Stairway to heaven
It's quite ironic. I spent much of my time last year
playing with Berlin, preaching the coming of the GUI
developers' messiah.... Skipping classes to catch up on my
Debian E-Mail... Generally being a groupie. A newbie groupie
at that. I can't honestly say that I ever truly made a
significant contribution to either project, but both
combined have helped me become what I am today: a unixhead
in the software industry.
I and a friend of mine, Dave, always share any kind
pure-science-related knowledge we happen upon; both of us
love anything from any field (math, chem, physics, comp sci)
that stimulates thinking. You would often find I and Dave in
the study lounge at 4 AM the morning before a big test,
sitting behind our books as though to study, but rambling on
about various algorithms, new emerging fields of science,
physical phenomena, philosophy, you name it..
Well, Dave turned out to be interested in computer
science (he's a physics major; funny, I'm a compE major
interested in physics) so I began preaching the
savior-of-the-world, CORBA, to him, and drew him some ugly
flowcharts of what happens inside Berlin, to the best of my
knowledge at the time (considering I have never really taken
enough time to grok any of graydon's/stefan's code to my own
satisfaction). The idea sounds really great, especially on
Well, he hit me with a hard question. I had a
time explaining CORBA (the telltale of deficient
understanding), so I fell back on how Berlin eliminates
on various widget APIs with a stub library... That he was
contented with. Then I proceeded to explain common paradigms
(pixel-oriented displays) vs fresco-style vector graphics.
After this I showed him a cool demonstration of the first DR
of Berlin's second incarnation: three buttons that, however
you transform them, just magically intercept events.
His question was: why? Doesn't X do translations
relatively well? Who cares if you can zoom/rotate/skew an
application's image, embed one within another, et al if the
cycle cost is so high? I couldn't think of an answer at the
time; that's when I decided I was being a groupie.
I've since figured things out a little better.
Since first quarter, I've been relatively inactive on
lists, and even more inactive in the goings-on;
either get involved or stop wasting time, I told myself.
Dave and I kept discussing anything and everything when we
should have been studying (He still got A's; it was never
quite so easy for me). Quantum computing, physical
simulations, et al.
[time warp] a few weeks before the end of the school
year, a professor of mine contacted me with a job offer. I'm
working for him now, being paid to administer servers,
construct a cluster (just one for now, this is a startup;
more later), learn MPI and study just about any new scalable
parallel application. I love this field, and what's even
better we're going to be doing lots of algorithm research in
the field of physics. Dave is signing on to help (as a new
brain to pick at), and I believe that much of our code will
For anyone who has read this far, what I'm trying to
is convey both my thanks and my apology. My thanks for
putting up with me and infusing me with interest in these
fields, answering my questions when I had them. My apologies
for leeching, scantly returning the favor. You will hear
from me on some kind of basis in both debian and Berlin, but
I am not sure of my future participation; everything depends