Yet Another SysAdmin

My Linux and BSD Story

Before FOSS

In the beginning there was… No, not gonna start like that.

As most of you, I started with Windows back in the 90’s. Windows 98 was all the rage back then and I really did not care a lot about understanding the system I use better. Gaming, after all, was my introduction to computers in generel.
Actually, gaming was introduced into my life in the form of consoles like the NES and SNES… but that is a story for another time.

The spark that really set of the entire computing fascination though came early - when we got a DSL connection. A young person like me truly had all the world in front of him… it was quite overwhelming. (Although the Internet of old was quite different from what it is now - sadly)

For the first years, I was running Windows in one form or the other. From Windows 98 (SE) all the way to Windows 7 - which I have very fond memories of.

That is what it was: Gaming and surfing the web… and of course being showered with multimedia content from sites like YouTube later on etc..

Linux entered the chat

Back in 2009 I found a Forum post about someone mentioning Arch Linux. Having dabbled with the idea of running Linux in a VM I quickly downloaded the ISO and began my first steps with this alien OS called Linux.

I did not know anything at all, nothing… but I was hooked instantly. This also was back when Arch Linux had the AIF installer (Who remembers that ncurses based installer?). I installed it, slapped Fluxbox onto it and installed pretty much anything that pacman had to offer - it was wild!

Coming from the Windows world it was so unusual to just install all the applications you need by issuing one command on the shell. My mind was blown!

In the same year I also found two of my most beloved Linux distros:
Debian and Slackware.

I’ve ran Linux on anything I owned and fiddled way too much with any config file I could find.
Fun fact: The thing is that I never borked my install to the point that they were FUBAR (Yet).

For years I’ve ran my NAS with Slackware - which ran like a champ!

I did entirely too much distro hopping and tried any WM/DE under the sun. It was truly exciting. Development was much easier, the system was faster and I had a lot to learn.

And then…

BSD came along

Yes, BSD came into the picture at around 2009 as well.
It was OpenBSD that captured my imagination. The whole system and it’s amazing documentation truly fascinated me - to this day!
I still remember downloading the 4.5 (Games) ISO from the website and installing it on my ThinkPad R500. It worked smooth as butter. The layout, the man pages, the excellent FAQ - it was all great.
And then FreeBSD followed suite shortly after.
The experience was different from OpenBSD but in a good way. FreeBSD is more on the “do-it-yourself” side. This means you will start with a minimal base system and build everything from the ground up - this felt quite like a fresh Arch install.
For a developer BSD also made a lot of sense. The code was/is clean and easy to follow for the most part. GNU code tends to be way more complex since it targets many more edge cases. The communities are stronger than ever. May it be on Mastodon, IRC or Matrix, you can find BSD folks anywhere.


I run Linux and BSD all the time. In my homelab as well as at work to some extent.

I have settled with Arch Linux and Debian on the Linux side and FreeBSD / OpenBSD on the BSD side.

From webhosting to specialized use cases - they are both all over the place in my life.
As a matter of fact I type this very article sitting on my Debian workstation right now.

Final words

You may or may not like Linux/BSD and that is fine.
For me personally it was true enlightenment having fun with both.
It teached me so much that I can’t even count the things I learned along the way. It was also always present in my career as a sysadmin.

Enough babbling for now, let me get back to doing some work.

Last but not least…

Stay Open!

#Debian #Openbsd #Freebsd #Linux #Archlinux