Spotlight: Akshay Dayal
The following brief interview was conducted via e-mail early September. It was very minimally edited.
Tell us about yourself, what you do for OpenOffice.org and how you got interested in the project....
I'm a high school student in Massachusetts (USA). I'm not your typical volunteer in an open source project (if there is such a thing); I have little programming knowledge, don't use Linux (although I wish I could), and am most concerned with how new users view the project. I do have website development skills - so I've put those to use in the website project.
I've worked on general maintenance and the screenshots page for the website, and most recently I've been monitoring the website-feedback list. Because I like working with new users, I try to route questions (and typos) to the appropriate lists and help people enter the OpenOffice.org world.
I honestly don't remember how I got interested in the project - I think perusing Download.com and stumbled across an interesting program. It took me a while to figure out how the project worked - so now I try to make that learning process easier for other newbies.
Why OpenOffice.org the product? Because it's easy to use; because the file sizes are smaller; because the suite is more stable (IMHO) than MSOffice. More importantly, why OpenOffice.org the project? It's fun to be involved, and it's a worthwhile effort.
How can others get involved?
Pick something you really like to do, I think, and then find out how you can apply it to OpenOffice. I like to teach (and tutor), and I also like to do website design, so I found my niche in looking out for the new user in the website development process. Drawing, computer programming, writing, translating - all of these hobbies can translate right into volunteer roles in OpenOffice.org. I sincerely think that *everyone*, no matter what their level of expertise with computers, can somehow find a way to make a difference in the project.