I’m honored that Matt Hartley asked me to contribute to Freedom Penguin. In upcoming articles, I’ll be sharing some stories about things I’ve learned during my journey as a professional programmer analyst. I program in multiple languages like Java, Perl, bash, and also write end user documentation in PHP and do my own CSS.
I fix my own computers, and pride myself in being mechanically competent. I also fix my own bikes. (But don’t fix people.) For example, back in college around 1994, one of my friends who was getting a job asked me advice about getting a car. She probably asked the wrong person: I said that all the cars I’ve owned, or been around, all needed work. Water pumps, starter motors, plug changes and so forth. She was quite anxious after I went quiet on the topic. She asked, “I can’t spend all my time fixing cars, I need to get to work. Will anything just get me to work?” I then told her, “Well, a Toyota will. They won’t break a lot.”
(Surprisingly, the Toyota’s I have owned have done pretty well by me. I own a 2000 Sienna that keeps on ticking. Real guzzler by modern van standards, however the thing could tow a boat.)
And that’s (almost) how I think of Linux. It’s pretty dependable, but you’ve gotta roll up your sleeves once in a while. My family all have Ubuntu laptops. And as a result, I don’t have to worry about adware. Also stuff is easy to back up. The kids can game on these PCs, and only game just enough that they’re not bugging me for those fancy water cooled rigs. Luckily for me, I can keep the family running happily on used or refurbished hardware for the indefinite future. Similar to how I would view buying a used Toyota. I tend to think of myself as the family Linux mechanic.