I need a blog to replace my posterous (given their seemingly imminent demise), and in particular I’d like to write about Unix for a class I’m taking, in which blogging is an optional assignment. All posts on this new blog with the tag ‘ece2524’ will pertain to my experience with this class. The laptop I’ll be using is currently on its way to IBM for repairs, so in this post I’ll just outline my experience with Unix-like operating systems.
I first installed Linux in freshman year of high school (2006) at the urging of Clark Gaylord, father of my co-boyscout and friend Carter, when I took over the troop’s newly-created webmastership. I used SUSE9, because he happened to have a book and liveDVD to lend me. None of the laptop’s networking hardware, USB mass storage, windows partitions, or optical drives were recognized. Needless to say, I gave up pretty quickly and Clark showed me how to use PuTTY and WinSCP to connect to the server instead.
During this time I was an avid reader of the site LifeHacker, which was enamored of the up-and-coming Ubuntu Linux distribution. This distribution’s goal was to make desktop linux as easy as other operating systems. On booting the liveCD, everything seemed to work! I was soon spending most of my time playing in the linux side of my dual-boot setup.
By the summer I was very comfortable using Linux as a desktop operating system, and I got a job as a help desk technician and IT drudge at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, where Clark was the CTO. This job involved a lot of waiting for progress bars—time that I used (encouraged, of course, by my boss’s boss) to learn about linux culture and programming, and gain comfort with the command line. By the next summer I knew enough to be hired back at VTTI, this time as a junior system administrator.
Since those two summers I’ve used Unixen for nearly everything. I’ve used Ubuntu, CentOS, Fedora, Debian, and Arch Linuces; Free, Open, and NetBSDs; and, of course, OS X. I’m no longer comfortable on a system without a bash or zsh prompt.
In summary: Linux has been a major part of my adolescence, and will probably continue to be a major part of my adulthood.