With a programming history going back to the ancient arts of 6502 Machine Code, I have a long and sordid trail of code under my belt. I cut my teeth on databases in the dBase II days, wrote applications in Clipper (the Summer '87 edition), and played with 20 million rows in an SPSS research database.

While I'm an experienced programmer and currently self-employed (since 1999) as an IT Trouble-Shooter, I'm relatively new to Ubuntu - well, in as far as that I installed it first on a client's machine in June 2006, and on my own machine in October 2006. Before that I had been running Debian Testing since Testing was available (December 2000), before that a year's worth of Unstable, and a few months of Stable.

Initially I toyed around with SUSE, RedHat, but fell in love with dpkg, apt and dselect.


Since January 2003 my wife and I have been travelling around Australia. With the Internet as a large part of my business, I needed to have a way to stay on-line. After much research I settled on a 2.0m satellite dish to connect me with a vSat terminal to the Optus B3 satellite, allowing me to have broadband wherever I am.

My location varies regularly. Setting up used to be an affair that took several hours, but now with a smaller dish (1.2m) and a bigger transmitter (2 Watt), I have been able to start sending email half an hour after arriving.

We've been on a stop-over in Yokine in Perth since 2007, but our travel plans are brewing.

Contributing to the Community

In 1990 I was introduced to the Internet. It has given me most of my technical information since. In 2002 I decided that I wanted to return some of the gifts the Internet provided back to the wider community. As a result I am now travelling the country-side to share my skills and hopefully leave some benefit behind.

I've spent a week in a tiny school with less than 30 students teaching about web sites. Conducted a Community FixIT day in Geraldton, supported the 2003 World Solar Challenge as logistics for the West Australian Sungroper team and built a community web site for the town of Millmerran.

Recently I was dissatisfied with the reach of my contributions back to the Internet, so I decided I would attempt another method. In the past I have contributed to other groups like Perth Linux User Group (PLUG), ##php on freenode, West Australian Macintosh User Group (WAMUG), Debian, php.faqts and slashdot.

The biggest challenge with most of those communities is the one-way nature of the interaction. It's give-give-give most of the time. (The exception thus far has been ##php, where I've met some peers who are willing to engage in peer discussion.)

I started lodging bugs in Ubuntu as a way to say thanks for building a great distribution. I looked around for parts where I could contribute, so I started updating bugs on Launchpad, and in an IRC session on #ubuntu came across a user who had a problem with dosfsck. This started me on a path to determine what such a mature application caused grief, 14 years after the first code was written. One of my first contributions was to tag bugs that appeared to be caused by dosfsck and categorise the bugs.

I hope that my interaction with Ubuntu is a two-way street, and thus far it has proven so. My exchanges with peers has been rewarding and I hope they feel the same about their interactions with me.

I should point out that my workload - being self-employed - has been such that I've not made nearly as much contribution as I have wanted to, but Ubuntu is never far from my mind and I continue to work in the background, even if my visible contributions are not there of late.


I am an experienced IT professional. I work hard, spend many hours every day doing R&D, but my IT existence is pretty insular. I aim to become more connected to my peers.

As a secondary aim, I want to contribute in a meaningful way back to the Internet community what I received from them since 1990.


OnnoBenschop (last edited 2010-10-13 22:18:07 by CPE-124-178-147-170)