How was your way to Linux and OpenSuse?


I am not sure, whether such a Thread already exists or not, but I would like to read, how you made your way to OpenSuse? When did you begin with computers, what are you using them for? Was it difficult for you to start using Linux? And so on…

so, for a start, here is my story:

My first computer, bought in 1995, was featuring an Intel Pentium Processor with 133 Mhz and it also had 8 Mb RAM and 2 Gb HDD.
It was preloaded with Windows 95. It had quite a lot of alternative software on it, for example the Netscape Navigator (instead of IE), StarOffice (instead of MS Office) and some Corel Photo and painting software.
It was running quite okay. I used it a lot for gaming and all the photo stuff and of course the Internet.

In 2000 I bought a new one, featuring an AMD Athlon Processor with 1400 Mhz, 256 MB RAM and 40 Gb HDD. It was preloaded with Windows Me and this was horrible. After suffering for more than two and a half years I bought a Windows Xp and was slightly reliefed…
This computer was also used for all the things which happen in Live. I had this computer until 2009, but then upgraded to 1 Gb RAM and a 500 Gb HDD.

In 2005 I thought about buying a Mac, because I was fed up with Windows. I had some viruses on the machine and did not know where they came from (for sure it was not porn! :slight_smile: ) and I simply wanted something different.

I went to the Apple Store and realised that this would be really really expensive. And I also was not sure… there is no trial… you buy it and you like it, or you have lost a lot of money… or you sell it again… whatever…

So I thought to myself: “there must be something else”. And after some weeks of not thinking about all this anymore, I stumbled over a CT, a german technology magazine, mainly for computer guys. They always bring also some special editions and this special edition was about OpenSuse 10.0 and a install DVD was also included.
So I tried it…
But in some way I did not really succeed with it. I had no clue about it because of course I never have heard about Linux and Suse in particular.
Anyway, from this moment on I was somehow fascinated and pissed in the same moment. Fascinated because there was something which also makes my computer being useful and pissed because I did not have a clue how to install the graphics driver for my ATI card and because there was no driver for my Lexmark printer.

So after a while I decided to fire up Windows again… and I was very sad about this.

After a while this bugging feeling came back… “try it again!!!”. So this time, in early 2006 I tried Ubuntu 5.10 because there was some other article about it in another CT magazine.
I finally managed to install the graphics driver on it and it was quite okay.
But after a while I felt that the gaming was missing…
At this time I did not know that you also can dualboot…

So the so to say second good time of Windows on my computer lasted until early 2008.

In the meantime I collected lots of information about Linux. How to dualboot, how to install graphics drivers, how to install printer drivers… and so on.
I also bought a new printer, which was supported by Linux (a Brother all-in-one)

So I tried it again, in 2008 with Ubuntu 7.10. This time I wanted to succeed. But I don´t know what was wrong… but the system could not save the screen resolution. Every time it booted up, the screen was wrong and I had to fix it manually.
After a while Ubuntu 8.04 came out and I tried this. But not Ubuntu, it was Kubuntu instead, because I knew from the trial with Suse 10.0 back in 2005, that KDE may be a bit more familiar…
So this time, my trial was successful. I got everything to work on my old computer from 2000.

It was amazing.

After everything was set up, I sat in front of the screen with tears of fascination in my eyes. I could not believe that this simply works.

After a while working with KDE 3.5 I felt that it actually is not really my piece of cake and I switched over to Gnome-Ubuntu.
I also bought a new computer some days later and also a Laptop. Both without operating system and I installed Ubuntu 8.04 on the desktop and Ubuntu 8.10 on the Laptop.
Later I followed all Ubuntu and Kubuntu versions until 2010. Kubuntu on the desktop and Ubuntu on the Lappie.
I also tried a lot of other distros, like OpenSuse 11.2, Mint, Debian, Mandriva, Fedora, Sabayon…

In 2010 I realised that I need change again. So I started a really bad distro hopping and finally ended up with OpenSuse 11.3. I also bought a new Laptop because the old one is showing signs of wear (it was a really cheap one) and I think that it will break soon. As I moved to the US I also bought a new desktop over here and this is now a dualboot again. But Windows is booted next to never on this machine.

Now I am on Open Suse 11.4 and I am really happy.

