Mike's Mathom Collection - Linux



A mouse is a device used to point at the xterm you want to type in
— Kim Alm in alt.sysadmin.recovery

I am proud of the fact that I've been a Linux user since late 1992, just over a year after Linus Torvalds unleashed it on the world.

My current linux distribution choice:

A vague distro chronology (not exclusive - I often mixed and matched, depending on roughly a half dozen machines in use between work and home at any given time):

1992-1995: SLS/Slackware
1995-1998: Red Hat (before it became a corporate behemoth)
1998-2004: Mandrake/Red Hat
2004-2007: Fedora Core
2007-2017: Arch Linux
2017-now: openSUSE Leap and openSUSE Tumbleweed

Here is a short and likely uninteresting history of the early days, including a few screenshots (using a modern virtual machine) to show what it was like.

A few useful links:



Linux Distro Timeline

Open Source Software

My first exposure to “Open Source” software came well before I found Linux; I was required to use emacs as an undergraduate back in 1985, and I used various components of the GNU toolchain throughout graduate school in the late 80s and early 90s since the functionality was better than that available in the UNIX/SunOS/Solaris native tools. I like the ideals of Open Source, though I am firmly in the “pragmatism beats purity” camp.

Though I'm not a programmer, I have participated in several OSS projects. In the late 90s and early 2000s (before my kids took over my life), I was a documentation writer and manager for the LyX project, a document processor that uses LaTeX (which is itself built on top of TeX) as the back end. I also contributed the layout file to use AASTeX within LyX. For LaTeX itself, I contributed a couple of short sections and proofread the guide “A (Not So) Short Introduction to LaTeX” by Tobias Oetiker.

Like many other OSS enthusiasts, I hang out on a number of forums and email lists, and occasionally throw in my two cents and the odd bug report. Chief amongst these are openSUSE, enlightenment, GRAMPS, numpy/scipy, and astropy.

Esoteric Languages

Occasionally I like to tinker with programming languages that twist the brain. Go here for a longer discussion.

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Last update: 2020-06-23