Alex, Student aus Münster
Alex is a close college and work friend of another LinuxTag Scholarship holder, Stephan. One evening Stephan gave Alex a phone call. Knowing about his fields of interest (distributed systems and web development), Stephan told Alex about the LinuxTag Scholarship. Alex was sceptical about applying, as he tells afterwards, because he didn't really believe to succeed. But he wished to visit the LinuxTag pretty much. So he tried. And he won. Together with Stephan, Alex became one of four LinuxTag scholarship holders 2014 given a three days' Full Conference Ticket.
So, who is Alex? Student of computer science at University of Münster, 25 years old, 11th semester, shortly before taking off into job life. His special field of interest is distributed systems, the topic he chooses for seminars and his Bachelor thesis. "It is quite fascinating what you achieve with parallel and distributed systems - for example with OpenCL - compared to classical sequential systems", he says. Beside his studies, Alex earns some money as a working student, for example as exercise instructor. But as he describes, after two years of debugging other people's code he got bored about it. He changed jobs, got in contact with web development. He discovered: "Until then, I never took this field of programming very seriously. Now as I am working with it, I discover a broad and interesting market. This counts for today, and even more for the future."
Alex came to Open Source and Linux when he met his first Linux distribution around 2002, when he was thirteen and friend pointed him to Suse Linux. He recalls: "We didn't have internet at this time, so he gave me some installation discs he got from a computer magazine. I really kind of liked it. It was different and I liked to experience something new. But I didn't have my own computer. So it was a short term experience, because my family wasn't familiar with this new system and not open for a change." One year later, when the family got internet, he discovered IRC. He wished to have an IRC-bot running all the time and doing some small tasks. So he decided to rent a Linux shell for seven bucks a month, limited to two processes. Today he says: "It was the discovery of my life. It was not just the first time I met the other side of Linux, the 'dark one' , the terminal/ssh one. It was also the point where I started real coding." Shortly after, he started to help managing real servers. This is what he learned from this experience: "I started to learn the real power of Linux by the terminal. I loved it. I still do, even so I use it with a desktop environment. Some tasks are just faster done from the terminal."
Today, he says, it's not just a hobby anymore, but what he wants to do for work. When he started studying, he installed Ubuntu on the notebook, because he found it less limited than Windows: He loved the idea of more than one workspace especially for coding, and the tools that were available, as he explains. Speaking of coding: Alex adds an extensive, special note about why he is so fascinated by it.
"You can do a lot out of nothing", he puts it. "You can just write ideas down and bring them to life, without money or other stuff that would be difficult or expensive to get. I like it to have the power to make your own and other people's life easier, by nothing but the power of an idea - and your fingers of course! I think without open source, this would not be that easy. I even guess the whole internet would be different today, if there wasn't open source software. It's not just luck that Linux is that widely spread in the server world. It's because it's easy to get, you can use it without paying for it, it's just available to everyone. Without it, I guess, the internet would be more expensive on the provider side. And that would limit spreading content. The same applies to software. Without the open source world it would be impossible to create software for free. A lot of ideas would have failed, just by lack of money."
At LinuxTag, he wishes to improve his coding experience by new ways of how things can easily be deployed from a staging to a live system, and how to setup a server perfectly by using virtual machines, or by outsourcing data. He wishes to learn more about how to organize big projects with other people, manage tasks better or maybe even improve his own way of planning. He choses the 'Pimp the web' track as one of the most interesting: He spends a lot of time with web- and mobile software at the moment. As he tells, that's not to earn a lot of money in the first place, but because he just likes it: "Putting days and weeks of coding something, then seeing the great result. It's a feeling that only creators can understand, I guess."
Alex, with you monile development focus, we hope you gain extra profit from LinuxTag's partner event droidcon. Have a great time!