So, to all of you developers out there: thank you very much, for providing such an awesome system! Your work and your effort is very much appreciated!


whats your story? :slight_smile:

First off, I don’t have a good memory like you.
Yes, I think we are on common ground with your explanation.

IIRC my Son was given an intro to Linux in school, came home with it and we grabbed a SUSE 8 DVD from somewhere. I messed with Mepis 3 and the first releases of Ubuntu that they were giving away like crazy.
I was singularly using SUSE at v.10 (even with all the package manager troubles)
Whilst I became a Linux enthusiast, my Son lost interest, mostly because of a growing fascination for all things ‘Games’. He now works in IT and has done all his Microsoft and Cisco stuff. He knows his way around Linux of course.
I have always had SUSE from 10, though some machines have had to use different distros Eg: @ 11.1 my box was on Fedora and @ 11.3 my box was on Mint.
Currently 11.4 on everything + I have Factory-Tested and will be testing the M’s of the next release.

I had started with openSUSE 10 and so now I use it as my main operating system on my Desktop, on my laptop and server. I use also Kubuntu, openSOLARIS, MONOMACHOS, Backtrack. I use linux only for developing and programming.

Caldera went belly up and SUSE was the obvious alternative.

Can’t remember anymore exactly but I had been examining Linux for a while back in the mid 90’s and was asked to help setting up a server for a small town back when net was emerging (and I was still studying) and after rolling out Slackware (back then getting the ethernet adapter to work on Linux was a bit tricky, especially since there weren’t that many drivers around and they were quite flakey) I ran into SuSE fork of Slack and liked the way it worked, replaced the Slackware system and have been using SUSE on servers since.

Yes, I use Mac on desktops nowadays but #1 choice for servers is lil’ SUSE.

I first tried slackware and redhat around 1995. I had already been using unix, and it was good to be able to get a unix-like system on my own PC.

I first tried suse on my laptop at around 9.1 or 9.2 (not sure of the actual version). I went fully to opensuse with version 10.1.

On 04/05/2011 07:36 AM, steffen13 wrote:
> whats your story? :slight_smile:

first exposure was a remote terminal acoustically coupled to a main
frame in a far off building…both what was typed on the keyboard and
the computers reply was printed onto a roll of heat sensitive paper with
heated dot-matrix magic…we used it to ‘play’ a “war game” (wasn’t
play, it was a computer aided exercise in war planning, execution,
command and control…)

next at a remote terminal with a CRT, and occasional computer card
puncher, connected to an IBM mainframe in the basement, in late
'78…then used several 8080/8086s my employer owned with various early
MS and/or PC-DOS through about '90…in '92 changed jobs and had access
to 8086/386 running MS-DOS4, then 5…and one Windows 3.0…in '93 i
bought my first a 486/33 with MS-DOS 5.0 (or .1) and Windows 3.1…in
'93 i bought OS/2 Warp v2.0 but when i read the instructions on how to
partition and make a dual boot i chickened out, and sold it to a
friend…but in early '95 (tired of waiting for the LONG promised but
not delivered MS-Chicago) i bought and installed OS/2 Warp v3.0

three things “sold me” on installing Warp

  • it could use all the MS software i had accumulated (at great expense)…
  • i was an experienced BBS user and having read about the internet i
    wanted to join, but that was kinda difficult to do with Win3.11 (had to
    learn about winsock and and and and) and, Warp was installed with a
    one-click to the internet via, easy as pie…(expensive, but easy)
  • it was immune from the viruses already invading MS-land

in '98 (maybe it was late '97) i bought a second machine so i could
‘learn’ Linux…and promptly got lost in Red Hat and wandered around
learning (and trying Red Hat, Mandrake, and some others for several
years while i continued to use OS/2 Warp v 4.0, 4.5 and later
eComStation daily…

but, by about 2001 i was using Fedora far more than the eComStation and
in 2002 just switched completely to it…

found SUSE around the 9.2 time frame (maybe it was 9.1, don’t recall–i
installed it because i bought a 64 bit AMD machine and a Linux Magazine
arrived with a 64 bit SUSE install disk–and, they were a perfect match)
and haven’t shopped around for another distro since (not exactly true,
as i looked seriously at Debian while still using 10.2 when openSUSE
11.0, 11.1 and 11.2 wallowed in unstable-land, and looked in passing at
Ubuntu, Knoppix, Arch and i don’t know what else)

but, after that first move to 64 i’ve always installed a 32…

CAVEAT: [NNTP via openSUSE 11.3 + KDE4.5.5 +
Thunderbird3.1.8] Can you believe it? This guy Ralph wins $181 million
in the lottery last Wednesday, and then finds the love of his life just
2 days later. Talk about LUCK!

