I can be classified as your typical, garden variety geek that loves computers, open source and Linux.
I believe that everybody should have free access to basic computer software and therefore I dislike companies that capitalize on software that should make computers accessable to all. (The main culprit here is MicroSoft)
I support free operating systems and software for home use and general purpose use. I also believe that companies that need specialized software that are used to produce their income with should pay for that software, as it is part of the companies specific toolset..
I was born and raised in a South African town called Malmesbury. The town is located about 60 km north-west of Cape Town in the Western Cape Province.
Malmesbury is the center of an area called the Swartland (Black land). The name was given to the area by the Dutch settlers because the natural vegetation (Renosterbos - Elytropappus rhinocerotis) made the fields look black.
The Swartland is a big contributor to South African wheat and wine industry. Malmesbury revolves mainly around the wheat and wine industry. The town has it's own co-operative winery that produces wine of high quality.
Malmesbury was also the starting point of one of the largest food companies in South Africa, Bokomo. A wheat mill, bakery and animal feed factory is located in Malmesbury. (Both my parents worked there for a long time)
So, I grew up in the midst of bread and wine... This probably explains my size and love for wine. :-)
I attended the Swartland Elementary school and Swartland High school. While I was still in High school, I joined the school's computer club. At first we only had an Apple II that stood in a dusty old store room. (there could only fit about 4 people in the room at a time).
Later the school obtained two IBM compatible PC's. They had no Hard drive, only two 5.5' floppy drives. We programmed in BASIC and TruBASIC.
This is where the geek in me woke up! I was hooked on computers. (More detail on my history with computers here)
After I matriculated, I joined the South African Air Force as a weapons technician thinking that I could combine my interests in computers and weapons by working on the computers of missile systems. (Go here for information on my time in the SAAF) It did not turn out that way, so I started to study computer science at UNISA while I was serving in the SAAF.
In 1998 I resigned from the SAAF and joined a local Infotel company called ATIO. At that stage ATIO was growing fast and was doing business in a variety of fields within the telecommunications industry. The main product was a Callcentre system. I worked in the Telekomms branch and we focused on TMN (Telecommunications Management Networks)
I was part of the software development team. We worked on some interesting projects and the people that I worked with was a great bunch. I met some good friends there.
Then, in 2000, I switched employers and started to work for Dimension Data. Funny thing was, that I continued to do exactly the same job, as DiData and HP took over the project that I was working on at the time. Two of my colleguages and friends also kept on working on the same project, but they worked for HP.
Interesting how the things work out. :-)
Then, in 2002, ATIO Corporation hired me back. This time I switched focus, as I am now working on callcentre software. The interesting thing is that the client stayed the same. My main project on the callcentre software is for the same client that we did the TMN system for. Telecomms is a small place for me. :-)
So, that is my life story up to now in a nutshell.
I work in C, C++, Pascal (Delphi, Kylix), Perl, PHP, Oracle PL/SQL and shell scripting. I had to touch VB for a project at work, but I try to avoid that. It is like when your sewerage pipe at home gets a blockage. You put on rubber gloves, a gas mask, very old clothes and you go in there and open up the thing. Afterwards you take a Dettol bath and 3 showers to get clean. That is how I feel about VB. :-)
I have worked on HP-UX, Solaris, Linux and Windows. Again, I prefer not to work on Windows, but unfortunately I have to. Fortunately I discovered cygwin, so now, if you leave me alone long enough at a Windows box, it will run Windows Commander, bash terminals, a X server, NEdit and anything else that makes your life easy. (Like grep, awk. less, real telnet, etc)
For Windows development, I prefer to use Borland C++ Builder.
I have worked on Oracle and PostgreSQL databases. Oracle on HP-UX and Linux for work projects and PostgreSQL on Linux for a private project.
I subscribe to a few mailing Lists. The most active ones are the GLUG, CLUG and SuSE mailing lists. The mailing lists can become quite interesting, especially if you meet the people. I have met some good friends through the meetings.
I spend a lot of time downloading new Linux distros and trying them out. I also try all kinds of new software that I find. I use VMWare to install new distro's and try out new software, otherwise my workstation would have been an even bigger mess than it already is.
One of the reasons that I like Linux, it it's robustness. If I did the things to a Windows box that I do with my Linux workstation, I would have re-installed everything a few times already. The last time I installed Linux from scratch on my workstation, was when I switched from RedHat to SuSE.
I added a new drive to my machine, but installed the new drive as primary master, and moved the existing drive to secondary master. So, now RedHat was on the secondary drive and not he primary anymore. Before I shut down RedHat to install the new drive, I made a few changes to to the fstab and after I installed SuSE on the new drive, I updated the boot loader and I could boot RedHat again. RedHat came up without any complaints. (Try that with Windows!)
Then I had the dual boot between RedHat and SuSE for a while, until I had all my custom settings merged from RedHat to SuSE. For most applications, I only copied my old configuration files over and started the application. It continues as if nothing has changed from the last time that I ran it on RedHat. I don't know if you can do that on Windows?
Want a set of Linux CD's?
I can get you a set of most current Distro's. (even a nice label on the CD too) Just contact me. Al I want in return is replacement blank CD's or the cost of it. I will even snail-mail them to you if you cannot collect it from me.
So, there you have it. Anything more you want to know, ask me. :-)