Now updated for the 2013 experiment!
A Bit About Me
I’m a sysadmin who enjoys tech, good times with friends and the occasional rum and coke… well, there’s nearly always an occasion.
My Past Computer Experience
I’ve been using computers in one form or another since early elementary school – and helping people troubleshoot their problems with high-tech wizardry ever since. In high school, I began building my own systems and performing software development for local businesses. At work and as part of my own business, I use Linux on a daily basis.
My Past Experience With Free Software
While I have significant experience with free software, I don’t believe in a complete hippie-like communist worldview. Crusaders for a complete F/OSS (Free/Open Source Software) ecosystem often do more harm than good. Commercial software has its place in the ecosystem and can serve different needs than free software.
I’ve now used nearly all the Linux distributions on DistroWatch (including Ubuntu, Fedora, Mandrake, and SuSE) and software packages (Apache HTTPD, Tomcat, Firefox, Thunderbird, VLC), and have enjoyed my experiences with most of them.
Why I Agreed To This
For the first experiment, my normal workflow in the office involved mostly free software, and I believed it wasn’t too much of a stretch to migrate to totally free software for nearly everything. It was an interesting challenge that showed my remaining dependencies on proprietary applications.
For the 2011 experiment, I wanted to get a better understanding of the intricacies of the OS and how Linux actually works. I use it regularly in both personal and professional contexts, but apart from understanding the differences between distributions, my intention was to understand things at a deeper level. I certainly got that experience with Linux from Scratch and have carried forth quite a bit of knowledge with respect to the Linux library system and atchitecture.
This experiment, I’ll be trying FreeBSD as my primary operating system. It’s not Linux, but I’ve recently acquired a Lanner FW-7540 running pfSense and would like to be better able to troubleshoot any problems from the command line. I also intend to run a yet-to-be-determined Linux distribution as a primary OS at work. Will it be possible to interact with email, SMB fileshares and perform typical Windows-y tasks without too much grief? Follow the 2013 Linux Experiment and find out!
What I Hope To Get Out Of It
To gain additional experience with Linux and figure out which open source applications make viable alternatives to commercial software.
My Experiment Computer Setup
For the 2013 experiment I will be using my current desktop:
- Dell XPS 8300 platform
- Intel Core i7-2600K
- 12GB DDR3-1333 RAM
- Intel 330 SSD, 180GB (OS) and WD Black 1TB 7200RPM (data)
- Zotac GeForce GTX 660, driving a Dell 3007WFP 30″ monitor
- Intel Pro Gigabit Ethernet, PCI-Express card
For the 2009 experiment, I used my previous desktop:
- Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600, running at 3.0GHz
- 4GB DDR2-800 SDRAM
- OCZ Vertex 64GB SSD, WD Raptor 72GB 10K RPM and Seagate 7200.10 300GB SATA hard drives
- Asus P5K-E motherboard
- eVGA nVidia 9800GT graphics card, 512MB RAM – driving 2×24″ BenQ FP241W monitors at 1900×1200 each
What Distribution Did I Select?
This experiment, I will be using FreeBSD at home and a yet-to-be-determined Linux distribution at the office.
In 2011, I used Linux From Scratch (LFS).
In 2009, I used Gentoo, using the AMD64 build on the amd64/10.0/desktop Portage profile.
What Distribution Am I Running Now?
For my standard desktop and Lenovo laptop, I run Windows 7 (mainly for gaming.) I run a Ubuntu 12.04 x64 1U server for SABnzbd+, SickBeard and remote shell access.