my personal experience with open source

I actually have been crazy about computers since I was a little boy.  It started even some years befor I had my first computer when I had some kind of  “kids-education-computer” which was able to understand some basic programing. I must have been maybe 10 years old.  Later when I had my first real computer I went on with some basic programming in QBasic. I remember I coded some kind of table tennis game…it where ugly flickering and the ball only had three fixed routes it could pass 😉

My brother were also coding, but he focused more on Lotus Approach which was some kind of database system like MS Access. He build up an icon gallery with various kinds of filter and search possibilities.  I can well remember the nights my brother and me were both coding in our rooms. It was some kind of competition and we kept our code closed source 😉

Well, you can say, I have been crazy about programming and computers in general for many years already . But the majority of my techie life I was using microsoft products and all my coding was focused on the microsoft plattform (QBasic, VB, .NET) .  For many years that was the only thing I knew.

Well, I must say my connection to the computer world changed drastically in the last three years. I began to get curious about Linux more and more, I tried some distributions, I was kinda fascinated but still not ready to move over. For more or less one year I was pending…

…for maybe two years already I got rid off Windows on all my machines. Well, I still work a lot on windows machines at my job.  But all the private things I do, and I guess half of my business time I’m working on a linux machine. The funny thing is, through linux, now I see how less I know about windows.  I mean, all the underlying process of a operation system are much clearer on linux for me than they are on windows. I know programms use dbus to communicate with each other on my linux desktop, when I need to get information about hardware devices HAL is there for me…I know HAL will soon be replaced by DeviceKit because HAL became too messy and huge to maintain. I could go on with that list for ever. Why is that? Why did I learn so much about the linux operation system in that short time?

Well, the cool thing about  linux[1]  is that not only the code is open and can be downloaded from anywhere, but the whole scene is open, too! At first you will start reading and posting in forums.  Later on you might subscribe to mailing list where the core developers of one system part are discussing their ideas. You might be also reading the blogs and planets[2] of all those hackers involved. The scene is so open and friendly that I sometimes can not really believe it.  Its not unlikely to get in touch with one of the core hackers who might be employed at one of the big global players like Red Hat[3] or Novell.

I also must say that my personal coding skills have improved a lot because of this whole open source thing. Because you get the opportunity to work on cool projects, to see their code, to read the svn logs, to discuss the design of the functions etc.

Well, I must say while I have been crazy about computers for nearly all my life, open source turned that craziness into passion.

[1] I use the term “linux” meaning the whole distribution while I know this is wrong.
[2] A planet is a collection of a bunch or blogs which are related to someting. I often read:
[3] A big THANK YOU to Dan Williams (the core developer of the NetworkManager which is a main feature on most distributions) for all his help he is providing on the network manager list.


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