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Welcome to the Slackware Documentation Project

Welcome Internauta

Who

Welcome to my humble page. I'm Prof. Dr. Ruben Carlo Benante, aka, Dr. Bèco., and I teach in a brasilian institution courses related to computer science.

My interests are, of course, Linux and Operating Systems (as well), but my main research area is Artificial Inteligence. I also happens to have a keen interest in areas related to usability and education, bringing knowledge to easy the pass of time to those who are like me living through life searching intriguing and curious things to do.

Why

I have been contributing to Linux and other open source projects all along, since I was a young student in my bachelor years of Computer Science degree. My very first distro installed, from tens of floppy disks, was Slackware, in the end of 1997, if memory serves me well.

It was a disastrous experience, lots of broken drivers, the video card wouldn't boot, my printer woudn't print, my keyboard wouldn't type, and even so, or because of it, I felt delighted, I felt the power of having the computer back in my hands as I never had before.

Those who used 8 bits (Z80) processors and CP/M D.O.S. (disk operating systems) with embedded BASIC language, remember how we had such power to do whatever we wanted with every single bit of the RAM memory. That kind of power was taken away, day by day, version by version, from the main stream operating system at the time, and we saw more and more how we moved away from user to commodity.

Linux, and Slackware at the time, brought it back, and I would never forget. It was a quick experience with Slackware, not a whole year, and then I moved to other more user-friendly distros.

How

How I came here, from 1997 to 2021, is a long history. A long history that I share with many good friends during the university days, during my master dissertation (from 1999 to 2001) and during my Ph.D. thesis (from 2002 to 2008).

At that time there was not much of a choice, and none of them could be called user-friendly. They are more like user-tolerable. I moved to RPM based distros, and I was able to finish my master degree using SuSE Linux, dual boot at the time.

It was only in 2001 that I finally decided to move completely to Linux, and I removed my dual boot. I made my Ph.D partially in SuSE, partially in Conectiva/Mandriva/Mandrake, and then I moved to Debian. I tried Ubuntu and Kubuntu briefly, but I was looking for something more in the origins of the Linux tree.

I stayed in Debian most of my time, until they pushed upon us that SystemD with its promises. I didn't like it the moment I needed to set a cronjob and I didn't like it how it was forced from upstream. I tried Devuan and it didn't went very well.

Then I remembered my beloved first distro ever, and I decided to take a look at it, how it was doing during the years.

I'm not gonna lie, I'm a bit sad to say it stayed frozen on time. A too rigid decision management, a lack of a package manager (altough there are third parties there that are great, i'm using slackbuilds and sbotools myself).

Version 15.0 is comming, and I guess the best news would be a great integration for packager management, dependency checking, and a more malleable decision management at the top.

On the other hand, we never know, but I may be grateful that it is the way it is until today, and I had the fortune and time to check back Slackware in 2021, twenty four years after I first got in contact with it, and it was just there, the way I remember, waiting for me, waiting to give me my power back.

You

It's been quite a journey in the Linux world. I don't regreat a single bit the way I decided to take care of my digital life. I never got any viruses, nor used any antivirus in my entire Linux career, and I was able to keep working and using old machines that would be dead if they followed the mainstream.

I hacked my own drivers, I configured my X and I wrote my own screen resolutions. I brought to life a USB webcam with no driver, I printed tests to my students using LaTeX with printers linked to manual spools, with CUPS on localhost, with wifi in recent years.

I used two screens in my computers before it was considered cool, with screen command. I was able to drag and drop things from one screen to another, to astonish my dear friends who used other operating systems. I read my mail with mail, and alpine and mutt. I browsend (or dig) gopher.

I stayed long nights in the laboratory, communicating with a serial port to a robotic arm to let it serve beer and play chess. I developed my own chess engine Xadreco, even before university, when I was still a kid, and I trademarked it and carried it with me all those years, from different operating systems, different-sized bus architectures, different medias and graphics and all you can imagine, from recording cassete tapes to 5,1/4 disks, to 3.5 floppies, to CD's and DVD's and finally USB sticks and flash drives, hard drives, SSD's…

I wrote a MBR and I booted a computer to say hello world and nothing else, just for the sake of it. Just to be the owner of PID 1 once.

I learned HTML and Markdown and now I'm learning Wiki Syntax. I created my own website, git repository, SSH server, music server, mail server, and I'll not, never again, let any computer giant take away my power.

And I hope I inspired you to do the same.

Welcome to Slackware, <user>!

Where

You can find me in some places. Namely:

Thank you

Thank you for reading all this nonsense. I hope you could have a glampsy of what is a Computer Scientist life. Of course, I ask you to never think you know someone just because you read some pages of their life. Life it much bigger than that. And I never had I chance to talk about my hobbies. Maybe one day we may share a beer and talk about photography, judo, cicling, travelling, and books, many books and this is not an exhaustive list, as you may imagine by now.

Ruben Carlo Benante 2021/11/02 23:12 (UTC)


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