'''A bit about me!'''
I have long been interested in Unix, and I have had fleeting brushes with it at various points in my career in I.T. My last serious dealings with it were in the late 80's, when SCO Unix was used by my employers on fairly expensive ICL Risc machines. It frustrated me that it was too expensive, in terms of both software and hardware, to have a home Unix platform. It was not long after that, that I heard stories about a student in the Baltics that had developed a cut-down Unix-like core, which ran on Intel based hardware...
I have observed Linux grow over the years, but from afar. I have even installed Linux (first SuSe, then Red Hat) on a Laptop, (and then done nothing with it), so I figured the best way to spur me into getting serious with it would be to join the LUG. I have now put Fedora Core 4 on an old PII Laptop, although it runs like a snail, and I plan to install Linux on my main Desktop PC as multiboot.
In Aug 2006, with a lot of help from Adrian, Ubuntu 6.06 Live was set up on my relatively new laptop, to use a 512mb stick for retain settings between sessions. This was so that I would have a good setup for the bring a box meetings. It is now Oct 2006, and I have just bought a larger HDD for it, so Ubuntu has now been installed. I still have issues with the printer and WiFi (for starters).
I am also just getting involved with a project with other LUG members to implement Linux and Open Source solutions at the Southampton Environment Centre. I am hoping that this will be a valuable learning experience.
'''My Hardware History.'''
My first proper programming job was on a Burroughs mainframe at Fords. I wrote RPG programs which were punched onto 80 col cards using a hand operated hollerith punch (ie the characters were not printed on them and it was easy to punch a letter in the wrong column!) I progressed onto Diablo "microcomputers" using CP/M? and DACL, and later onto ICL System 25s using it's form of Assembler, before landing on the IBM System 38/AS400/iSeries, which is my current develoment platform.
I had a Tandy TRS80 at one point, which I used for playing about with. I used to run the game Advent on it, loading it from a cassette tape which took ages. I now have an assortment of PCs connected on a wired and wireless LAN. One of these was a self-build to provide my kids with a PC they could do homework on. (Oh yeah!)
I have been a developer on IBM AS400s for a couple of decades. In the late 90's I took the step, amidst the Y2K boom, to become a contractor, and set up my own limited company. I have continued as a contractor ever since, although I am finding now that contract jobs suitable for my skills are in short supply. Currently (Dec 2007), I am working in Buckinghamshire on a contract, but I am also planning to diversify by updating my skills to include Linux, as well a modern web-facing technologies.
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