I also used Warp for a while, before moving to linux. I liked Warp, because it gave me easy Internet access.

By 1995, I was also trying slackware linux. It didn’t take long to find out that linux did Internet better than Warp, did latex better than Warp, and had an actual concept of limited users (which Warp lacked). After a while, I found that I was mainly using linux, and only occasionally booting into Warp.

I learned about GNU/Linux a few years ago when I was using Microsoft Windows XP Professional Service Pack 3 as my primary operating system on my Hewlett Packard desktop PC. I wound up downloading and installing Ubuntu 9.04 in a dual-boot configuration. I was mighty impressed with myself. Then, I decided to give my HP desktop PC to my friend. I bought a Toshiba NB205-N310/BN netbook which came with the same operating system pre-installed. It is a very slow computer so I decided to install Ubuntu 9.10 on it. I had to fiddle around with the Bluetooth and the Wi-Fi settings as they were intertwined together at the hardware level on that specific netbook. I used this netbook for several months until I made the decision to submit an application to New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark, New Jersey USA. I got accepted into the Masters of Science in IT Administration and Security degree program. I needed a much more powerful notebook PC rather than relying upon a netbook. I bought an ASUS N61JV-X2 notebook PC. It came with Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit. I purchased Ultimate 64 bit and a whole slew of other software applications such as Symantec Norton 360 version 5, Super Anti-Spyware Professional, Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware, Revo Uninstaller Professional, WinPatrol Professional, Acronis True Home Image 2011 and Plus Pack, VMWare Workstation 7, etc. I also bought Crucial 8.00 GB of DDR3 PC-8500 1,066 MHz SODIMM SDRAM and an Intel 2nd Generation 34nm SATA-II 160.00 GB Solid State Drive. I used the Intel Data Migration Toolkit to create a disk clone of my C:\ drive containing my Windows partition onto an external Seagate Momentus 7200.4 SATA-II 500.00 GB 7,200 RPM hard drive that was connected to my Thermaltake BlacX SATA-I/II hard drive dock that comes with USB 2.0 and eSATA. For a while, I was definitely a Microsoft guy. I still am a Microsoft guy.

Then, I decided to backup my C:\ drive containing my Windows partition onto the external hard drive and I deleted my Windows partition because it took up 130.00 GB and I had 18.6 GB of free unallocated space left that I could not extend the volume. The restoration process failed. I lost my Windows operating system permanently.

I tried to do a system recovery using my backup DVD-R discs. That failed because my Intel SSD was stuck inside my ASUS N61JV-X2 notebook PC due to a screw that got mangled when I tried to remove the hard drive bay cover. I tried to install Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64 bit, but it failed to recognize my Intel SSD despite the fact that I used the DISKPART utility to delete the old partition, create a new one, set it to active, set the file system to NTFS, and it was a no go.

So, I wound up downloading and installing Ubuntu 10.10 64 bit Maverick Meerkat. It worked liked a charm. However, I noticed that it was not nearly as stable, reliable, and dependable as OpenSUSE. Whenever I tried to plug in my Super Speed USB 3.0 devices, it would freeze up and when I rebooted my laptop, it failed to load GRUB2 or the Ubuntu splash screen. I wound up giving up on Ubuntu and I downloaded and I installed OpenSUSE 11.4 64 bit with GNOME on April 1st, 2011.

It has been a much better Linux experience. Almost everything works right out of the box except for my nVIDIA GeForce GT 325M with nVIDIA Optimus. The community here made the biggest difference. I found out that people here are patient, friendly, and supportive with quick replies to threads asking for help. In contrast, the Ubuntu community is similar, but there are so many more users that some of my threads in which I asked for help were never answered.

