1- Introduce yourself, people probably know you as a Forbes copywriter, but people are always much more than their jobs. Who is Jason Evangelho?
Jason Evangelho has always been a writer, whether that’s lyrics or short stories or lengthy GPU reviews. But the thing that’s been running through my veins since I was a child is music. It’s always what has defined me. It’s the soundtrack to my life, a constant companion that can energize me, elevate my emotions, calm me down or evoke memories from decades ago.
Anyway, I’ve been trying to finish an album and write a book for years. I’m inching closer and closer every day!
I also love Transformers, 90’s grunge, and spending my day on Croatian beaches, but now this is starting to sound like a dating ad and I’m very happily married :D
2 - When did you start working with technology?
My fascination with computers started when I was just a kid, probably 12 years old. My stepdad owned a computer tech business and our entire house was littered with beige IBM towers. I frequently got into trouble because I’d secretly boot them up and start tinkering with the DOS command prompt in order to find some games to play!
In 2003 or so I finally had the money to buy my own PC (when it came to gaming I was a console guy growing up and into adult years), and of course that came with a constant desire to achieve better graphics. Which led to obsessively reading GPU reviews at places like Tom’s Hardware.
But it all came together in 2004 with the introduction of podcasting. I was fortunate enough to be one of the first 30 podcasters in the world when I launched Insomnia Radio (a show focused on unknown and indie bands. As a sidenote, this is why my Twitter handle is “KillYourFM”).
I was teaching myself audio editing, creating RSS files from scratch, and it sparked a new fascination with computers and the technology inside of them. A year prior I wanted my games to look better, and now I wanted to do everything faster!
And here’s some lesser-known Jason trivia: In the late 2000s I started my own computer tech business focusing on fixing people’s problematic Windows PCs. Maybe the writing was on the wall back way then!
3 - How did you discover Linux? Did the decision to talk about Linux came from Forbes itself or was it your idea?
I discovered it twice. First in the mid-2000s with openSUSE and Red Hat. Both of those experiences were disasters. I quickly grew frustrated and felt like I was in way over my head. Sadly it tainted my impression of Linux for many years to come.
Then in July 2018 I finally reached the point when I’d seen too many unexpected Windows 10 reboots, too many nags, too many failed updates, and even some lost data. A few weeks before I reached that “last straw” my brother-in-law was visiting from Switzerland and we started talking about Debian because that’s what he’s been running on an ancient ThinkPad for years.
Topics like privacy and user control came up, and I just loved the way it looked. Watching him use it, the OS seemed ridiculously fast for the older hardware he had. So that was in the back of my mind when I finally decided to give Windows the chop.
It’s worth noting here that doing this wasn’t an easy decision. It was more of a professional risk than a personal one. I frequently reviewed graphics cards and custom PCs at Forbes. At the time that kind of content was my bread and butter.
But to answer your second question, I became so enamoured with Linux that I made the decision to cover it more and more at Forbes. The first several articles I published really resonated with an existing and brand new audience. The feedback I received was that I was covering Linux in a more approachable and conversational way.
I also noticed that instead of being chained to covering breaking news to earn a paycheck, I could wake up in the morning and say “what do I want to explore in the Linux world today?” and write about that. People showed up to read it -- in fact I’ve studied my traffic analytics, and MORE people were showing up to read the Linux stuff. That was really encouraging.
Not just that, but the community that rallied around my new direction was incredible. Supportive, helpful and just constantly engaging with me. I’ve never seen a community like this before.
And all these factors led me to start covering Linux full time. Forbes hasn’t had any issues with that!
4 - How was your first contact with the Linux Distros? What did you find simpler to do and what did you find more complicated to do on Linux?
The first one I tried last year was Linux Mint on my XPS 13. The installer failed to see my NMVe drive, so I moved right on to Ubuntu because I knew Dell had been doing a lot of work making that distro run perfectly “out of the box.” And indeed it did.
I had far less issues with Ubuntu 18.04 than I did with Windows 10, and I ended up installing it on multiple machines. Each installation was flawless, and it just detected all my hardware perfectly.
Ubuntu became my daily driver for months -- that is, until the Linux Distro Challenges started!
5 - Do you already have a favorite distribution? Which one? :)
Right now asking me to pick a favorite is like asking me to choose my favorite song. It’s impossible. And because I still haven’t tried all the “major” distributions for any length of time, it probably wouldn’t be a fair declaration.
Ubuntu has been my daily driver, but I’ve been very impressed with elementary OS and openSUSE. And I’m also wondering how amazing something like Manjaro Deepin might be… The distro-hopping addiction is real.
6- You are developing new projects involving Linux, including the "challenges", inviting people to try out an specific distro together. Tell a little more about these projects and how they are been received by the public.
The challenges began as a way to force myself out of the “Ubuntu comfort zone” I was in, and the secondary objective was to force myself to experience different Linux distros and generate some unique content based on that journey.
But I knew directly involving the community would only enhance that experience and let everyone discover things together. Solve problems together. Maybe even make some new friends.
Only 3 days into the first one -- elementary OS -- we had 200 participants in our Telegram channel, and Cassidy Jones and Daniel Fore even showed up to chat and help people. Then the Linux podcasting world started talking about it, and I saw that it really struck a chord.
So I knew this had to become some kind of series, something recurring that we could all do together. And my hope is that the cumulative feedback about using these distros will also improve the distros themselves -- because the developers are paying attention.
And you know, the secondary goal is that it might convince some people to make the switch from Windows or macOS.
7- What do you think is missing for current Linux distros to be most recognized among most home users?
I spent some time doing marketing for AMD Radeon, so from my perspective I’ll tell you the biggest issue: Desktop Linux has a marketing problem.
The principles of FOSS are praiseworthy, but the fact that Linux gives users endless choice is both a blessing and a curse for it. Two things need to happen for Linux to be widely adopted by home PC users:
Leave a message to your Brazilian readers. :)
Thank you for supporting Diolinux! It takes a lot of hard work to create compelling content, so take a few minutes out of your day to tell them you appreciate it. As a fellow writer I can tell you that’s our fuel :D
And thanks to those of you who are always encouraging my Linux journey on Twitter and Facebook. I hope you enjoyed this interview, and if you want to learn more don’t hesitate to reach out to me!