Jon F

March 20th, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

A Bit About Me:

The name is Jonathan, a tinfoil-hat-wearing computer science student with constant money troubles and an addiction to shiny new electronic toys. A coincidence, perhaps? Nay idle plebeian, for I often exhibit a measure of self control reminiscent of the late, great, Freddie Mercury – a shining example of human spirit and buck-toothed, mustachio’d vocal prowess if ever there was one.

My Past Computer Experience:

I was fascinated by computers from the day that my parents got their first commodore 64 (complete with monochrome monitor and jet-engine-loud dot-matrix printer), through a Packard-Bell 386, an HP Pavilion 768, my very own Frankenstein 896, and my current set up, an Intel 2.4GHZ Dual Core with 4GB of RAM, a RAID-1 array, and dual flatscreen monitors. I’ve been a programmer in training ever since that first machine, sifting through the file system and trying to figure out how it all worked before I knew what .exe meant, building a puzzle game that spanned 21 floppy discs in an early version of Power Point, and finally picking up a programming in visual basic for dummies book in grade 9 and never looking back. So far, my experience with computers has been very windows-centric, although high prices, low income, and an infatuation with the ideals of FLOSS (contrasted with a healthy skepticism for everything that comes out of Richard Stallman’s mouth) have lead me to consider becoming a serious Linux user.

My Past Experience With Free Software:

Looking around on my computer, it seems that the only applications that I have installed that aren’t free are Windows, Office, and Visual Studio. That being said, the majority of the applications that I rely on every day are far from being open-sourced, and while finding reliable replacements for the big three Microsoft applications is my main goal during this project, I also hope to improve my knowledge of the open-source world, and maybe even find a cool project to contribute to along the way.

Why I Agreed To This:

Boredom, mostly. Add in a dash of masochism, and beat down with a healthy dose of the low-income blues, and you’ve got a magical combination. Also, it might look good on a resume or something; and with the foolishness that is twitter and the help of the blogosphere, I might become an Internet Celebrity. You know, like the star wars kid, or to a lesser extent, Lady Gaga. Seriously though, I’ve always been interested in algorithms and how software works, and while I have no intention of digging into the Linux kernel to figure out how task scheduling goes down, the fact that I could do as much certainly intrigues me. Further, in my capacity as a member of a small software development company, I’ve used numerous open-source applications with an aim to set up an effective workspace on a shoestring budget, including Ubuntu Linux, Tortoise SVN, Thunderbird, Firefox, and PuTTy. I hope that this experiment will teach me more about this world that I’ve barely scratched the surface of.

What I Hope To Get Out Of It:

A date with your mom would be nice, but I’ll settle for becoming the most 1337 linux administrator in the neighborhood.

My Setup:

I began the experiment running GNOME v2.22.2 on top of Debian Lenny GNU/Linux. I later changed my system to run XFCE v4.6.1 on top of the Debian Testing repositories (Squeeze), and then reinstalled with GNOME v2.28.0 on top of the Debian Testing repositories. I am currently running GNOME v2.28.2 on top of Fedora 12 (Constantine), and consider it to be the best distribution I have used so far.

The following is a listing of the hardware that I am using for the experiment:

  • Motherboard: IBM ThinkPad R52 (Product#: 1859B7U) with Mobile Intel Alviso-G i915GM Chipset
  • Processor: Mobile Intel Pentium M 740, 1733 MHz (13 x 133)
  • RAM: 758 MB  (DDR2 SDRAM)
  • Video: Mobile Intel(R) 915GM/GMS,910GML Express Chipset Family  (128 MB), Intel GMA 900
  • Audio: Analog Devices AD1981B(L) @ Intel 82801FBM ICH6-M – AC’97 Audio Controller [B-1]
  • Storage Controller: Intel(R) 82801FBM Ultra ATA Storage Controllers – 2653 with AE9GMGLK IDE Controller
  • Disk Drive: FUJITSU MHV2040AH  (40 GB, 5400 RPM, Ultra-ATA/100)
  • Optical Drive: MATSHITA DVD/CDRW UJDA770  (DVD:8x, CD:24x/24x/24x DVD-ROM/CD-RW)
  • Ethernet: Broadcom NetXtreme Gigabit Ethernet
  • Wireless: Intel(R) PRO/Wireless 2200BG Network Connection
  • USB Controller: Intel 82801FBM ICH6-M – USB Universal Host Controller [B-1]
  • BIOS: IBM 70ET69WW (1.29 )
  • Battery: Sony IBM-92P1089

My Other Setup:

With the end of the experiment, I decided that I was so impressed with Linux that I’d use it full time. To that end, I’ve installed Kubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala on my home built PC.

The following is a list of the hardware in the machine:

  • Motherboard: ASUSTeK P5B-Deluxe
  • CPU: Intel(R) Core(TM)2 CPU 6600 @ 2.40GHz
  • RAM: 4GB SDRAM
  • Video: Nvidia G92 [GeForce 8800 GT]
  • Audio: Intel 82801H (ICH8 Family) HD Audio Controller
  • Storage (IDE): JMicron JMB362/JMB363 AHCI IDE Controller
  • Storage (SATA): JMicron JMB362/JMB363 AHCI SATA Controller
  • Disk Drives: 3x Seagate 500GB ST3500630A
  • Optical Drive: Sony Optiarc DVD RW AD-7170A
  • Ethernet: Marvell Technology 88E8056 PCI-E Gigabit Ethernet Controller
  • USB: Intel 82801H (ICH8 Family) USB UHCI Controller
  • Firewire: Texas Instruments TSB43AB22/A IEEE-1394a-2000 Controller (PHY/Link)
  • BIOS: American Megatrends v1101 (03/09/2007)
  1. July 31st, 2009 at 14:38 | #1

    Dude! Your VB/Microsoft love is going to crash hard against your dreams of being a leet Linux Admin. But good luck!

  2. William B. Higinbotham
    September 26th, 2010 at 13:36 | #2

    I was in the US Airforce as a Jet Engine Mechanic 1978-1982. Around Dec 1981 my father William A. Higinbotham ( http://www.bnl.gov/bnlweb/history/higinbotham.asp ) sent me a Heathkit Microprocessor Kit for Christmas. I soldered it together and had to toubleshoot it because my first time soldering was not great. But the tutorial they has was extreamly clear and precise. Anyone could follow it. It worked and I got hooked programming it. I then found out from my supervisor that I can apply for cross training. I was approved and ended up at SAC Headquarters (Offutt AFB) in Nebraska. Was on Compuserve in 1983 even though no one can figure that they where around back then. I was on a VIC-20 with 150(maybe 300) baud modem and cassett tape drive backup. It was a great time in my lifealso. Just wanted to share my past. Now I work at Staples because hardware got tooo cheap and I never went for certification. Why have cert. when people should have licenses to drive a computer.
    Thank You
    Billy – The ASCII Guy

  1. August 25th, 2009 at 21:22 | #1