Interview: Ruth Suehle

If you attend any Linux/FOSS event during the course of the year on, oh, the planet Earth, you'll probably run into Ruth Suehle. Ruth works in Red Hat's Open Source and Standards group, which aims to help upstream open source software communities. She also leads the Fedora Project's marketing team and is co-author of the upcoming Raspberry Pi Hacks book from O'Reilly. Ruth will give the presentation "Pi on Your Face: Getting Hands-on with Raspberry Pi" on Sunday, Feb. 24, at 4:30 p.m. in room Century CD. The SCALE Team caught her at the airport for this brief interview.

Q: Could you please introduce yourself and tell us a little about your background?

A: I've been working at Red Hat for a little more than five years, and I was a Red Hat and Fedora (and other Linuxes, shh, don't tell!) user for probably six or so years before that. My first Red Hat work was on Red Hat Magazine, followed by For the last year, I've been on the newly formed Open Source and Standards team, which was created to help the upstream projects Red Hat is involved in be successful.  
Q: Without tipping your hand on the actual talk you're giving (unless you want to), can you give us an idea of what we might expect?

A: Near the end of last year, Tom "spot" Callaway and I started working on a book for O'Reilly's Hacks series called Raspberry Pi Hacks. It's nowhere near finished yet, so that means you don't have to worry about spending an hour listening to me read a book to you (or trying to sell you one--we've all been to that talk). What I will do is tell you about some of the cool things that you can do with one and talk about the projects spot and I (as well as other people) have been making with the Raspberry Pi. I'll start at the beginning with the Pi basics, so if you've just heard of it, or maybe even bought one and not started playing with it, you don't have to worry about feeling lost. We'll talk about what the Pi can--and importantly can't--do, as well as what sorts of projects it's well-suited for. Then we'll move on to some more advanced suggestions and specific project ideas. As always, I believe in the Law of Two Feet--if you already know where the GPIO pins are, feel free to drop in a bit late. And if halfway through, you have no idea what I'm talking about any more and would rather go eat some pie, LA has several lovely pie shops
Q: Is this your first visit to SCALE? If so, what are your expectations? If not, can you give us your impressions of the event?

A: I believe this is my third trip to SCALE. Fourth? Let me go check my t-shirt drawer... In the past I've given talks on the application of open source principles beyond software andexplaining open source through pop culture references. Alas, I don't think Iron Man will be appearing in my slides this year. (Or will he...?)
I hit a lot of conferences through the year, and SCALE is one of my favorites, for the content, the people who come, and after-sessions fun. I mean, last year there was a Zorb at the Saturday night gaming party, and I won a penguin-topped ushanka in a Dance Dance Revolution dance-off. How can you not love that? SCALE is also the one time each year I'm guaranteed In 'n Out Burger (I live in North Carolina without such delicacies) and a walk through the fringes of Inglewood to the giant concrete donut. I'm always happy to bring friends along on these gastronomical field trips, so if you also enjoy clogging your arteries, tweet at me, and we'll go!
Q: How badly are you going to get beaten in Saturday evening's Weakest Geek contest?

A: Badly. It's going to be ugly. That audience is brutal. I think Gareth's still traumatized about last year's Stargate incident, and he's the host, not even a player! Outside of Red Hat, I write for Wired's GeekMom blog, so you'd think I'd be good to go here, what with "geek" being right there in the name. But my dirty secret is that my job and writing this book and being a mom have all been keeping me too busy to be much of the other kind of geek lately. Buffy is still on the air, right? I think I might be behind. My fallback plan is to answer all questions with "dilithium crystals," "flux capacitor," or "DISNEY GONNA RUIN MAH STAR WARS!" and hope for the best. Can J. J. Abrams be my phone-a-friend? I hear that guy has a lock on everything these days.
[SCALE Team interview by Larry Cafiero]