Originally Published: Tuesday, 22 February 2000 Author: Justin Bajko
Published to: featured_articles/Featured Articles Page: 1/1 - [Printable]

Giving Back to the Linux Community

Back in the winter of 1995, I began using IRC, the addictive chat system that is used by people around the world. I browsed a couple of the large networks that I saw, and finally settled on EFNet. I joined a few channels, and started hearing people talking about "Linux." I wondered what on Earth they were talking about, so I opened my trusty Web browser, headed to Yahoo, and typed in "Linux" as my search criterion.

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Back in the winter of 1995, I began using IRC, the addictive chat system that is used by people around the world. I browsed a couple of the large networks that I saw, and finally settled on EFNet. I joined a few channels, and started hearing people talking about "Linux." I wondered what on Earth they were talking about, so I opened my trusty Web browser, headed to Yahoo, and typed in "Linux" as my search criterion.

I was amazed at the amount of information that was returned to me by the search engine: page after page of Linux-related articles, reviews, and HOWTOs. I read somewhere that Linux was basically a variant of UNIX, and had much of the same features. Recognizing the UNIX name, I decided to look into Linux a bit deeper. I found myself a free shell provider running Linux, toyed around with it for a while, and, realizing that I couldn't even begin to use it, directly ran out and purchased a "UNIX for Dummies" book to better acquaint myself with some of the everyday commands.

Armed with this fresh "basic navigation" knowledge, I logged back into my shell and started my first real Linux experience. I learned the command "uptime" from some IRC channel, so I typed it in. I had no clue that it was possible for a computer to go without rebooting for that long of a period of time (I think it was around 56 days). As I advanced my knowledge of Linux further and further, I tried to work up the courage to attempt an install.

In December of 1997, I took a job at Software, Etc. in my hometown. I love working with people, so I thought retail sales was the place for me. One day, when putting out some extra stock, I opened up a box containing a few copies of Red Hat Linux. I quickly took this back to the counter and asked my manager to ring it up for me. After work that night, I rushed home and decided to install it. I was amazed at how easily it installed for me, which was exactly the opposite of what I had thought would happen.

When I got it installed, I spent day after day, and, eventually, month after month, playing around with it, recompiling kernels, and just basically learning. The idea of having the source code, which I had no clue how to understand, right there in front of me was very appealing. "They want people that use this OS to help improve on it," I thought to myself, "Great idea!".

After using Linux for a couple of years, I decided that it was time for me to give something back to the Linux community for providing something so wonderful for me to use. After all, the idea of open source projects relies on people who use it doing their parts. I was approached by Terry Warner (Project Manager, Linux.com Games) one day, and he asked me if I would be interested in volunteering for Linux.com. It only took a moment for me to say yes. Since that day, I've continued to use Linux and try and give back a bit to encourage its growth by working in, and eventually becoming Director of, the Linux.com Human Resources Department.

The reason for this article is simple. If any of you out there using Linux enjoy it enough that you would like to have an opportunity to help it grow, we here at Linux.com would love to have you on board. So, give it a try and apply with us. I promise it will be a rewarding and worthwhile experience.

Justin Bajko is a student at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He is currently pursuing a degree in Business Administration with a concentration in pre-law.





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