Ladies Of PCLinuxOS: Meemaw

Editor's Note: Starting this month, we're starting a new bi-monthly feature in The NEW PCLinuxOS Magazine, taking a look at some of the "Ladies of PCLinuxOS." To kick it off, we'll first "meet" and learn more about our own Meemaw, one of the PCLinuxOS Magazine assistant editors. If you know a female user of PCLinuxOS and would like to "nominate" them to be highlighted here, drop us a note at

Can you start off by introducing yourself, and telling us a little bit about yourself? (Real name, where you live, marital status, children/grandchildren, hobbies/interests, etc).

My real name is Pam, and I live in eastern Kansas. My wonderful husband and I just celebrated our 39th wedding anniversary. We have two beautiful daughters and three grandchildren (two girls and a boy), and as you can tell by the amount of time I seem to be in the forums, one of my main interests is computers and Linux, specifically PCLinuxOS.  I also love to spend time with my family and read. (Actually, family is first.)

How did you get started in computers?

My first career was teaching. In the 80's and 90's, schools were just starting to use computers, and I was entranced with how they could do the things they did. I knew a tiny bit about computers from taking a class in programing in college (Fortran), but I quickly found out that programming wasn't my 'thing.' Of course, that was also when computers were huge and the program was put into the computer with punchcards! Using computers in my job was different, and I found that I loved computers. I got my own first computer in 1996, and had a friend who already had a computer. My computer came with Win 3.1, but hers had DOS. I spent many evenings learning how to do things on my computer, and when she was over, she taught me a great deal about DOS and the command line. I found over the years that I could figure out how to use most programs, and even help other people with problems that they had. Since then, I have gotten out of teaching and work as a secretary. At this point, I am the one that some of the other secretaries call if they are having trouble with something or want to know how to do something. (I did an instruction sheet on Mail Merge for all of them several years ago.)

What drew you to Linux?

One of my computers had WinME on it. The second time it crashed, my wonderful older brother was visiting and tried to recover it, but it was not recoverable. (I ended up paying to have it reinstalled.) During our conversations, he asked if I had ever heard of Linux (no) and told me that it was an alternative system to Win or Mac. He was using Fedora at the time and had about 5 computers at his house. He suggested I do loads of research and try several live CD's to learn about it. Thus started my Linux journey. This was in 2003.

What was the first Linux distro that you used?

I downloaded a dozen or more live CD's while I was researching. My first two were Mandriva Move and Knoppix. Each one had its own merits, but I quickly narrowed it down to Kubuntu, Mandriva, Mepis or PCLinuxOS. Each time I would boot up the computer and try new things with whatever CD I was using. I quickly discovered that the printer I was using would not work in Linux, no matter which disk I used, so I decided not to install yet, but to wait a little bit and just keep exploring. Amazingly enough, the printer died within the next 6 months and I replaced it with one that works wonderfully in Linux (still). I installed Kubuntu first. My reasoning was that I was a noob, and since my wonderful brother had recently switched to Ubuntu, he could help me if I had any problems. For a while I dual-booted Kubuntu and PCLinuxOS, but that was not for me, either. Not too long after that, though, I repartitioned and installed PCLinuxOS only. That's what I've used ever since.

When did you first start using PCLinuxOS? What attracted you?

I installed it in about 2005. It seemed a little more user friendly to me. While I was dual-booting, I found myself using PCLinuxOS more than Kubuntu, and pretty soon not using Kubuntu at all. Also, the PCLinuxOS forums were just so much more friendly!

With Linux having a reputation of being a realm predominately populated by males, do you feel that your being a woman has an impact on your treatment by the rest of the community? If so, in what way?

I can't recall a time when I thought I was treated differently because I was a woman, so I feel very lucky! I think that is because our community is so great. I think the computer industry as a whole is predominantly male, but I could be wrong.

Do you feel that your use of Linux influences the reactions you receive from your computer peers or family? If so, how?

Oh, yes. Any time I mention to someone that I use Linux rather than Windows, they nearly always look at me like I'm crazy. (But sometimes I think it's because they've never heard of Linux.) The IT guys in the company I work for seemed very shocked that I knew anything at all about Linux! My husband and daughters just shook their heads when I first started mentioning it, but not any more. My younger daughter decided last year that she HAD to have a change of OS, and asked me to install it to her computer. So she uses PCLinuxOS now.

How do you feel you contribute to the PCLinuxOS community?

While I should donate money to this wonderful distro, I haven't been able to yet. My contribution is to help publish the magazine every month, and I always hope everyone gets something they can use out of every issue.