Technical and user support is one of the most essential and challenging parts of any qualitative product/service. Nowadays, more and more service providers are using chat-bots or outsourcing their support to third parties to lower their costs. This is not our approach! If you are like us, you have a close relationship with your Subscribers and want to support them in the best possible way. This is even more important, when you take into consideration the fact that the majority of individuals and teams interested in our services are migrating from those evil big tech corporations and without proper support it would be very difficult to migrate. That’s why our colleagues offering support have one of the most important roles inside our team. It’s a demanding possition, but at the same time an engagement that rewards you every time you help someone have a better experience while using open source software. One of our tech support agents is also Gerjan, who became part of our team earlier this year. Nowadays he spends the majority of his workday helping our Subscribers have the best possible experience with the instances we provide. We sat down with Gerjan and asked some questions so that you get a better idea of the human behind the keyboard :)
Could you tell us some things about you?
I was born and raised in northern Albania, where I finished a 4 year high school for Information communication and technology. Later i started a bachelors degree at the University of Tirana, Faculty of Natural Science. I was the kid who would take a screwdriver and disassemble the toys to try to understand how they work. Later, I got interested on electrical installations, a profession that I carried from my grandfathers profession. A bit later, my father bought the first computer - a machine with a Pentium 3 and 128mb of ram and with the best proprietary OS Windows XP in Greek language. First order of business was to ask my father the location of the games so I could play all day long. I learned the hard way that you shouldn’t download every /exe file is out there because if you do so… malware happens. As a foot note: don’t download ‘NFS Most Wanted’ if it is 184kb - i can almost guarantee that it is 100% a malware.
Why open source tech? How did you start getting involved? The communities you are more engaged these days? Share it all :)
During high school I was introduced to Ubuntu as part of the curriculum. That only thing I could do back then with the terminal was to install apps and in some cases update the system. The main incentive to use Linux at the time was the fact that it was free as in free beer. I was not exposed much to the philosophy behind the project at the time, but things changed when I got introduced to the local hackerspace scene by a fiend of mine. I was mostly an observer initially, but some times i would help new people with question they had. My first more ‘serious’ contribution was a presentation i did at OSCAL 2022 on how to setup Nextcloud in 5 minutes. The local hackerspace communities in my town are relatively small in comparison to other similar communities European countries, but quite vibrant and active. These days you will find me work together with hackerspace members to setup a Linux distro mirror and improve the infrastructure of the local hackerspace.
How do you get in contact with Cloud68.co team members?
I meet in different occasions with Boris and Redon at various open source events. If my memory serves me right, Boris was the one who introduced me to the scene. After that as a group we chated about what we do and our hobbies in general. The rest is history.
What is your role within the team?
Currently i am a system administrator and a customer support agent at Cloud68.co. My duties consist on deploying new instances, fixing issues or answering any questions our Subscribers might have.
Could you share some of the challenges you are have these days?
September and Q4 2022 will be quite busy, because we are working on improvement of the way we manage the infrastructure behind the instance deployment and management. I will also participate in documentation sprints, which are expected to be intensive, but will help me answer support tickets much faster. There are the main challenges at a macro level, but on a daily basis there are new support tickets that require in some cases intensive research to answer the questions that our Subscribers might have.
What do you like more about your collaboration with the core Cloud68.co team?
The non corporate mindset. From what I have seen on my friends that work for “big” corporations I have concluded that they are drained and will propably be out of creative energy at some point. I also like the fact that I’m helping small teams migrate from big tech platforms. It is challenging, but worth the effort. Another thing I like about our work environment is setting healthy boundaries between work and personal life. I remember I was on vacation this summer and got bored away from ‘machines’ after a while. At some point i opened Mattermost, made a comment about a support ticket and the receiver told me never to do it again. What can I do, I’m a nerd 🤷♂️.
How do you see the future for floss and your engagement in terms of contributions?
I see it as promising. The reason Nvidia open sourced a part of their driver was because the data centers were feed up running proprietary drivers and perhaps being vulnerable. I agree that Nvidia could have done better but i see this as a step that other corporations will follow, if there is demand and pressure from data-centers about this approach. Further more, gaming on Linux is easier than ever and in couple of years i believe that we will see people using the money for buying proprietary operating systems licenses being used on getting a game or donating to an open source project. I’d like to contribute and be part of the open source ecosystem by building an open wifi card that doesn’t use proprietary blobs. Until I am able to make my wish come true I will stick with localization and helping people I know move to Linux.
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