My UNIX Adventure Timeline

1984 I was born grunting binary, ugh and ahh. Parents knew no better.

1989 Parents finally realize it was binary and buy me a C64 to conquer Frogger. Fall in love with CLI


1994 Dad brings home a AST Advantage! Plus 486 DX/33. I fall in love with Prodigy and the internet becomes my playground.

1995 Dad buys Windows 95 upgrade and installs on the beloved AST. I throw up in my mouth.

1996 We move to Germany and I get the old computer in my room.

1996 Found a book in the Library about Linux. Included a copy of Yggdrasil Linux, the plug-n-play distribution as it was called. It was about as enjoyable as a punch to the gut. Couldn’t get the thing to load. Spoiled GUI Brat at this point.


1996 Purchased magazine by Mom from Base Exchange that was shooting to be geeky-cool by including Alternative Operating Systems. CD was a Debian 1.1 Buzz install. I had no luck getting my S3 Virge/DX video card into X with anything but VGA. I believe it booted into FVWM.

debian 1.1 buzz.jpg

Late 1996 Yummy! My teeth taste good, or maybe it was the Redhat 4.0 Colgate install I had completed. This was a box set straight from my Base Exchange. I begged my mom to purchase it. This was the number 1 Linux Desktop of 1996 said PC Magazine.

redhat 4 colgate.jpg redhat 4 3.jpg redhat 4 image 2.jpg

1997 Started work for now defunct German ISP Surf1 und Silyn-Tek

1997 The Admins showed us late night help desk personel howto add accounts to the /etc/passwd using vi over telnet. I thought they were amazing people for using the jkli keys to navigate. I had no clue what I was doing. I did know it was Linux. The Admins took me under their wings and gave me the 7 CD SuSE Linux Install and Manuals. I was in love with Yast and for the first time I saw KDE 1.0. All the programs I never could get installed were now on the plethora of CD’s.

suse 5.0.jpg

June 1997 Base Exchange must have had a huge geek working in the Powerzone, found a box set of Redhat 5.2! The installer was pretty nice and the book helped me setup this mythical Apache server and for the first time with redhat-config was able to get a PPP connection to dialup.

redhat 5.2.jpg

1997 The Linux Admins at work made fun of me for using Redhat. I went back to SuSE mainly so I could ask them questions. This didn’t stop me from bumming off work’s killer T1 connection to download Fusion and try out MacOS 7.0.1 and Slackware 3.5. At the end of the day it was back to SuSE.

slackware 3.5.jpg

1999 Another Alternative OS article in Boot Magazine included a copy of Mandrake 6.0 on CD. I jumped up and down when I saw their wonderful ncurses based install. Then to boot and have ALL my hardware work was enough to make me MC Hammer dance in my room.

mandrake 6.0.jpg

1999 Corel Linux was found as I biked my way through Denmark with some good buddies from school. We were just riding around and stopped at a book store. I had read about the file manager in magazines and online. This was supposed to be the pinnacle of Linux Desktop for the year. I cared nothing about this. I could play tetris during the install. That is right. DURING THE INSTALL. It was a good thing because I installed the stupid thing a thousand times.

corel linux.jpg corel linux desktop.jpg

1999 I had always wanted to play with Windows NT on a DEC Alpha (500 MhZ! What the crap that is smoking I thought while reading about them) but couldn’t afford it as a 15 year old. NT Was always out of my grasp until my work had become beta testers for the much hyped NT 5.0. I was on the Microsoft Beta Team! Sweet! Windows NT 5.0 was oddly appealing and tasty

windows 2000 beta.jpg

2000 BeOS 5.0 ships for free in a few techie magazines. I was blown away by the speed and consistency in the enviroment. Nothing I had touched compared to the experince this OS offered. “What do you mean I can query my filesystem?” I played with this one for awhile on a machine. I thought for sure this was going to blow up. I mean it was beautiful AND had a bash shell!

beos 5 disc.jpg beos 5.jpg

2000 Learned about the *BSD World from a newsgroup where the BSD security guy was bashing the crap out of Linux. For a hacker-ish type kid like me I had to know what the next level of geekdom was. I downloaded NetBSD 1.4, OpenBSD 2.7, and FreeBSD 3.5 to play with at school. I installed a DHCP server for the school using OpenBSD which probably is still running in some closet.

netbsd 1.4.jpg openbsd 2.7.jpg freebsd 3.5.jpg

2000 In my binge to learn about more OS, I downloaded something from the original Unix Crew – Plan9. After figuring out how to install the darn thing acme confused me. I could get no real work done. The idea of grid computing perked my ears though. Got me thinking about clusters.