I am sticking with OpenSUSE. I did install Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 32 bit in an Oracle Virtualbox virtual machine so that I can earn my degree from NJIT because they require IBM PC compatible computers with dual-core and hyper threading Intel CPUs and Microsoft Windows for the operating system for all of their degree programs. Otherwise, I would not use Windows anymore because I feel that OpenSUSE and GNU/Linux in a broader sense fulfills my needs.

I am starting to understand the advocacy for F.O.S.S. and the philosophy behind it better. I would like to think that I am making myself more marketable and competitive when I graduate with my masters degree from NJIT by stating that I use OpenSUSE, Ubuntu, and Red Hat on my resume.

In the meantime, I am studying for my CompTIA Security+ certificate and C++ programming language on my own time. I hope to master both subjects as soon as possible.

Thank you.

I don’t have all the credencials of the rest here, since i use computer mainly for joy and private. So mainly i am the dummy and learn by doing and reading.

My first exposure to computers was the Sega Mastersystem for which i used the small creditcard shaped units to fire up games. Didn’t had the money for the bigger (and better) cardridges at the time.
After that, a friend of mine told me of his new computer which was a Commodore C64.
With this machine you were able to do so much more. Well, of course you played games mainly, but you were able to peek and poke to force software to your advantage. :slight_smile:

At that time everything was buzzing around this little machine and at one point a company released a graphical OS for it which was called GEOS.
I had even a friend who used his C64 to go online.

After that, I optaind a PC. For some reason, everyone was saying PC are the future. So I bought in and got me a Amstrad 1640 PC. It did not have any harddrive, since they were kinda expensive at the time and so I used Floppydrives instead.
Funny thing, I bought also a text writing program but did not read the small print as it required to have a harddrive in order to work.
Did I mention that it had a monochrome monitor? It did. I think I enjoyed tooling around with it, but I did not feel home.

So after a short while, I bought an Amiga 500 since a friend had one. This was of course mainly a gaming computer since most people used it for games.
But it had also some of the finest software around like Dpaint from Electronic Arts. Good times indeed if I compare it to today.
Also you had easy access to a brought spectrum of software tools like C or Assembler or your Basic.
With this machine I had my first climatic experience as it enabled me to get online. At the time I bought the cheapest alternative I could find which was an 300 Baud acoustic coupler. This transformed you in to a real hacker. Light off, Monitor on and starting the terminal.
The only problem facing, was sudden interruption by a standbyer who was coughing since the coupler would catch those waves and you seen only salad on the screen.
At one point there was a Unix version available for the Amiga but since i had no use for it, it passed.

After Commodore officially went out of business i was looking for alternatives and of course it was a PC again.
Windows took over the world and if someone spoke about computers, it was strictly Windows as the only option there was. This is going on to this date.

The first version of a PC i had was a 386SX and there of up to Pentium at which point i got from a friend the hint to try Suse. At that time it was version 4 i believe. There was no Gnome or KDE at the time (correct me if i am wrong) but everything worked fine to a certain degree. Problem was that most of the stuff as far as i remember had to be compiled to have software. Vaguely i remember Yast.

Time past and i went back to the Windows again. At one point i switched even the complete hardware and went nerdy with an iMac (the bondiblue). You can say what you want, but this was a machine with a soul again. For all its limits, it was fun to hack on it.
After a couple years later and some other releases of Windows, i am back with OpenSuse (now Open) and use it since 11.2 or so…

Oh i forgot to mention that i also used Ubuntu for a while. But besides the awesome Gnome desktop, i felt better with Suse since its german :slight_smile: and i knew it from the past (to a small degree).

Thats my story, hope you enjoyed it.

I started in computers in University in 1972 with keypunch cards, and having to put our cards in a computer room slot. A few days to a week later we would get a print out and the result of our program run (which typically failed). Iterations were slow.

In spring 1981 I purchased a used Apple-II+ and a special math coprocessor card to go with it (as the Apple’s 6502 cpu was very slow), and programed my first satellite plotting programs in Forth so as to help me in my office work (we did not have the budget at work to do this - so I paid for it myself out of my pocket). In 1983 the Apple-II+ was replaced with a IIe with a Z80 CPM card, and I played with CPM. I also in parallel at work was a user of VMS and Unix (in different jobs). In 1988 I switched to a used IBM PC AT (80286 cpu - given to me by my brother). In 1991 time frame I purchased an 80486 based PC, and I was an IBM PC user with DR-DOS and Windows-3.0.

