Friday, May 26, 2006

New Job, New Begginings

I've always loved Linux since my last year in college when I discovered
it, and though I used it extensively in my personal endeavours, and
aggressively introduced it anywhere I worked (routers, etc), I'd always
dreamed of working in a Linux and Open Source based company where I can
use Open Source technologies that I've come to know and trust.

Well, up to late last year, I worked at a .NET shop somewhere in
Abeokuta, Ogun State in Nigeria. While I must say, I did some stuff that
others may call cool, I never really enjoyed myself fully (apart from
those few times when I conived with Dan to introduce some Python into
the works ;) or that other time when I worked with Kevin on a BlackBerry
application talking to a PHP webservice... now those were cool). I still
went along with my personal mantra - Real Hackers Hack Back Home At Nite
At What They Love!!!

This year however, all that has changed. January this year, I had an
exciting job offer that I snapped up, not neccessarily b/cos of the pay
(which was indeed higher than my then pay, but not by that much of a
margin), but b/cos of what I'd be doing. To cut the long story short...
I resigned from where I was, and I now work at Leapsoft Limited and I'm
the Lead developer(/engineer?) on Wazobia Linux
( YAY!!!

For me, this has been a PHEW!!! experience. A lot of what I'd done while
playing around on my lappie at nite, I now HAVE to do at work. For
instance, I'd studied Pacman (the package manager that comes with
ArchLinux), and understood how to build a fresh system from that (I even
created a project based on that, targetting small footprint systems (ALE
: Currently at Wazobia Linux, I've
HAD to study the rpm and Anaconda system and I've built something akin
to what ALE did, that we now use to automate our distro building
process. Cutting Long to short - its damn exciting!!!

The other thing that keeps triping me, is that finally, i'm having to
build solutions on Open Source technologies for a Living (and I'm
getting paid to do it). All the *l337* stuff I used to play around with,
I now have to do them on a deadline, and I've finding out ways to master
my tools better, and work even faster.

This brings me to my main gripe about Windows... I don't hate
Windows/M$ technologies... NO!!! What I hate is that they're not
mallaeble (well, they're mallaeble to an extent, but this don't come
cheap!). Alot of the information and resources you need to turn your m$
tool into what you want, and not neccessarily what the creators foresaw,
is almost too steep to go after seriously. Infact, its soo steep that a
lot of very inquisitive ppl just dumb themselves down and say "Is it
worth the struggle?" after trying for a while.

I've had friends who back in second year at college, we used to all play
around with computers, thinking how cool it would be to do this, and
that and the other, if we only found out how, and a lot of them stopped
having fun with their systems a long time ago. I'm not refering to
gaming fun, or watching movies :) that still happens, I'm talking of the
raw fun you have when you've just pulled off one *crazy* hack on your
system. On Linux and other opensource related technologies/platforms,
inquisitive guys like me basically have information overload. With or
without money to buy good books (like we used to be back in school), its
possible to scrounge round, raise a buck, go to a cyber cafe and
download from, print and go back to your system. That was the
joy of discovering Linux for me. I COULD RESUME PLAY. Today, I'm lucky
to be working on this kind of project day in day out.

Ofcourse, the software industry is in a serious state of flux now.
Microsoft announcing 3 betas, Google growing bigger, Linux systems no
more just toys, the web undergoing the rennaissance of immense
proportions, its going to be interesting to see how all these play out
in a couple of years, but i personally believe OpenSource will keep
getting stronger overtime. I don't think its 100m sprint, I think its
more like a Marathon or a Cross Country race.



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