2000 AtheOS was announced online as what the dying Amiga would turn into. I downloaded and was impressed that one dude was pumping out this kind of code. I had high hopes that this would turn into the desktop for the Linux server backend.


2001 SuSE ran a program where they would send box sets for free to schools. As I was working for the school I took advantage of my title. I had been unable to play with SuSE since I left Germany and lost my sugar daddy. They shipped us a huge box full of 7.1 Professional installs. My School Administrators hadn’t a clue what the crap it was. I was back in love with SuSE and forgot about that ugly girl, NT 5.0, I had installed at home. I was taking the pretty girl to prom that year :)

suse 7.1.jpg

2001 Early graduation present from my parents. After lusting for an original Dual-USB iBook, Mom and I rode to Circuit City and bought one. WHAT A BEAUTIFUL LAPTOP! I was intrigued by MacOSX 10.0.3 but quickly installed Yellowdog Linux 2.1 and river danced.

macosx 10.0.jpg yellowdog linux 2.1.jpg

2001 Solaris becomes a free download for x86. All the true UNIX Admins told me this Linux thing would pass and if I ever wanted to be successful I need to learn a REAL UNIX. I downloaded the 3 CDs and tried to do an install. Did anyone play with Solaris 8 on x86 in the early days? In my young age I was smart enough to realize that they didn’t have a fricken clue about where the world was going. Solaris 8 CDE was horrible compared to my beloved GNOME desktop. Solaris 8 was like a bad case of hemroids.

Solaris 8.jpg

2001 I download a warez copy of VMWare Workstation 1.1.2. I start hiding in the newsgroups asking questions and trying to help. I recieve a beta invite. Running Windows in Linux makes me giddy. I begin testing a lot of BOCHS and other emulators and virtualized machines. I find Wabi for Solaris and laugh at those funny Sun guys again. I am running Windows 2000 in my machine instead of 3.1…HA!


2002 I joined the military! I changed my /. signature block to read “Converting the Air Force computers to Linux one at a time.” I had high hopes and was not let down. I was shipped off to MacDill AFB where they were using Squid Proxy servers running Redhat 7.1 albeit very unsuccessfully. I was quickly put in charge of them. I began installing OpenBSD Snort nodes and using linux on my work computer. My conversion didn’t go well and everyone thought I was a freak of geek nature. I was too geeky even for the geeks :)

redhat 7.1.jpg

2002 After getting a great distaste for Redhat 8.0 at work, I quickly downgrade back to Redhat 7.3. At the house I realize that Redhat sucks for desktop usage and find this new fangled Gentoo running around. Compiling from source seemed like fun and would make me even more 1337 Hax0r. I learned very quickly about GCC and what compiling code was like on my Duron 800.

gentoo 1.2.jpg

2004 At this point I had been running Linux for the better part of a decade. I was in the routine of downloading every Linux distro I could find and learning their inards. I also started buying goofy ~arch to learn HP-UX, SGI, and SCO. I had been doing hacking and security for the Air Force and had been introduced to Sidewinder Firewall. At the house I ran OpenBSD for my firewalls and thought I was hot. I started learning about Ubuntu 4.10. From this point on it is all a blur as a flurry of advanced UNIX entered my world. Who cares about the present? It was more fun to find old screenshots of the old world :)

Where are they now?

When I started :: Where it is now

Linux Kernel 1.2.13 :: 2.6.17

Yggdrasil :: GONE

Debian 1.1 :: Debian 3.1 <– You can make your own jokes about Debian release cycles :) Redhat 4.0 :: RHEL 4.0 SuSE 5.0 :: 10.1 Slackware 3.5 :: 11 Mandrake 6.0 :: Mandravia 2006 (12?) Corel Linux 1 :: GONE <– Stupid SCO Windows 3.1 :: Vista <– If it ever ships :) BeOS 5.0 :: Zeta 1.2 Plan 9 :: Semi-gone NetBSD 1.4 :: 3.0 OpenBSD 2.7 :: 4.0 FreeBSD 3.5 :: 6.0 Solaris 8 :: Solaris 10 MacOS 7.0.1 :: MacOS 9.0 <– Moved to X MacOS 10.0.3 :: 10.4 Yellow Dog Linux 2.1 :: 4.1 Gentoo 1.2 :: 2006.1 (3?) Ubuntu 4.10 :: 6.10 KDE 1.0 :: 3.5 Gnome 1.0 :: 2.16 TOTAL TIME : ~11 Years