Friday, February 6, 2009

How Windows Vista, Digg, and Ubuntu Landed me a Sweet Job

A lot of people criticized Windows Vista when it first came out, and I was one of them. Another large group of people also don't believe there's money in open-source. However for me, the existence (and negatives) of Vista and the awesomeness of Ubuntu landed me a sweet job. How?

Around the time that Vista came out, I was using a laptop with a 1.7GHz Pentiun M processor and 1GB of RAM. I got Vista (Business edition) for free through school so I threw it on. I quickly grew to love the new start menu and many of the improved usability features it had. Unfortunately it ran like CRAP. It was so slow and unusable due to my machine specs that it was unbearable. I couldn't validate purchasing a new laptop at that time since Windows XP ran perfectly fine and really an OS SHOULD be able to run fine on those specs. But I also didn't want to go back to XP and lose the features that I liked from Vista.

Around that same time I was also browsing Digg and noticed a release announcement for this thing called Ubuntu, Feisty Fawn to be precise. Everyone seemed to be raving about it and I thought since it was free, I might as well give it a try and see if IT can run decently on my machine and allow me to do everything I wanted. As it turns out, it ran quite well and either supported everything I wanted out of the box, or was flexible enough to allow me to do it myself! Even better, it shipped and supported the applications I used on Windows but previously had to install and keep up-to-date myself, like Firefox, Thunderbird, and Pidgin.

Over time I started getting more into contributing to Ubuntu, first by finding bug reports matching problems I had and adding more information, then more general bug triaging help via BugSquad. Eventually I joined the BugControl team and also started contributing to projects like Avant Window Navigator (AWN). At one point the bug bot that announces new bugs in #ubuntu-bugs-announce went down so I wrote a new one (EeeBotu) which lives on to this day happily (I presume) announcing bugs. When I heard that community members could be sponsored to the next UDS (Ubuntu Developers Summit) in California, I excitedly applied and even more excitedly was accepted to attend courtesy of Canonical.

Around THIS period of time I had been applying to various jobs, one such job at a fun startup in California, Genius.com. They had recruited at my college, the Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, NY, and had picked some candidates including byself to be flown out for second interviews. Then the downturn in the economy came however, and they decided not to fly anyone out and re-evaluate new hires at a later time.

This was understandable, but I thought that maybe since I was going to be out in California for UDS anyway, they might want to take me up on a free interview. As it turns out they did. I was offered a job, accepted it, and after about a month I can say that it is a pretty sweet job!

So because Vista sucked (at least initially), I gave Ubuntu a try which I heard about on Digg, got involved and was sponsored to attend UDS in California, where I was able to interview at the company I currently work at.

So just remember, there's a positive side to every negative (thanks Microsoft!), and there IS money in open-source, at least indirectly (a huge thanks to Canonical!). Has Digg found a new business model?

In other news, I've joined a pact with 9 other friends to write a blog post a day for a month starting today, so if all goes well you will be hearing many (hopefully) interesting or fun things from me!

4 comments:

pan said...

congrat on your new (sweet) job.Nice...

I never thought this combination of Vista+digg+ubuntu will work this way.

Anonymous said...

Hope you continue to enjoy your new job. It's amazing how a chain events leads to an outcome.

Joel said...

Excellent!! Linux is great. I am using PCLinuxOS, a slightly more 'Windows-XP-ish' distro, until I can get used to Linux as a whole.

Murrquan said...

Have fun with your new job! That was a really inspiring story. And thanks for your work with the bugtracking, and with AWN! I use AWN every day now, it's great ^.^