How did you discover Linux?

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News: How did you discover Linux?

  • Posted January 1st 2017, 9:51 PM

Hey man, I don't know if you'll get a notification that I've left this comment but I hope so since this is such an old post.

I've been following your youtube channel for 5 years at this point, (mostly) silently watching the content you pump out and enjoying it thoroughly. It's been a wild ride seeing how well you've progressed (technically) over those five years, and I can tell that you're at your inflection point of your growth. Things will start moving very fast, very quickly (in a good way) in the coming years, that's for sure.

I want to just let you know who I am and how I found your channel (I just joined the Nerd Club). I really, really don't want any of this to sound like bragging or attention-whoring. I just want to give you a full and accurate picture of who I am (including credentials), and try to describe our similarities (at least as I see them).

I'm a senior full-stack software developer. Throughout my teenagehood, I picked up 9 programming languages and used literally countless linux distros. If you described both of our teenage years' one after the other, they would sound exactly the same. Most of my time growing up was spent in front of a computer of some kind. I started off on Windows (as most people do before their "enlightenment"), and got wind that Linux was good for "hackers" (obviously they weren't talking about, like, neo-esque computer crackers, but I didn't know that and I thought hackers were cool). So, I installed Fedora (just like you did) and (almost) never looked back.

Similar to you, after I got my linux-legs a bit, I went on a tear of distrohopping that lasted a couple of years. Arch (during which I accidentally uninstalled Windows, freeing me from WoW addiction), gentoo, Sabayon, openSuse (back when they had the SuSe Studio which was AWESOME), etc. All of that distrohopping hit my entire family hard, because we were allotted 7GiB a month in internet data (satellite in the country).

I too settled down once I started to have a lot of data I cared about. This was mostly some of the early programs I wrote (I started programming ~15), school documents, etc. (By the way, if you program, imagine learning Haskell as your first language… in retrospect that was a bit of a mistake; one of the better mistakes, but I digress).

It's so crazy that an operating system can have such a profound impact on your life… Most people don't really know what "operating system" means. If you're on a computer a lot, it's literally the heart and soul of what you do though, so it makes sense that it can be impactful. Once you learn about Software Freedom, it's impossible for it to NOT be impactful.

At some point along the way, I founded a blog and a bi-weekly technical podcast (around ~19YO. Still drank for every episode lol) that me and ~4-12 other people from IRC would produce and edit. The only reason I'm mentioning that part of everything is because you do a ton of stuff with media. Throughout life I've been a farmer (both stone fruit (peaches / nectarines) and animals (goats and horses)), library custodian, fisherman (commercial; crabbing on the bay), tutor, and primarily a (closed source, unfortunately) programmer (Rust, C#, F#, Javascript + React, Haskell, Java are my main swings).

If you or any other Nerd Club member EVER needs any help with anything even tangentially related to any of those things, please reach out to me and I'd gladly spend hours or even days working through whatever it is. (P.S: If you have a github link I haven't seen (if you do any programming) I'd love to see it). This website needs an update? I'll gladly help. A nerd club member wants help learning React, or F#, or Rust? I'm on that stuff (word filter got me here). You need a partner for a video, livestream, or content piece? I totally wouldn't mind that either with enough notice.

So, I never plan on NOT watching your content as long as you're making content. I'm so excited to see where you're headed, and in a seemingly quasi-creepy kind of way, it's entertaining  to see similarities between our lives.

Also, a little bit of real talk, I want to commend you for keeping the lights on while having very few subscribers (and almost no active viewership). The Linux Youtube market is almost non-existent (look at the Linux Action Show's numbers), and coming in at the age you did was very respectably brazen.

I know that each and every video you probably record it as if millions will see it, but at some level, in the back of your head you know that very few people will ever have the pleasure (outside of special videos like an Ubuntu video on launch day). Don't let that crush you. The viewers will come. If you keep improving as much as you have been, you could do this as a full time job in a few years if that's what you wanted.

As my final disclaimer (sorry that my introduction was an essay like this post), I was diagnosed with extremely mild autism. It's what used to be  called aspergers (and even weak from the aspergers point-of-view; I live a normal life, surprisingly). I keep thinking I'm "cured" until 10 years pass and I realize that after learning a ton of social etiquette over the previous decade, I was assuredly NOT cured. Anyway, we share an absolute truckload of personality traits.  and interests. Correlation is not causation, but if you have any issues socially it's not something to rule out that you, too, may be somewhere on the far end of the spectrum. It might be something to look into if socialization ever becomes a problem.

Anyway, thanks for reading my counter-essay, and I'm very much looking forward to the future of Nerd on the Street. And never be afraid to ask me for my help in anything you guys need!
Hey Nate, thank you so much for writing all of this out! Wow, 5 years is crazy… a lot of the current viewers only recently discovered NOTS, so it's awesome to see someone who's been around for such a long time.

It was cool to read your origin story, and I really appreciate your offers for help in various areas. I'll be sure to keep them in mind. It's also interesting to hear that you think I'm at an inflection point… I certainly hope so, even though I'm not counting on it. You're absolutely spot-on that I record every video as if millions will see it, even though I know that won't be the case, but I think it's worth it for those who do watch them.

Regarding your question about a GitHub link, I'm jacobgkau on both GitHub and GitLab, but I don't have any public code posted on my profiles. I have done some work on open-source projects a few times (some during my short time with the Missouri S&T Robotics Competition Team and some during the making of my Untrunc video, for example), but I've never gotten a firm enough handle on Git to make everything sync up and appear correctly. I've just gotten the code working and let others, like viewers and teammates, take care of getting it posted back upstream. I'm sure I'll learn at some point, and I'd love to have NOTS personnel help with free & open software development in the future, but I'm personally too busy for hobby programming right now.

I'm not going to discuss my own mental health in public on the internet right now, but thanks for your concern.

Thank you very much for joining the Nerd Club as well, and I hope you continue to enjoy the videos. You're always welcome here on the NOTS website if you want to talk about Linux and other free software!
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