… but at that time in 1991 the engineers/scientists at the office were all excited about Linux. I was curious, but not curious enough to do anything about it, and moved to Windows-3.1 and then later Windows-95.

Finally when on Sebatical in 1998, when living on a small beach apartment on the beach in Thailand (which was wiped out by the Tsunami in 2005 (fortunately I had moved 5 years prior)) I switched to Red Hat Linux (version 5.1 at the time, I believe). I did not dual boot (hard drive was too small) but rather I physically swapped drives between Win95 and Red Hat Linux when ever I wanted to boot. It was such an irritation to swap drives. that I spent 90% of my time in Red Hat.

Living by myself on a small beach hut with only a slow dial up to the Internet, meant I solved most problems by myself, although I did get help with X via the work of someone else who got X to run on the old Compaq LTE laptop that I owned.

In 1999 I moved to Germany, and in 2001 I decided my Red Hat-5.1 needed an update (version 7.1 of Red Hat was just coming out then). I purchased new hardware, but instead of going to Red Hat 7.1, I decided to try SuSE-Pro (I can’t remember the version … either 7.1 or 7.2 of SuSE). I was talked into SuSE-Pro by a couple of engineers at the office (a Brit and also a German). Where I work are Linux engineers who have forgotten more about Linux than I will ever learn. Hence getting Linux support has never been an issue for me.

I’ve never been a distro hopper, and I stuck with SuSE (which later became openSUSE). I liked the SuSE community. I liked the Packman packager’s support. I liked YaST. Over the years my view has been the SuSE/openSUSE distribution has mostly always improved. There were hiccups along the way, but nothing that ever impacted me much and hence given the time I invested in the ‘SuSE/openSUSE’ way of doing things, I could not then (and can not now) justify the time needed in moving to another distribution.

Initially I was in awe that distro hoppers could claim they used so many Linux distributions. Later I came to realize that most distro hoppers know very little about the distro’s they hop to , despite their claims to the contrary. Often their assessments are simply wrong. My view today is one can only really get to know a distro (and have it really shine in function) by sticking with it so as to learn it (and I mean sticking with only ONE distro and NOT multiple booting to others, for more than a year … ) , and of course distro hoppers never do that. But thats all IMHO, but it did formulate in me the importance for me to stick with what I know and with what works for me.

Around 2005 I started contributing back to the Linux community by helping users on the Linux forums, and somewhere along the line I ended up agreeing to become a moderator.

And that’s where I am today.

Hmmm… I think my story started in 2003 when I went to the university and opened new study-life-style :wink: It was crazy time for me. I have started drink beer, write my first programms, don’t sleep at night and… also use GNU/Linux. I can’t remember the reason why I changed my operating system, but it was something with due programming, I guess. And also stability of the GNU/Linux leads to trust and respect.

At first I used Mandrake and it was only for programming. I found the russian translation of “Just for fun” and this book (and also very important - style of this book) swallowed up and pulled me in this world of Freedom and Open Source. In next 2-3 years I tested/changed many different distro.

I didn’t finish my studies at university, and moved to Germany, where I started work for Novell/SUSE. Now I develop and use openSUSE, and have a lot of fun with community of this beautiful distro :wink:


Wow, I don’t have all the credentials either. Darn, there is a lot of experience here. DenverD, you have an amazing route. :slight_smile:

Like DenverD, my first encounter with computer have been with punch card, but just a little. To make some experiences at school.

My real first time was with the Commodore 64. I learned a little the programming language called basic. I recall how we programmed the computer to perform a big audio task : a series of bip to make a song. :smiley:

We had to save everything on a 4-track compact cassette. Darn it was long to read and write…

After, I went to a Tandy 1000, I played a little with it and left computer world for a while.

My first computer, the first I owned, was an intel 386 with 4Mb of RAM and 20Mb of HDD. Wow, it was a bomb back then. I was running DOS of course and used Lotus 1-2-3 for my university’s work. My printer was a Fujitsu Dot-matrix. The sheets with the dots that one has to remove. With works of up to 30 pages or more, this was a real pain to remove all those. After that, I bought a intel 486, and a AMD K6, and so on.

