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A Few Questions For Jaldhar H. Vyas

May 07, 2009, 21:31 (0 Talkback[s])

"Growing up in the '70s we were told computers were great. if you had any problem you could just say “let's ask the computer!” and Sentinel One or whoever would appear as a hologram and instantly tell you the answer. Or maybe they were lovable wisecracking robots. But we were lied to. Real computers turned out to be neither lovable nor cute and they maddeningly refused to do what they were told for incomprehensible reasons. From the very beginning I had the urge to take the lid off and try to understand what was going on in these mysterious boxes in the hopes of somehow beating them into submission.

"Way back in college in the early '90s I managed to stumble across the Internet (just in time for the dot-com boom.) Naturally I wanted to learn more about it and how it worked and that meant learning Unix. Even if you used Windows, you used ports of Unix software so there was no way around it. The trouble is Unix was expensive and ran on exotic hardware far beyond the purchasing power of a destitute student. Thus when I heard that there was a free clone of Unix that could run on a 386 pc, I was very interested. When I learned it came with full source code that you could tinker with as much as you wished it was like a dream come true. So I cleared up some space on my massive 40MB hard drive for a version of Slackware which was the only decent distribution at the time."

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