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Interview with Hamish Whittal


1. Why did you want to participate in the creation of this course?

This course opens up a lot of opportunities for people who might not have access to expensive training and expensive training institutes to gain knowledge that they otherwise would not have. I have lots to offer and I can see that there would be people that would be able to benefit from my accumulated 12 years of experience in Unix and Linux.

2. What is your impression of the work done by The Shuttleworth Foundation?

I think they are revolutionary, in many senses, because they are pushing buttons that otherwise would not have been pushed. With the schools projects and putting Linux Terminal servers into schools, which seems to have the Education department jumping up and down. They are a committed group of people living the dream (Open Source) and that is what we need in order to make it happen. As an organisation they are fantastic.

3. How do you see this course benefiting the Linux community?

This answer has to refer back to point one, essentially it means that people who do not have access to the funds to come and do expensive training, or want to do the training themselves without incurring a vast amount of debt can now get it done. That is how I see these courses benefiting the community at large, not only people who already have IT knowledge but also for people who want to get into the IT sector. If the training is freely available it makes the barrier to entry so much lower.

4. Do you believe Open Source Software has a place in the business environment?

Well I guess that if I did not believe it I would not be living the dream either. It is part of the future of IT. I think if you are a business and you are not seriously considering Open Source Software as an alternative, you are making bad IT choices. Having said that though there is a lot of work that needs to be done from a sales perspective, if you can call it that, to the right players in the business community. Ultimately I think it will, it will have a significant impact on business. We have seen that overseas more than we have seen it in South Africa, but it will come.

5. What did you learn whilst participating in this course?

I have learned that I "enjoy the sound of my own voice" (a good trait for a lecturer I am told!?). I have also learned that things I take for granted are difficult to get across to students. Standing up and lecturing is one thing, getting that same lecture or information across in written format, so that people reading it will understand it, is a completely different kettle of fish. I have also learned that there is a lot of value that people like the people in this team can add to people's lives. Having just trained the first fundamentals course of this range, I see how excited people get about Linux and Open Source