I’ve been making, breaking, repairing and using computers since 1983 when I got my first computer, a BBC Micro Model B with 32Kb RAM, upgraded to a BBC Master 128 and then a BBC Master 512 running DR-DOS and the GEM graphical windowing system. I still have that computer on my desk! As well as BBC Micros I have a large collection of other Acorn computers, software and manuals and have a number of Acorn Econet network fileservers (at home), connected to BBCs and Acorn Archimedes computers.
I’m been an IT professional all my working life, having supported all types of computer systems from IBM System 370 mainframes to DEC Vax systems, and of course PCs running anything from DOS 3.31 to the latest incarnation of Windows.
I first discovered Unix at work on DEC Ultrix and HP Unix systems in the late 80’s and although difficult to use, I kinda took a shining to the power and control of the Unix command line. During this time at home I ran the infamous SCO System 5 R5 version of Unix on an old computer. It was not my main computer!
In 1992, whilst I was running my own computer company (as well as keeping down the day job), I tried Slackware 0.93 which came on a sack of 3.5″ floppy disks. X386 was dire and I couldn’t find a use for Linux as Windows 3.1 was fine so I stayed with Windows.
In early 2000 I installed Mandrake and liked it, but again had no use for it. Then in 2005 with the death of Windows XP, I decided that Vista was not for me and it was possibly a time for a change and looked once again to my old friend Linux. First Mandriva 2005 which was good and then to the new kid Ubuntu 5.04 which was great! Since then I’ve not looked back migrating most of my computers over fully to Linux in 2008.
Because of my broad IT experience, I consider myself OS agnostic and that includes Linux distributions. I run CrunchBang, Puppy Linux, Kubuntu and Ubuntu on my main PCs as well as two instances of Windows XP (dual boot). Under Virtualbox I run Ubuntu Server and CentOS as well as Windows XP for the few utilities which are not Linux friendly. Whilst I’ve never used an Apple Mac, I respect the work done by Apple to make Unix a very acceptable desktop operating system. When I get a chance, I’ll probably give OpenBSD a spin!
I ‘m a great Linux Podcast listener, my favourites are the Linux Outlaws Podcast, Ubuntu UK Podcast and TUX Radar. My all time favorites are Linux Reality Podcast http://www.linuxreality.com/ which has never been surpassed and helped me to master Linux and Going Linux http://goinglinux.com/ which is just great.
My computer reading until last summer was Personal Computer World, which I’ve been reading since 1983 and have every edition. The magazine folded in July 2009. Since Decmeber 2008 I’ve been a subscriber to Linux Format http://www.linuxformat.co.uk/ which is an excellent magazine regardless of whether you are old or new to Linux.
I’m currently the IT Manager of a large independent school and trust in London, where I’m responsible for delivering IT services. We run a number of Windows networks with a sprinkling of Linux boxes for good measure!