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Hello - ckester - 24-03-2020
I'm new here but not to Unix.
I've been noodling around with Unix since the 1980's, when I bought a PC with Interactive 386/ix installed on it. I'd been working as a test engineer at an avionics company in the Seattle area and had recently learned C as part of my job there. I loved C and coming to Unix felt like coming home to its natural habitat.
I'm a self-taught programmer, without a CompSci degree, but I've always tried to find and learn from professional journals and books.
Most of the programming I did at that avionics company was on MS-DOS, however, so when my wife and I moved to Illinois ca. 1990 I looked for work where I could program on *nix. Got hired by a company in Chicago that made equipment for transit authorities. I programmed a Xenix-based ticket-vending machine for the PATH system in NYC; I designed it as a set of distinct processes communicating via SysV messages and controlled by a table-based state machine. (I was naive and didn't know that SysV messages had already fallen out of favor. But the state machine proved to be an effective design and I've gone back to that approach several times since then.) Many of those machines were destroyed when the WTC towers were bombed, so thankfully I won't be getting any requests to debug that old software!
Returned to Seattle a few years later and went to work at Microsoft. (Yeah, I know.) But I kept noodling around with Unix at home. Toward the end of my time at Microsoft I managed the customer support team for what was then called Services for Unix (SFU); this was originally developed by a separate company who called it Interix. I had fun porting a lot of open source software to this platform, but MS wouldn't let me publish it because back then they were still chary of copyleft licenses.
I retired from Microsoft in 2005 and purged my home machines of any remaining MS software. Ran FreeBSD for a while and did some port maintenance for them. Unfortunately FreeBSD didn't fully support some of the hardware I wanted to use, so I eventually migrated to Linux despite misgivings about some its design flaws. I have used a few different distros since then, and have recently settled on MX Linux. (No systemd!)
But I should probably revisit the BSD's sometime this year to see if they can meet my needs, because I prefer and trust their design more than Linux.
Anyway, that's me. You might recognize my name from reddit, where I've occasionally posted on topics related to software minimalism and criteria for CLI/TUI programs.
-- Charlie Kester
RE: Hello - venam - 25-03-2020
What a lifelong journey you had!
Welcome to nixers, ckester. I hope we can all learn from your experiences.
RE: Hello - phillbush - 26-03-2020
Wow, such a nice background!
Certainly you'll be very welcome to nixers!
RE: Hello - jkl - 26-03-2020
Finally, a fellow software minimalist. Welcome to nixers and thank you for your work for the SFU. Sad that they replaced it.