Linux Journal: My Life and Free Software

“The godfather of Linus’ children and the glue that holds
the Linux community together tells us a bit about his life and
involvement in the programming community.”

“I somehow made the acquaintance of the Digital Equipment
Corporation salesman who gave me a couple of paperback books, one
of which was on the fundamentals of programming in assembler, the
other entitled Programming the PDP-8. From these two books, I
started the task of learning to program the machines in assembly
language. While learning assembler language programming from a book
might sound daunting to some, the books (part of a handbook series
put out by Digital) were very good, and along with the other
students using the lab (the “lab rats”), we managed to coach each
other through the process. … I never forgot the kindness of that
Digital salesman, nor the philosophy of the DECUS organization. It
would have a profound effect on my later life, both as I chose new
jobs and as I dealt with other people.”

“While working at Aetna, two major things occurred. First, I
started going to graduate school at night for my MSCS; the second
was making friends with some of the operators of the machines. The
second event brought me out of a shell I was in, and made me more
outgoing. It also gave me physical access to the computer floor,
something very useful from time to time as a programmer at Aetna. I
also noticed that my tapes got mounted faster, my listings were
sorted nicer, and various good things happened to me because I
liked these people and treated them with respect. Other programmers
who did not treat them with respect often had a hard time getting
good service. Another major lesson learned in life.”


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