In 2007, I was really fed up of Microsoft Windows and wanted to try something else. I heard about a popular linux distro : ubuntu. So I tried it, but wasn’t impressed. I tried other distros : Linspire, PcLinuxOS, Fedora Core and finally choose : Mandriva 2007.0. I fell in love with it and used it a lot. I became admin of a french community dedicated to Mandriva (MLO) and still am today.

My first encounter with openSUSE was with the openSUSE 10.2. I tried it, but Mandriva was still my favorite distro. When Mandriva was about to be sold last year, I tried openSUSE again and fell in love with it for good. Now, I am a BIG fan of openSUSE and I have to admit that it is with this distro and with this community that I learned the most of a linux distro.

Today, I am using 95% of the time openSUSE and 5% Windows for gaming (linux is not the best for gaming IMO).

This year, I tried Linux Mint and was really impressed with it, but not enough to make me leave my openSUSE.

That’s my little story and my little experience with computers.

wow, these stories are really cool and interesting!

the same goes for me. I think even more! As I sometimes really don´t have any clue what is going on. Over time I learned some terminal commands but this is really minor, just as much as I need…
But thinking back… right now I can not remember how I solved all these issues in Windows, 3 or 4 years ago. At work I still have to use it but luckily I just need to write a ticket and the IT guys do it for me.

All your stories make me curious: how was it back in the 90s, regarding drivers and so on for Linux distros? How was it compared to now? I guess today it is much better, but did Nvidia, ATI, HP and all these hardware (graphics, printers… and so on) companies also make Linux-Drivers for their stuff or… how did this work out?
How was it with all the computer internals? Was it the same like today that you could expect the system to at least work in a certain degree and maybe install some additional drivers to full perfection, or was it fiddeling around to get everything to work?
The reason why I ask is that I want to find out whether the public image “in Linux you have to fiddle a lot to make it work” is actually true or not…

Yeah, I mean I did it once in a while because I wanted to see what the others have to offer. But looking back to these times, it was not really fun. So I also am a person who actually wants to stick with something, once it fullfills the requirements. That is why I was in Ubuntu for so long (not really long but most of the time in my Linux part of life) and that is why I think and hope that I stick with OpenSuse for even longer time.

Did you knew that by disabling the screen and allocating the diskdrive from the C64 you could’ve calculate nice fractals? The dataset was but indeed a pain. Very unreliable.

Noobie answers first. :slight_smile:

As far as i remember, there was always a generic driver you could probe.
But at that time there were also a ton of manufactures present, not like today. You had in my early days Vodoo Gfx cards which were really popular. Then the Sirius (lowend) etc… I don’t even think that there was a driver for such cards.
But its so far far away and my memory is dusted.

On Tue, 05 Apr 2011 05:36:01 +0000, steffen13 wrote:

> I am not sure, whether such a Thread already exists or not, but I would
> like to read, how you made your way to OpenSuse? When did you begin with
> computers, what are you using them for? Was it difficult for you to
> start using Linux?

I work for Novell, and started using SUSE with SuSE Professional 9.2
(might’ve been 9.1) back in 2003. I’d been a RedHat user before then

I started using computers in the 5th grade in 1981 or 1982 at school.
Took some classes in Commodore BASIC (the school had Commodore PET
computers). I don’t remember exact timeframes, but I might’ve possibly
used a terminal connected to a system at 3M prior to that (but I think it
was later) to play what became Zork I. I also remember my dad bringing
home a teletype terminal and I got to fiddle with that a couple times as

My first UNIX experience was in 1983, using a DEC system at a summer
class on using computers in math and science at St. Olaf college in
Northfield, MN.

First computer my family owned was a Sinclair ZX-81. Then a Commodore
64. I also had (on loan from a generous friend) an Apple II, then a
Kaypro luggable PC.

I spent time as a coder (in BASIC) when I was in the 7th or 8th grade
until I reached high school (I was paid to write code). While doing
that, I also got to play with robotics (specifically, the Hero Jr. and
Hero 1 robots) and that more or less got me started with machine language/
assembly language (as the code for those robots was more or less direct
machine language).

