Meet Trevor Warren: Open-source advocate and community creator

This #MagPiMonday we meet Trevor Warren, an open-source advocate and community creator in Melbourne.

We love High Altitude Ballooning (HAB) – we’ve been covering it in The MagPi basically as long as the magazine has been around. When Trevor emailed us about some launches he’d been doing in Australia, we were keen to talk to him, finding out he’s set up several coding and making-related volunteer groups over the years.

Preparng for launch with a HAB filled just right
Preparng for launch with a HAB filled just right

“I have always been playing around with Linux and open-source growing up,” Trevor tells us. “Linux was my gateway to learning more about computing and how computers worked… hardware was expensive and not really affordable in those days, the only way to dabble with electronics was to build everything yourself from scratch or use expensive commercial platforms which cost an arm and a leg. In many ways, Arduino democratized [the]learning of electronics, put electronics into the hands
of makers. Raspberry Pi did to the SBC market what the Arduino did to the microcontroller market.

“I have been lucky to have had some really great experiences growing up. These experiences have given me the skills, confidence, ability to build and grow community organizations. I consider myself privileged to be able to set up and run these volunteering groups (Melbourne Raspberry Pi Makers Group, CoderDojo Altona North, EMDRC High Altitude Balloon Group) here in Melbourne, Australia.”

Successful payload retrieval

When did you first learn about Raspberry Pi?

I read about Raspberry Pi in a magazine, and ended up purchasing my first Raspberry Pi from a local electronics store. I was quite comfortable with Linux, so getting started with Raspberry Pi wasn’t such a big deal for me. However, I never really found much application for my Raspberry Pi 1 Model A. It would be a few more years before I realized the importance of Raspberry Pi, and its power as a learning platform for makers and tinkerers.

What drew you to organising community events?

It all started when I mentioned the Raspberry Pi to a few of my colleagues at work – some of them expressed interest and wanted to learn more about it, but didn’t know where to start. So, we rented out a room at the local library on a Saturday seven years ago, and got together as the Melbourne Raspberry Pi Users Group. We shared our experiences with Raspberry Pi, helped each other out with the issues we were having, while helping the newbies set up their own Raspberry Pis – connecting it to the network.

Trevor also helps run CoderDojos
Trevor also helps run CoderDojos

I didn’t know, at that time, that the Melbourne Raspberry Pi Makers Group was going to be such an important part of my life. I am honoured to be able to serve the community of makers here in Melbourne, Australia. It’s a privilege to work with makers here, give them an opportunity to showcase the work they are doing, and creating a platform that brings makers with diverse interests together in person and online. We have been meeting in person at the Docklands Makerspace here in Melbourne (thanks to the Melbourne City Council for their support), and stay in touch online through Discord.

What standout memories do you have of previous events?

Every event is a memorable event for me. Things are very different now, as compared to when I started off with a group of four makers at the rented room in the council library. We now have a group of over 1000+ makers within the Melbourne Raspberry Pi Makers Groups on Meetup, and over 300+ makers on Discord. 2020 was hard on everyone, hard on the makers and their families. But we used it to bring us together, to support each other, and stay in touch with each other through Discord. Discord has been such a lifesaver for all of us. We now use Discord extensively and stay in touch between the monthly meetups using Discord.

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The cover of the MagPi with the headline "Learn to Code with Python"

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