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By Ben Okopnik

I sometimes wonder if all of life isn't a test; some sort of a game in which we get a pat and handshake - once we've left the building - and a hearty "well played, old fellow!" if we've given it our best. Wild guesses and our common human need to imagine immortality for ourselves aside (not that it's not a great conversation, but it would take a few bottles of vodka, Russian-style, and at least a night or two to puzzle it all out), it would all begin to Make Sense - as if life is supposed to do anything that pedestrian.

To bring it all back down to earth, I'm talking about the fact that meaningful events - call them "troubles", or call them "peak experiences", or what have you - rarely come alone; usually, they show up as an entire kit'o'stuff, and we poor humans have to bear up as best we can. The last few months, for example, have been full of noise and trouble and craziness and glory: there have been many upheavals here at LG, when we didn't know whether it would live or die (the question is still somewhat pertinent, and much depends on whether we get more people involved and participating in the process); my wife and I took off cruising on our sailboat, something we'd been planning on for several years; while in the midst of all this, we (just!) had a baby - and the city of Charleston, South Carolina made much of the new arrival since she was born right aboard our boat in a marina owned by the city... it's been an amazing time, but I'm more than ready for things to slow down, just a little. I really, really am. There's such a thing as wild fun, and then there's completely bughouse stark raving mad crazy insane - and lately, I've found myself tapping the dial of the indicator to make sure that it's not stuck in the latter position far too often. If anyone has a spare bit of Zen attitude, please send me an email with that as an attachment...

As regards LG-related matters, we're proud to welcome our new volunteers, writers, and columnists. Dan Bukoskey and Srijon Biswas have joined our proofreading and editorial staff; Anderson Silva has been cranking out some great tech material; Lisa Kachold has been doing stellar work with her security-related columns; and Pete Trbovich joins our humor list with his terrifically funny "Doomed to Obscurity" cartoons. Thank you, one and all, for your great contributions to the Linux community!

In any case, it's late, and I'm off to seek my bed. I need my rest - there are probably more adventures coming!

B. Okopnik

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Ben is the Editor-in-Chief for Linux Gazette and a member of The Answer Gang.

Ben was born in Moscow, Russia in 1962. He became interested in electricity at the tender age of six, promptly demonstrated it by sticking a fork into a socket and starting a fire, and has been falling down technological mineshafts ever since. He has been working with computers since the Elder Days, when they had to be built by soldering parts onto printed circuit boards and programs had to fit into 4k of memory (the recurring nightmares have almost faded, actually.)

His subsequent experiences include creating software in more than two dozen languages, network and database maintenance during the approach of a hurricane, writing articles for publications ranging from sailing magazines to technological journals, and teaching on a variety of topics ranging from Soviet weaponry and IBM hardware repair to Solaris and Linux administration, engineering, and programming. He also has the distinction of setting up the first Linux-based public access network in St. Georges, Bermuda as well as one of the first large-scale Linux-based mail servers in St. Thomas, USVI.

After a seven-year Atlantic/Caribbean cruise under sail and passages up and down the East coast of the US, he is currently anchored in northern Florida. His consulting business presents him with a variety of challenges such as teaching professional advancement courses for Sun Microsystems and providing Open Source solutions for local companies.

His current set of hobbies includes flying, yoga, martial arts, motorcycles, writing, Roman history, and mangling playing with his Ubuntu-based home network, in which he is ably assisted by his wife and son; his Palm Pilot is crammed full of alarms, many of which contain exclamation points.

He has been working with Linux since 1997, and credits it with his complete loss of interest in waging nuclear warfare on parts of the Pacific Northwest.

Copyright © 2009, Ben Okopnik. Released under the Open Publication License unless otherwise noted in the body of the article. Linux Gazette is not produced, sponsored, or endorsed by its prior host, SSC, Inc.

Published in Issue 165 of Linux Gazette, August 2009