Jan, Student aus Hannover
Jan was looking for tickets at the LinuxTag website, when he discovered the LinuxTag Scholarship. He described in his application: As a student of Hochschule Hannover he had to pay enrollment fees until last semester, so being short of money is a topic for him. Since he experienced a similar support to the LinuxTag Scholarship last year, he hopes to make it happen again - and went for it. Successful: Jan became one of four LinuxTag scholarship holders 2014 given a three days' Full Conference Ticket.
So, who's Jan? The student of 26 years is in his 4th semester. Before studying computer science, he finished an education as aircraft mechanic (Fluggerätemechaniker). "At first I didn't want to go for a computer job", he explains the turn he took, "because I feared to loose the joy. Today I see, that doesn't happen. But I don't regret my mechanical education at all." Currently he works on a software engineering paper about design patterns. Later in studies he wishes to specialize in security (as he twinkles: "Last thing I heard, it looks not that well in this field nowadays").
When he met Linux for the first time around 2002 he was fourteen. With IPCop he built himself a router for his ISDN card. He took off further, trying out all Linux distributions he could find in computer magazines, or buy with his pocket money ("I'm indeed willing to spend money even on free software, given I have some money left", he points out). He stayed with Slackware, which he uses most often until today.
But first, he recalls, he had to live through what every Linux user knows: Difficulties with hardware support. "The X server didn't work. The free driver failed me, and I was not able to install the vendor's driver in the shell. A friend helped me to get everything right. After that, I didn't want to use anything else anymore." When DSL started to be available in his home town around 2006 (which he marks as late), he was unstoppable, as he puts it. "I tried each and every distribution out there: Debian, Suse, Fedora, and so on. They had online installation tools. That was brilliant! Until today I don't understand why that is not possible with Windows."
There came the time when he wished to commit. He was experiencing disturbing details with distributions, but felt it was too late to alter them. Although he still writes updates for Slackware, as he tells, he stayed with Void Linux. "One of the main reasons was that everything is open at Void Linux", he explains. "Every step in the development process is comprehensible. Then, they had only three or four maintainers for over 3000 packages. The Void initiator is very open for suggestions, at the same time critical in a constructive way. Third: Our concepts of cross compiling are quite educated. A lot pf packages can be built from any machine for any architecture. Finally, the package manager of Void is the fastest I've ever seen." Jan currently maintains the packages for Mutt, Notmuch, Ctags, Vnstat and Check. He is also updating other packages, because at Void Linux, project mambers can update foreign packages, as he explains. Some of his C code also went into the package manager.
Besides his studies and his maintainership, Jan is a working student at Hanover data security company praemandatum. He started by helping out with servers, now he developes C++ code and helps with security auditing. The company helps with school education as well, he tells. For example, the company cooperates with a school in Hanover that wants to fix data security and privacy directly in the timetable. One of Jan's jobs is to train people to use git correctly, or to protect their data on the web. But the pic on his Github page, he laughs, does not speak of being a weapon fanboy: Instead, the image comes from the band Iron Maiden.
At LinuxTag, Jan is interested especially in the conference program, looking forward to the 'Security after Snowden' and 'Kernel' tracks. Last year, he tells, he met nice people at LinuxTag with whom he is still in contact. "There is no event where I met more like-minded persons", he says.
Jan, please go mingling and learning as much as you can - welcome to LinuxTag!