Recently connect.opensuse.org, the openSUSE member directory and social site was shut down. You can read more about the reasons on openSUSE News. I also had my profile on the site, listing many of the things I worked on during the past two and a half decades. Reading it was quite a trip down the memory lane. It also reminded me, how the name changed over the years. Did you know that SUSE was originally an acronym for Software- und System-Entwicklung? This is why the original name is S.u.S.E.
- S.u.S.E. user from 1996, starting with version 4.3 (4.2 was the first “real” release)
- wrote a couple of articles about S.u.S.E. Linux in various Hungarian magazines
- became a S.u.S.E. beta tester when beta releases were sent by post on a pile of CD-s
- was part of the openSUSE tester team and still have a wonderful t-shirt somewhere
- did lots of PowerPC testing and fixing while working at Genesi
- compiled PowerPC packages for Packman
- became an openSUSE ambassador for Hungary, organizing events, spreading the word at conferences
- worked on the ARM port of openSUSE using hardware from Genesi
- became syslog-ng package co-maintainer and later maintainer
As also mentioned in an opensource.com article, I started using Linux in 1994 during my first year of university. I tried quite a few distributions, but when I discovered my /etc/passwd file printed in the Russian student’s computer lab, I quickly installed Jurix a rolling Linux distro, which was among the firsts to feature shadow passwords. These foreign students were constantly attacking our servers, but as they were paying students, they could not be punished. They even tried to bribe me with a counterfeit game CD to get an account. Thanks to them I shifted my focus to IT security. Using a distro with a strong focus on security was important. When the maintainer of Jurix joined S.u.S.E. and helped to roll out their first own Linux distro based on Jurix, S.u.S.E. Linux 4.2 (their earlier releases were simply Slackware with German localization), it was a logical next step to try it.
When I asked for a review copy, instead of 4.2 I received an early beta of the 4.3 release. I did not only write an article for the Hungarian edition of CHIP magazine, but also provided feedback for S.u.S.E. and even gave some ideas how to work around some problems. This resulted in a good relationship both with marketing and product departments of S.u.S.E. I became a beta tester, receiving CDs and providing feedback by e-mail. I was trying to persuade them for years to install Bugzilla. First they introduced it internally, and later I also got access. Of course I also kept writing articles about various S.u.S.E. and later SuSE and SUSE releases.
I am an open source maniac, but I am not religious about it. I truly enjoyed that SUSE Linux also made many closed source applications or applications with proprietary licenses easily available. And the SUSE Linux kernel contained lots of non-mainline code making sure, that even cutting-edge devices work. Sometimes devices under S.u.S.E. Linux worked even better than under Windows, like my TV tuner card. The change to openSUSE was a kind of shock for me. Luckily it worked out nicely in the end. Installing the “problematic” (not fully open source) applications is still possible, even if it requires enabling an extra repository. And maintaining out of tree code became more and more difficult as the speed of Linux kernel development grew. Sticking more to main-line helped to free up resources.
Once SUSE Linux turned into openSUSE I became part of the openSUSE testing team. My focus at that time was the PowerPC platform, but I double checked everything on x86 to figure out if a bug is PowerPC specific or generic. I still have a nice t-shirt from those times. I do not wear it often any more to make sure that it does not completely wither.
A few years later I also became an openSUSE ambassador. I organized release events in Hungary, spread the word at conferences, giving talks, maintaining the openSUSE booth. I still maintain the Hungarian openSUSE facebook page, but for the past 1.5 years there were no in person events at all.
Today I work at Balabit (now officially called One Identity Hungary), the home of syslog-ng. One of my first tasks was to help Linux distros and FreeBSD to keep the syslog-ng package up-to-date. First I became a co-maintainer of the syslog-ng package in openSUSE, later I became the maintainer.
For the past 25 years I had S.u.S.E. Linux, SuSE, SUSE and openSUSE running on my desktops most of the time. The only few exceptions were when I received a new laptop and it was not supported openSUSE Leap due to using old kernels. There were two short periods, but I quickly changed back to openSUSE as soon as a major new Leap release came out with an up-to-date kernel.
What is next
I mentioned ARM and PowerPC a few times in my blog. I guess that my work at Genesi is worth a separate blog :-) But if you are curious, you can already read two of my related articles: