The Linux pod people pocket $1500

Not often thought of as radio stars, Linux developers are now able to steal the limelight thanks to Dapto couple James and Karin Purser who produce the Linux Australia Update and the LUG Roundup podcasts from their lounge room.

Linux Australia has this week donated $1500 to the Purser's to help them upgrade their equipment.

The Pursers have been producing the fortnightly podcasts for more than six months, the first one being an interview with Robert Collins from Canonical and Ashley Maher from the South Coast Linux User Group. The interview was recorded on their home answering machine.

Initially the Pursers hosted the podcasts on a server from their home running off a 512/128 ADSL link until Linux Australia set up a mirror for them to use instead.

The donation from Linux Australia has enabled the couple to purchase a mixer, two microphones, a desk stand and a decent set of head phones. They also plan to replace Karin's PC which broke late last year and purchase VoIP time with the money.

In an ideal world, if they had a limitless pool of money, the pair said they would set up a studio in a soundproof room, have a dedicated control area with tie-ins for phone and VoIP, access to a nice big pipe to allow for live streaming and the facilities to have guests... and more.

Before the donation, James and Karin were producing the podcasts with their own money as a way to promote Linux and give back to the community. The project takes up to 30 hours of their time a fortnight, which leaves them with little to spare, as Karin is a full-time mother of three and James works full time as a network developer for Win Television.

"I started using Linux in 2000 and ever since then I have been looking for a way I could contribute back to the community that produced both a cool OS and the applications that make it worth using. The podcasts were a way I could give back," James said.

Karin had only been using Linux and Free and Open Source Software for six months, but in that time become so impressed with what it could achieve that she wanted to get the word out.

"Doing the LUG Roundups is a way of doing that, by letting people know what's going on in their local groups and facilitating the movement of knowledge and ideas between the group," she said.

James and Karin both say they have learnt a lot about the community and the process of producing a fortnightly program.

"The Free and Open Source Software community has shown that it's just like every other community. By and large, it is full of intelligent people who work on Free and Open Source Software because it either meets their philosophical needs, or it allows them to scratch that itch without having to throw down thousands of dollars to do so. However, these people tend to be very hard to talk to as they usually shun the limelight and would rather let their projects talk for themselves," James said.

"Producing something like the podcasts requires commitment. You need to be constantly on the look out for new ideas, stories and projects to try and keep things fresh."

The LUG Roundup focuses on the various user groups around the country. Karen puts together a list of what is happening for each group and examines one group a fortnight, talking to a representative of the group and finding out exactly how they operate.

The Linux Australia Update aims to help people connect with each other and find out what is going on at a national level. Karen and James have had 8000 downloads so far and that number is growing. Both podcasts are released on a fortnightly basis with the next episodes due on the January 21 at

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Dahna McConnachie

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