David Ryan

Authored Content

Authored Comments

Wonderful stories. I'm struggling to remember exactly my first encounter with Linux in general. But I can certainly remember my first conscious use of Linux as a dedicated platform.

And strangely it was because of Microsoft. And would spark enough curiosity that one day I would end up working at Red Hat because of it.

Way back in 2001 I was setting up a new computer in the part of my bedroom that I would optimistically call "the studio". I had the first royalty cheque from some music I had produced and, while it wasn't enough to cover the cost of a new computer, I convinced myself that there'd bre more where that came from.

Like many people upgrading in 2001 I pushed aside a rattling Win95 box and pieced together a system built around the newly released Windows XP. Which came with a file system called NTFS.

I can already feel heads nodding in recognition. Uh oh.

Somehow in the process of setting up the new system and migrating over my data and external drives (and my entire studio data at the time without a backup) I managed to mess up. NTFS was not FAT32 and XP had something to say about formatting partitions. I didn't understand how or what or why, but I'd made some kind of error and was stuck.

I upgraded the "uh oh" to a Scooby-Doo grade "ruh roh".

Pulling out my Nokia (remember Nokia?) I sent an SMS (remember SMS?) to a friend to ask for ideas. One of those ideas was using a bootable operating system to sidestep the Microsoft situation (and my own stupidity) making paperweights out of my shiny new super serious music guy hardware.

That bootable OS was of course Knoppix.

Within the space of 30 minutes I'd fixed the problem. It booted perfectly from a CD-ROM (remember CD-ROM?) and let me take control of my hardware and back up to speed. While I was forced to use XP still, due to music production software back in those days, I kept Knoppix on hand as a solution for problems for years to come.

And continued my open source journey to the point of one day sitting in my chair and wondering exactly how this software that was so good and so free could actually... make money. A decade later I would join Red Hat for a few years and learn exactly.

I love the "miraculously not picking up the phone" comment. Gave me instant flashbacks! What an amazing era to enjoy (and endure).