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December 2009 (#169):

The Back Page

By Ben Okopnik

This month, LG is on hiatus. The main, and most obvious reason is that we're short of good content this month: as has historically been the case for LG, this time of year is a busy one for most people, and article submissions take a back seat (and appropriately so) to family turkey dinners. It would be unreasonable for me to complain... and yet, if we'd had enough quality content submitted over the previous few months, we could have built up a small buffer to carry us over. That has not been the case. In fact, the total number of article submissions has slowly tapered off over the years, to the point where the continued existence of LG now looms as a large question mark in my mind. To continue, or not? To be, or not to be? That, as William Shakespeare wrote, is the question.

Dear readers... we need your input, in more than one way and for a number of reasons. We need to hear your voices - and firing off an email right now, as you're reading this, would not be taken amiss - to know that we have an active readership that wants LG to continue. We need to hear about your commitment to Open Source, about your willingness and desire to contribute to this community, by sharing your experiences with Linux and Free software - by writing about it and submitting articles. We need you to send your Linux-related questions to The Answer Gang so that we can help you and so that we can share that help, those solutions, with our readership.

Because you - you, our readers, our authors, the participants in this process, the people who get involved and passionate and interested - you are the reason for the continuing existence of LG. If you're not there, not involved, and not interested... then LG has outlived its usefulness to the community, and all that's left is to thank everyone who has contributed, publish a wrap-up issue, turn off the lights, and go home. I can only hope that things have not reached that state - and I hope to see those articles, those questions, that commitment to tell me so.

My best wishes to everyone for the holidays - and I hope to see all of you here in the coming year.

Ben 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 169 of Linux Gazette, December 2009