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why_unix.html

I want to explain how and why I have came to Unix.

In the beginning there was DOS. Well, not exactly - I had started to use and program computers long before DOS appeared - it were PDP-11, IBM/360. But my first professional programs were written for DOS. From the very beginning I got a habit of writing long complex bat-files to automate many routine tasks I was usually doing. You know, bat-files are very limited, so I struggled and did all my best to overcome their limitations - I downloaded (and wrote myself) tons of tiny programs of all kinds, I used 4DOS (a command.com replacement that could do much more in its btm-files) and TurboBAT (bat-files compiler with a great builtin library of functions, very similar to 4DOS' btm's).

Once a colleague (later a friend) of mine was looking behind my shoulders. He saw my bat-files and tiny programs and said: "Hey, you ARE a unixhead, sure! You just don't know it yet. You must try Linux - I am sure you will be happy!" Only later, much later I touched Linux - but yes, I am almost happy with it. Thank you, Eugene!

In the very end of 1993 having 5 years experience with DOS and Windows I was recruited to RedLab (SunSITE Russia at that time). There I touched Unix (SunOS4) for the first time. It was like a shock. Like a good deal of cold water in the middle of desert.

We were working on a database project, and sometimes 2 or 3 guys ran 3 compilation sessions (sometimes we should recompile Client, Server and CentralServer simultaneously), debuggers (3-6 debuggers!) and XWindows on a very limited machine - Sun SPARC IPX with 64M of memory!

When the project was completed, I was moved to support SAS System for Windows (OLAP Database). It was not a kind of job I liked, so I decided to resign and find a job to learn more Unix. Soon, I found a job at Institute for Commercial Engineering.

In the beginning I was recruited as DOS/Windows/LAN system/network administrator. Few months later, when our LAN started to work right I said to our Unix guru: "I want to know Unix. Teach me, please."

"Very good" - he replied. He reported my wishes to management and... resigned. He found a fool who can replace him, and that was what he wanted!

So I was forced to learn Unix! :)

I started with FreeBSD (actually, with some support from previous sysadmin), then switched to BSD/OS and worked with it for about 2 years. We bought Sun, so I learned Solaris2.

Later I learned Linux, and found it very amusing. I did a few freelance projects, and now I work as a programmer and system/network admin at a few large companies using Linux, Apache, PostgreSQL/MySQL, Python and all that.


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