About Dale

My interest in computers started around 1986 with an Apple IIc at home, though some of my friends had Atari 800 or ST models.  My Middle School (Jr High) had Commodore 64/128 and my Highschool had Apple Mac II’s and Quadra’s. 

What actually got me interested in computers was my neighbor across the street.  He was a programmer and his employer had recently upgraded his work computer from a 386 to a 486 Intel CPU.  It was the fastest Intel CPU at that time.  This was around 1987,88.  He was one of the many programmers that designed the Flight Simulators for the US Government.  I spent a lot of time at his house playing games on the computer and watching him create various parts of the simulator software.

My parents noticed that I had a keen interest in his computer more so than I did for the one at home or the ones at school.  They made an agreement with me where if I maintained a certain level of grades for my Freshman year of Highschool, they would buy me a Intel based computer.  Needless to say they bought me a computer upon completing my Freshman year.

I learned our school district had a Vocational School a couple minutes from the highschool.  They offered a Computer Repair Class, which was a 2 year course.  My parents agreed that it was a good course to take, so I began in my Junior year and completed it in my Senior year. 

I was also old enough to get a job, so I started working at a Babbage's Software store in a local shopping mall.  As a customer, I would help other customers with deciding on what to buy.  The manager eventually took notice and jokingly said “You should work here considering how much you are helping people”.  I asked him if they were hiring and was quickly employed there.  With the money I earned, I built my first computer sometime in 1992.  I gave the computer my parents bought me to them and taught them how to use it.  I learned about BBS’s (Bulletin Board Systems) where you connect using a telephone line and modem.  My Vocational school had one and began working on it, though due to the restrictions over what I could do.  I started my own in November of 1992 called The Edge of Insanity.  I ran it for 7 years, it quickly grew into quite a system.  It consisted of two computers, a couple CDrom changers, 4 phone lines along with a 128Kbps ISDN line.  I changed jobs and started doing custom building of computers for a year until the company decided to move to a different state.  That is when I started my IT career, it lasted 7 years.  During that time I started attending some local computer related special interest groups.

That started my journey into Linux.  I had already used DOS and Windows.  My BBS progressed from using DOS, DESQview (a DOS based multitasking environment), Windows NT and finally on to OS/2.  During one of the meetings I was approached by one of the users of my BBS.  His name was Steve and told me about Linux, specifically Slackware.  So one Saturday afternoon he came over and we installed all 30 or so floppies onto a spare computer.  I think it was a 486 SX 50 with 4 mb of ram and a Cirrus Logic video card.  That was in the fall of 1995.  I remember getting excited the following spring, I found a CDrom disc of Slackware on Walnut Creek.  It was a very popular online software store offering BSD, Linux and other Open Source/Shareware software.

Sometime in 1998 I was transferred to work onsite at one of my employers’ customers due to someone quitting.  I had previously filled in for other onsite people for vacations or would drive to customers that didn’t have an onsite contract.  It was at this customer that I met their SunOS/Solaris Administrator.  I told him about Linux which he had only heard about.  In return he told me about the BSD family of operating systems.  They are direct descendants of Unix that was created by AT&T’s Bell Labs.  I began to explore the world of BSD.  In ‘99 I started a short lived web hosting side business using OpenBSD literally inside of a closet of a spare bedroom, that was also used as an office.  I hosted my own DNS, Mail Server and Apache Web Server.  I also briefly offered Dial-Up PPP access using the phone lines that the BBS previously used.  In 2002 I moved it to a Co-Location facility nearby with a new 1U rackmount server.  The server only had customer support for either Debian or Suse Linux, I randomly chose Debian.  In 2003 due to a merger of my employer and another company I was laid off.  I’ve had various jobs since then like Building maintenance (using floor machines and cleaning windows), DirecTV installer, Forklift operator in a warehouse, and my current profession of a Commercial Truck driver. 

While using Slackware I used many Window Managers.  Like CDE, FVWM95, IceWM, Window Maker, Enlightenment and Blackbox/Openbox (Openbox was based on Blackbox).   I moved to Redhat 5 with Gnome and used it for a while.  Mandrake was my next distro since it was originally based on Redhat 5 and one of the first to use KDE.  I used that for quite some time.  Because of my previous experience using Debian as a server, I tried it many times as my desktop OS.  Which only made me frustrated with their ‘only Open Source’ approach to the software.  I was still learning how to use Linux so I was not aware of being able to download and compile my own software.  Once I learned how, Debian became my distro of choice.  Which is about the same time I started using Xfce.  I was kind of late to the Canonical Ubuntu bandwagon.  I didn’t try it until version 10.04 and didn’t switch to it until 12.04.  Coming from Debian Xfce, Ubuntu with Unity was quite a new experience.  I continued to use Ubuntu until they reverted to Gnome.  At that time I switched to Kubuntu using the new Plasma 5.

Since then I have used Solus (Budgie and Plasma), MX Linux, KDE Neon, Mint Cinnamon and a brief couple months on Manjaro Plasma..  I am currently using Pop!_OS, though that subject to change.

I was a subscriber to the Distrohoppers’ Digest podcast.  Moss and Tony would ask for anyone to contribute a review.  Well, after about 15 episodes I decided to contribute a review on Solus Plasma, that I was currently using.  After sending them a few more reviews, I was surprised to be invited to join the team. 

Since then I have started blogging on It’s Moss https://itsmoss.com/ and I also have created my own personal blog The Linux Traveler at https://thelinuxtraveler.blog/ .

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