Sergi Pusˇ Gallart
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I first got interested in computers when my brother and i got our first machine, a mythical Spectrum 48k, after convincing our parents that we needed it both to start learning computer science (a partially true but secondary reason) and for playing computer games (the real reason). From here on we started getting better computers until the PCs era nowadays.

However, I didn't get in touch with the Unix world until I started college in 1995, and with the Linux world until 1998 when doing my End of Career Project. From there on, thanks to my experience at iAgora, i was lucky to start working on Linux for two and a half years, in which i got to learn a lot from my colleagues and specially from Roger Espel, a great master and long-time Unix hacker who is the main responsible for my love of some of the programs mentioned below (mutt, vim, screen...).

In the next few paragraphs I make a summary of the software I find most interesting. It is not necessarily the best and it probably doesn't match your preferences, some pople prefer emacs to vim and so on, but this small sample should at least serve as my personal tribute to these programs which have helped me much throughout the years.

Operating systems: Linux

On the technical side: gorgeous stability, flexibility and configurability. On the ideological side: it's Free Software and a collaborative effort from thousands of people around the world. At first I was mostly interested because of the technical merits, but throughout the years I've come to fully appreciate all the significance of the Open Source and Free Software movements.

Not long ago I would have listed SuSE as my favorite distribution, but currently I can't choose only one, I'd rather admit their strength in each of their segments: Debian because of its stability which makes it so suitable for server environments, and because of its 100% volunteer structure, Ubuntu for current desktop PCs and leading usability efforts, Red Hat as the safest best and the main distribution for professional environments, SuSE as one of the most comprehensive distributions, etc...

Productivity tools

My favorite browser is Firefox, pretty powerful on its own and with thousands of add-ons available if you need more features, for instance the Feed Sidebar for reading RSS feeds containing the newest in my favorite websites. For email I use Mutt, a very customizable text-mode client that lets me use Vim, my favorite text editor, for writing messages.

On the desktop, I like KDE as a windows manager, and I'd like to highlight a couple of its integrated apps: Amarok as a comprehensive music collection manager and Kaffeine as a DVB viewer.

As for programming, I have an unconditional love for Perl as a very powerful and versatile programming language. I must also highlight the Apache web server which is the crown jewel of the Open Source movement. Finally, I'd like to mention WebMake, a neat application that lets you create a website from a bunch of well structured templates, in fact WebMake has been used to create this website.

System Administration tools

For system administration, I must strongly recommend Nagios for network and systems monitoring and the venerable MRTG for gathering traffic stats. OpenSSH is already a classic for remote shell access and has a thousand more features, rsync for efficiently copying and syncronizing big directory trees and screen for getting multiple sessions from a single text console. I would also like to pay a tribute to strace, a tool that is invaluable for getting some information for even the most inexplicable problems, and other classics such as grep or xargs that let you perform some amazing tricks from the command line.
Last updated 4-September-2008

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