I taught myself C on the C64, and also spent a lot of time poking around
(literally and code-wise) in machine language with Jim Butterfield’s book
on 6502 assembly language, mostly through middle school.

By the time I graduated high school, I’d started working with networks -
simple networks, like Corvus Omninet (the high school had one), and I’d
written code in almost a dozen languages.

After an aborted start in aeronautical engineering, I settled on a degree
in aviation computer science - a specialized degree focusing on modeling
and simulation. Picked up several additional languages in the 2-ish
years I was in that program before my funds dried up and I had to drop
out of college.

In college, though, I started working with Novell NetWare (2.15 and then
3.11) and got heavy into networking. By the time I left university, I
had written a lot of code using undocumented DOS calls (this was in the
early 90’s) and got pretty familiar with the workings of the x86 BIOS and
architecture. I also spent a lot of time working on Sun SPARC systems.

Until a little over 7 years ago, I worked in IT, specializing first in
networking (Novell products specifically, but the skills translated to
other venues as well). I played around with Unixware (when Novell owned
it) and that got me hooked on *nix in general again. I played with Linux
off and on until RedHat 5.1 was released, and then I switched mostly over
to Linux.

7 years ago, as I mentioned earlier on, I went to work for Novell, where
I still work. I started as an advanced technical trainer (specializing
in identity management and security products in general and eDirectory in
particular - I’ve co-authored some books on troubleshooting NDS and it’s
successor, eDirectory, and have written/reviewed sections on NetWare
connectivity for Linux systems (RedHat specifically)), but have moved
into program management in more recent years - though the way I do
program management involves a lot of data manipulation, and I’m far
more familiar with the tools to manipulate data on Linux than on Windows.

That’s more or less my story. :slight_smile:


Jim Henderson
openSUSE Forums Administrator
Forum Use Terms & Conditions at

By the way, the company CommodoreUSA makes the Commodore 64 back to life - at least in the classic case design.

I got tired of being locked in by Windows. Whenever things (my PC, my OS) got old, I was always confronted with costs for updates. The private and voluntary work I was doing on my PC(s) did not change, there was no need to update the applications (but, nevertheless, improve the processes to increase efficiency). There was a threat of extra costs at every turn of the way, not least because of the necessary exchanges of data with other people.

I decided to embark on the adventure of buying a Laptop with Linux pre-installed, knowing that it was not guaranteed to succeed. It was an Acer with linpus linux - and it did not work, so I bought OpenSuse 10 off the shelf for about 50 euros (?). It worked a treat, but I am still using a desktop with Windows 2000 / Office 2000, slowly migrating things to OpenSuse / Open Office, the main bottleneck being the Microsoft Access appplications, for which I have not yet found adequate alternatives. I am using mySQL and Open Office Base for newer aspects of my voluntary work.

IMHO as big, if not bigger than the Microsoft monopoly on Operating Systems, is the Microsoft monopoly on PC databases (MS-Access), Spreadsheets (Excel), Word Processing (word) and Presentations (power point). Their MS-Schedule program has also a massive following. I think the vast majority of businesses and governments world wide are ‘locked’ into Microsoft applications, and if one requires 100% compatibility with many businesses/applications (in cases where 99% compatibility is not good enough) then one needs to use Microsoft products. In such a 100% case there is no escaping it.

Plus, even most hardware vendors with their BIOS updates insist on a Microsoft operating system being in place. Ergo total migration away from Microsoft may not be possible for everyone.

I typically have a dual boot on all of my PCs to either a Microsoft OS or to Free DOS. And I have WinXP running under Virtual Box in my newer PCs, where I can take my old copies of MS-Office for 100% compatibility (although I do occassionally need to remind my colleagues at work to save their documents in an OLD Microsoft office application format - fortunately the ‘old’ format is not only necessary for me, but also the old office formats are necessary to work with organizations that have not paid for a newer MS Office version).

Legal copies of winXP are very inexpensive now, as organizations such as Dell are now selling at a discount the massive number of unused Microsoft WinXP licences that they purchased.

I have found on my 64-bit PCs that winXP runs well under VirtualBox, after which its just a rather expensive matter of obtaining a legal MS-Office licence.