My Linux Experience

Linux Stuff

I seek freelanced programming, writing and web jobs through Guru and Monster. Several years ago, I was contracted through Guru by Samms to do the tech editing on two Linux Programming books.
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Linux Stuff      

Just after getting access to the Internet, through the old Prodigy network, I began hearing about a mainframe operating system called Unix. I had been born in the late 1960's, near the moon landing, and have a love of those huge, mysterious computers that were the size of modern houses. Therefore, I went looking for anything that I could learn about Unix. If at all possible, I wanted to have a Unix system.

The first references that I cam across related to an operating system called Minix which I never did find online. Then I stumbled across Linux. Linux is not actually Unix. Unix is a trademarked operating system that Linux duplicates in most respects. However, Linux was an operating system that I could actually download from the new Internet and run on my own hardware. My first Linux download came from a system in Finland. I think that it was called Linux was still in testing, with the kernel below version 1.0.

When I first started with Linux, I had to download all the files on almost 100 floppy disks to install Slackware. Now, the floppy disk drive is going out of style and is not included with some new computers. All computers currently sold through Computer Co-Op have floppy drives. If you have a CD burner, you can download the ISO images and legally make your own Linux installation cd's.

You can get ISO images from almost any major distribution's site and many distributions from Linux ISO, although I'd advise buying a CD if you become a power user. A distribution is more than just a version of Linux. Linux is just the heart of the operating system, called a kernel. Distributions of Linux are Linux plus the installation software and some selected applications to run under Linux. You can select to get and install anything from a bare workhorse server with just a few necessary tools or a complete system with numerous programs to play with.

I get mine from Linux Central which I read about on SlashDot. Basic CDs, with just enough to install and run Linux are $2.00 plus shipping. You can legally get a copy of Linux from a friend.

I am presently working with the slackware distribution of LINUX as my primary Operating System although I have to use Windows 98 and XP for the tech support work I'm doing through Computer Co-Op. I also do some consulting with Soep owing to my experience as a Linux System Administrator. I run the Apache web servers here at CornerNET Internet Gateway including the CGI programming which has to be done in Perl, PHP and even the C programming language. If I have to, I can write CGI programs in x86 Assembly language. Lastly, I have also done construction work, as with Simms Fork Baptist Church, Gap Creek Baptist Church and Hill Station Baptist Church. There is nothing like standing in the presence of the Lord, on top of a building's steel skeleton.

Linux comes in many releases called distributions. The distribution I run is called Slackwarealthough most of the code hackers I know run RedHat. RedHat is being supplanted by Mandrake if you're looking for an easy to install Linux distribution. A more basic installation, which actually customizes all the software that you install by compiling it on your system, then Gentoo is for you.

Somebody suggested that I try FreeBSD instead of Mandrake Linux. I've already run FreeBSD. It didn't work well on the production server of CornerNET, for unknown reasons, and we moved to Linux from there. FreeBSD didn't give me any trouble on my system, yet it did not seem to like the hardware of the old server. I'll get a new ISO for FreeBSD and maybe even OpenBSD as soon as I get the images I need for Linux.

My primary Internet connection has been through Cablespeed for so long that the modem is wearing out. Cablemodems are nice. I hear that comcast is buying out cablespeed. That could be good or bad.

Finally, my use of Linux does involve writing code. We used to use a program, called idled, that I modified to include daily time limits. The original version just logged off users who have been idle for too long. My version added the daily time limit. I have written an apache 1.3 and 2.0 module that monitors the radius login database used by ICRADIUS. Mod Radwho.