. However, maddog, ESR and others convinced him that he is the barrier that is needed to keep the editorial integrity of the Andover.net sites intact. He's very protective of the content his sites publish. Roblimo does not want anyone interfering and sees to it that they think they can't. He considers himself incorruptible since he has no bills. He's debt free and drives a modest Jeep Cherokee, no power windows.

Of course, when you work for a non-traditional company, you tend to get non-traditional work environments. In the summer Roblimo can often be found on his boat in the Chesapeake Bay with a Ricochet modem and laptop. Dress code for Andover.net employee's is "pants optional". The drug and alcohol policy is pretty simple: "If you are too stoned or drunk to remember your login and password then you cannot do work for the company". Roblimo makes no bones about hanging out at biker bars and calls the Slashdot crew some of the worst dressed anywhere. "We all shop at Target."

It was an interesting experiment for the Live! Section and NLUG, one that Live! would like to repeat again at a future date. Linux.com staff have suggested doing streaming audio at a future date and NLUG is interested in providing another interface to the Music City's LUG.

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