Linux is an alternative operating system for you computer that can be used instead of Microsoft Windows and Apple OSX. This article is not lecture quality, but it is off the cuff.

Hello everyone! I would like to tell you about linux how found me. But for reasons that are not worth getting into right now, I am not able to talk anymore so please be patient. I will let linux do it for me.

Like several people before me computers were really unknown to me till college. My degree plan required me to take computer logic and elementary fortran programming. Of course then, everything was on punch cards. I fell in love with it, but I did not want to spend the rest of my life punching cards. Time went on and my youngest brother brought home a Tandy T R S eighty model one. We played some games on it. I asked him if you could program it. He said yes and I asked him if it ran fortran, he said he did not know but threw the manual at me and said read it. It did have basic and it was very much like fortran. I was hooked and started writing all kinds of code. I was lucky enough to have one of my programs published in one of the early T R S eighty magazines. I was in hog heaven and computer bitten. As a sidenote, my brother went on to get a master’s degree in computer science and is a teacher at a local college.

At the same time, I started taking various classes at the local community college in computers. I was obsessed. Those classes were able to get me into computing. I would work more than one job at a time. Very quickly I was working two computer jobs in addtion to teaching at the local college. That was before I lost the physical ability to speak. Anyway I would work during the day as a maintenance programmer in d bus and R P G two. I also worked as a tape drive jockey at night for a local major bank. I did those for a while till I decided just to teach.

Eventually I got a job at a finance company, where we had to pull credit reports on a printing terminal with an acoustical modem to connect with the local credit bureau. No long after that I had a Commodore sixty four with an accostical modem. Found about ascii codes and tried to see if what I did at the finance company would work on the sixty four. The finance company should should have changed the password. Use you own imagination here. Anyway I started writing all kinds of software specializing in modem and bbs software, but my first job making money on the home computer was a cattle price projection. The with my knowledge of the commodore sixty four, I was able to work in a small computer store. I spent so much there like a kid in the candy store. At the same time I was transfered from teaching accounting to teaching computers. In hog heaven again.

As time went a long working at the store I was able to meet many people. One hardware technician we had would brag about unix. I said O K sure. Then customers would come in asking whether they could run unix on ther home computer. We started to sell mark williams C and Coherent. Finally one of my good buddies at the time was into linix. He used slackware. He tried to get me into it by giing me a scuzzy drive and some I S A ethernet cards with the jumpers. I played with it a bit, but I was so busy that I really did not have time to get into it. About that time Microsoft windows 95 came along and it was a lot easier. Linux went on hold, but I kept an eye on it.

I started helping people when they bought new computers. part of that was moving and converting files from the older machines to the newer ones. I had to use my knowledge of modem/seral port programming to convert files from one system to another. You had to move files over the serial port because there was no standard disk formats like there are now. Anyway people would start to give me their old machines. without software. Being the good person I was, I thought I needed to buy the operating system for every free machine I had. Being the cheapskate that I am, I wanted an alternative. Since I worked for a college I could get Microsoft software cheap, but that began to mount up. I had bought Redhat either 4 or 5.x from the local computer store and started using that a little. The was after I ledft the small computer store. I began making money writing programs for the Microsoft platform, so I started to put off linux again.

Then I started a job as a tech for a local college. After I had been working there for a few years, The computer science teaching staff wanted to get away from using an old Sco server and have linux on the local machines. No one on the team wanted to do it. Since I had heard of linux, I was elected a k a forced to volunteer to do the job. So I was given the redhat 7.x cd’s and told to get it on the machine. I did some research and found out that you could do something called dual boot. I built a windows image and left room for linux. I installed Tedhat on there and we had a working image. Then came the fun part. we had to image all the machines in the lab. Not all the systems had the same size drive. Ghost was not that smart.
a lot of machines would not boot. I thought I would die. I was still a novice at linux. fortunately my brother had a friend did unix for a living. and we were able to get lilo squared away and all the systems were ready for student use. Whew!

Anyway I started to play with linux in the labs in my spare time. t the same time people were still giving me their old computers. I could not believe how much application software came with linux. On the lab machines were lots of programs to detect network problems. I used the packet capturing quite a bit to catch problems and problem users. I was hooked. I the started using linux at home as well as work, Not long after leaving that same job where I had been for ten years, Microsoft was no longer on the machines at home. We have been Microsoft free since.

Now that I was free not to use Microsoft anymore, I began to build all kinds of servers. First there was the thin client lab with ltsp, then a web/media server, and eventually a drbl clonezilla server. Then I started doing open source firmware replacements to routers. Now I a starting to learn about clusters, interfacing electronics with older systems, and now porting my old software to linux. I love linux and open source. That is how linux found me.