Supporter Interview with Elijah (and Oliver!) Voigt
by Daniel Takamori on January 15, 2024
SFC:Tell us a bit about yourself! Where are you from, what are some of your hobbies? Social media?
Eli: I moved from Chicago to Portland as a tween. I have since adopted many Pacific Northwest hobbies like hiking, camping, and enjoying microbrews.
SFC: Why do you care about software freedom? How long have you been involved?
Eli: In college (almost 10 years ago? Oh no.) I helped run the Oregon State University Linux Users Group (OSU LUG) where we ran InstallFests and gave talks on different Open Source tools. Prior to that I used open source software like Linux and Blender to produce 3D art.Software Freedom is important to me because world class software tools should be accessible to everybody. Growing up middle class I had the privilege of a computer and free time, but I couldn't afford expensive 3D software like Adobe. Thankfully I got into Blender because it was free but also because it was good! I definitely think of Software Freedom as a spectrum. For example: using Blender on Windows is a win compared with using Adobe products.
SFC: How do you use free software in your life?
Eli: I use Linux and free software whenever I can. I also run a physical server in my basement which hosts instances of open source services like Gitea for friends and family. Being a nights-and-weekends Sysadmin isn't for everybody but I love it!
SFC: On the spectrum on developer to end user, where do you lie? And how do you think we could do better bridging that divide?
Eli: I am definitely more of a Developer, and I struggle with bringing co-workers, friends, and family into the fold of Free Software. When a tool is Free, Convenient, and Good people are more than happy to use it. Beyond that though I have no idea!
SFC: What's got you most excited from the past year of our work?
Eli: I was a huge fan of FOSSY! I could only make the first day because we had a BABY during the conference. The one day I went I got to speak to Andrew Kelley (of Ziglang) and I learned about running AI models on my laptop which was enlightening and fun! I also volunteered and got to see so many community folks for the first time since COVID.
SFC: What issues happened this past year that you were happy we spoke about?
Eli: I think the work you're doing with Right to Repair is really meaningful. It's the kind of thing every consumer agrees with and wants but we still need to fight for!
SFC: Do you think we are doing a good job reaching a wider audience and do you see us at places you expect?
Eli: I am sure running a conference like FOSSY, especially in a post-COVID-lockdown world, is challenging but really helped me feel connected to the SF Conservancy and the community around your work. I can't wait to see it grow over the coming years.
SFC: Have you been involved with any of our member projects in the past?
Eli: I am a huge fan of Busybox! When I put on my system administrator hat (at work and for fun) I use it every day.
SFC: What other organizations are you supporting this year? charities, local, non-tech, etc
Eli: A few of my recurring donations I want to plug:
- My local public broadcasting channel:
- My go-to for Climate Change stories:
SFC: Did you have the first FOSSY Baby?
Eli: Yes! His name is Oliver and he just turned 6 months old (as of January 15)!
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