My Linux Story: Sean Ballais

Linux gives me all the tools I need

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Linux is all around us. It's on our phones in the form of Android. It's used on the International Space Station. It provides much of the backbone of the Internet. And yet many people never notice it. Discovering Linux is a rewarding endeavor. Lots of other people have shared their Linux stories on, and now it's my turn.

I still remember when I first discovered Linux in 2008. The person who helped me discover Linux was my father, Socrates Ballais. He was an economics professor here in Tacloban City, Philippines. He was also a technology enthusiast. He taught me a lot about computers and technology, but only advocated using Linux as a fallback operating system in case Windows fails.

My earliest days

Before we had a computer in the home, I was a Windows user. I played games, created documents, and did all the other things kids do with computers. I didn't know what Linux was or what it was used for. The Windows logo was my symbol for a computer.

When we got our first computer, my father installed Linux (Ubuntu 8.04) on it. Being the curious kid I was, I booted into the operating system. I was astonished with the interface. It was beautiful. I found it to be very user friendly. For some time, all I did in Ubuntu was play the bundled games. I would do my school work in Windows.

The first install

Four years later, I decided that I would reinstall Windows on our family computer. Without hesitation, I also decided to install Ubuntu. With that, I had fallen in love with Linux (again). Over time, I became more adept with Ubuntu and would casually advocate its use to my friends. When I got my first laptop, I installed it right away.


Today, Linux is my go-to operating system. When I need to do something on a computer, I do it in Linux. For documents and presentations, I use Microsoft Office via Wine. For my web needs, there's Chrome and Firefox. For email, there's Geary. You can do pretty much everything with Linux.

Most, if not all, of my programming work is done in Linux. The lack of a standard Integrated Development Environment (IDE) like Visual Studio or XCode taught me to be flexible and learn more things as a programmer. Now a text editor and a compiler/interpreter are all I need to start coding. I only use an IDE in cases when it's the best tool for accomplishing a task at hand. I find Linux to be more developer-friendly than Windows. To generalize, Linux gives me all the tools I need to develop software.

Today, I am the co-founder and CTO of a startup called Creatomiv Studios. I use Linux to develop code for the backend server of our latest project, Basyang. I'm also an amateur photographer, and use GIMP and Darktable to edit and manage photos. For communication with my team, I use Telegram.

The beauty of Linux

Many may see Linux as an operating system only for those who love solving complicated problems and working on the command line. Others may see it as a rubbish operating system lacking the support of many companies. However, I see Linux as a thing of beauty and a tool for creation. I love Linux the way it is and hope to see it continue to grow.

About the author

Sean Francis N. Ballais - Hi! I'm Sean. I'm a student in the University of the Philippines. I code for fun and freelance a bit on the side. I've written code that many people used already. I blog to express not impress. I've been coding for nearly 5 years already, and still learning. I code, blog, support open source, read, play (sports and video games), listen, and learn. And apparently still single.