I live in Germany and was born in 1968. I’ve been interested in computers since I was a child. When I was 10 I wanted to buy a ZX81 and learn to program - but unfortunately nothing came of it. About 1 year later we moved to town (Bad Hersfeld) and my father bought an Interton Video 2000 (I think it was 1979). What can I say: it looked like magic to me.
A little later (1980?) A friend of mine (Axel) got an ATARI 2600 for Christmas. During our mutual visits, we then went through all possible modules. I always wanted to understand how the technology behind it works. Playing games was not enough for me. I decided to learn to code somehow. At that time there was no internet and literature on the subject was rare or in English. I still found the Atari fascinating back then.
In 1981 the ATARI 400 came out and I knew someone who had bought it (the son of one of my teachers from school). He was very good at programming and said it would be pretty easy. I didn’t have the money for a 400. So in 1982 I bought a Commodore VC 20 with a compact cassette - it had an unbelievable 3.5 KB RAM.
After a short time I realized that this was not the right thing for me. So I finally decided to buy a “real” home computer. It had to be the ATARI 800XL. It came out in 1983. I bought it and most of the time i played games but i also programmed my personal version of Pac Man in basic and assembler. What can i say: it was slow and ugly - but i learned a lot of things.
Around that time I started to visit CeBit in Hannover every year (the biggest computer fair in the world at that time). There I met my heroes, among others: Jack Tramiel (always with a cigar), Steve Jobs (Wow - I talked to him about Next Step for 5 minutes. He was a nice guy - in my holy opinion). A few years later I met Bill Gates while he was signing one of his books at the ATARI exposition (he was giving them away for free - but I can’t remember which one it was) - I talked to him for a long time and I told him straight out that I don’t like Windows at all. He had probably never heard that before, because he asked me why that is so. He then offered me a hand-signed book and I refused (stupid me). Whatever: He’s a really nice guy - very different from what I had imagined.
Later - in 1986 - I switched to the ATARI ST and hard disks became affordable some time later. I learned to program in “C” and started to hate the language, but only because I thought it was slow and unnecessary. I really thought it was a good idea to program operating systems in assembler. :-D
When ATARI slowly came to an end, I switched to a PC with MS-DOS - like most of my friends. Sometime later i used Windows 3.11 and then 95. I stupidly bought a copy of Windows 95 and got acquainted with my first blue screen. Now and then, I thought the platform (Intel) was a bunch of junk and the operating system (Windows) was a complete mess. Unfortunately I was right until today.
In 1996 I started working for an IBM subsidiary here in Germany. We sold point of sale systems and I was a system integrator. IBM was still using OS/2 and DB/2 on Intel. It (OS/2) ran quite well but was doomed to die even though it was technically much better than Windows 95.
At that time I was so frustrated by Windows and the fact that OS/2 would die that I started to look into Linux. I think my first Linux was a RedHat CD with Linux kernel 0.8.x. I then did a one year training and learned Turbo Pascal - I still think this is the best programming language ever developed - but what do I know ?
Later I started at GLS and had contact with SCO OpenServer 3.0. It was already outdated at that time and to change the IP address you had to relink the kernel. I found that extremely crazy. Anyway: The company changed to Solaris 7 on Intel servers. There I learned from my boss how to program in shell (korn shell) and how to read complicated source codes. The time at GLS and what I learned there, was the best that happened to me in my joblife.
After that time I went to Deutsche Bahn for about 4 years and became a freelancer. There I administered the Cray 2 (SUN E10000) and helped to introduce the SF6800 and the SF15000 at Deutsche Bahn. They were all Sparc servers - the best architecture I have ever seen. Until today there is nothing comparable (except maybe the PowerPC architecture - but it has the AIX problem).
Since then I have specialized in Linux, automation (Ansible) and databases (PostgreSQL, Oracle). Unfortunately Linux has become more and more complex (due to RedHat and the Pöttering thing). That’s why I decided some years ago to build my own Linux (SMITUX).
My thanks go to my wife Nancy - if she hadn’t given me the necessary courage in 1996 I would still be working in a pharmacy and rolling pills. THANK YOU Nancy!