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Tony Mobily [interviews]

Interview with Steve Lake of Raiden's Realm [community] [raiden's-realm] [steve-lake]

I had a chance to talk to Steve Lake, at Raiden’s Realm. After a few words, I could tell that the project he was engaged in was very interesting, so I interviewed him...

TM: What is Raiden’s Realm?

RR: We’re a community of people interested in technology, both hardware and software. We help each other survive our computers and we have fun talking about gaming, anime, HDTV, etc. All the “tech geek” topics plus the occasional chile recipe. :) We have a diversified group of members ranging in age from the early teens to the 50 and over crowd.

TM: You seem to be strongly orientated towards the free software principles. Is that so?

RR: Being a community interested in technology, we stand for a number of important things. They are:

  • A belief that computer software and hardware should be open. To this end, we support the Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) community with an emphasis on Linux.
  • We support an open BIOS and are opposed to locked hardware that can only be accessed by proprietary/closed software.
  • We also support Fair Use of purchased media. As such, our goal is to help rid the world of Digital Rights Management (DRM) that treats the user as a criminal and prevents them from fairly using and enjoying purchased content such as music and movies.
  • We believe deeply in helping others learn new things. Especially: those who are considering Linux, those who have already made the leap and need to learn how to properly use Linux, and those who are well experienced, but still want to learn more.

TM: Do you all hang out together in the same physical space?

RR: While we really have no “physical” location such as an office which we would work out of, we do have an online home we do a lot of work at. As for where we all hail from, the servers and myself are in Michigan. Our moderators live in Cleveland and Denver. We have others who help out the Realm on a regular basis who live in different states around the US as well as in a number of countries such as Canada, Germany, England and several others around the world.

TM: What are you working on right now?

RR: We’ve been quite active lately. Especially in the area of Linux. We’ve been doing a lot to expand our available collection of guides, reviews and tutorials on various different versions of Linux and a wide range of FOSS software, as well as guides and tutorials on how to do a wide range of common, and not so common tasks in Linux. You could say we’re looking for common sense solutions to everyday computing issues.

As for what projects, aside from the couple I’ve mentioned already, we have several other members who are active in a variety of other Linux and FOSS projects to benefit both our community and those across the web. Here’s what one of our moderators and staff writers, Doug Bonnell (aka NorthBear) had to say about some of what he’s doing at the Realm.

NB: I joined the Realm a little over a year ago. I’ve posted over 2600 items to the Realm’s forums and have written a number of tutorial and reviews. I’m a member of 2 SourceForge projects: mtx and dvd-vault. I’m one of the “Techno-geezers”, a handful of “over 50” types that are really into hardware/software. I’ve been a software engineer for over 25 years.

He’s also interested in working with myself and several others on hardware compatibility in Linux and how to get your favorite hardware to work smoothly and properly under Linux and BSD with the least amount of effort. As for some of the others, Adam McDougall (aka Digikid) and Bill Butcher (aka Wrenchguy) are hardware minded and are helping us as well with hardware related projects such as reviews and overviews of various hardware that we feel would be of interest to our community members. Bill is also interested in motherboards or cases to tinker with, especially SFF machines.

TM: What’s ahead for the Realm?

RR: We’re leaning towards doing more Linux distro reviews. Ubuntu has been big for a while now and so we’ll be looking at other distros. Fedora Core 7 will be available soon and PCLinuxOS is generating some buzz as well. We also plan to look at a wide range of window managers and a variety of new and existing FOSS projects, how to use them, and how they will benefit each person.

We’ll also be keeping track of developments in the new Patents and Copyrights legislation that is before congress right now. There’s been a lot of abuse of patents lately. It’s so bad that “Patent Trolling” has almost become an artform. The Realm will get the word out about these abuses and how the laws might be changed to reduce them. We’ll also be covering the antics of the “AA’s”, the RIAA and the MPAA. People need to be informed of what their rights are with respect to Fair Use.

Along the way, we’ll be doing a variety of reviews on new “geek toys” as well and lot’s of discussion about gaming, HDTV, etc. All the fun things geeks, and non geeks, will like.

TM: Would you change anything about the Realm?

RR: At this point, no. Raiden’s Realm consists of 3 parts:, and I can’t imagine the Realm without any of those parts. Some have suggested doing away with the forums and concentrating on the main site, but I feel the forums are the heart and soul of the community. Do away with them and the Realm becomes just another site that spits info at you, you can’t spit back!

TM: Raiden’s Realm has a “Submit an article” link on their site. What’s that about?

RR: The link takes the visitor to a page with a series of guidelines for submitting articles to the Realm. Raiden’s Realm is a community environment and as such a degree of sharing of knowledge goes on within the Realm. While there are three primary and two secondary members (myself included) who act as the “anchor” for the bulk of our reviews and tutorials, we believe in looking to the community for some of our articles as well. Think of it as “open source tutoring” where everyone comes in and contributes a little here and a little there to help out the community. It allows our readers and members to not just benefit from the articles they read on our site, but also give back a little whenever they can. It’s also beneficial in the sense that someone who has a bit more knowledge in a particular area than our regular writers can come in and fill in that gap that we ourselves are unable to fill.


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