User:Alan D. Salewski

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Name: Alan D. Salewski email:


Alan's first Unix machines were Solaris boxes; one of which he accessed via a student account at St. Joseph's University (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA) between 1996 and 1998, and the other by his employer (at the time) Light Media Interactive (Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, USA) in the spring though fall of 1997. He was given the root password to the latter (which he had no business using at the time) and was introduced to various Unix shells and general exploration of the machine by the lead developer's sharing of his shell account. That same developer lent Alan his copies of _Essential System Administration_ by Æleen Frisch and _TCP/IP Network Administration_ by Craig Hunt (both published by O'Reilly), which he devoured and then purchased his own copies. Amongst the various other things for which Alan was unqualified for but tasked with nonetheless (such are the challenges, opportunities, freedom, and excitement of working at a startup) was learning to program in Java (then a hot new language promoted by Sun Microsystems).

Those experiences naturally lead to lurking on Usenet groups to discussions related to various flavors of Unixen and programming languages. Inspired by Steven Levy's _Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution_, Daniel Crevier's _AI: The Tumultuous History of the Search for Artificial Intelligence_, and Marvin Minsky's _The Society of Mind_, Alan also became interested in both C and Lisp programming, and at the time GNU/Linux was (and still is) the best platform to obtain tools and documentation for both.

Alan's first GNU/Linux was a shrink-wrapped RedHat 5.0 distribution (circa 1997) obtained via mail order, on the advice of folks on Usenet as the best way to get his own Unix on PC hardware. After studying the installation manual and planning out his approach, he was able to turn his father's Windows95 machine into a setup dual-booting into Linux (without losing any of his father's data -- a real personal victory for him at the time). This provided a stable GNU/Linux environment in which to work, and was also the beginning of Alan's distaste for rebooting his workstation (which, of course, he never does these days).

Alan loved the control he was able to (eventually) obtain by spending time RTFM (and when that failed, RTFC(ode)). Each layer peeled away revealed answers and provided understanding -- and also many new questions! There were no mysteries that could not be understood with adequate motivation to learn. The experience was exhilarating, and began his love affair with *nix that continues to this day.

Alan is interested in software languages, software design, distributed system design, and everything that is interesting ;-) He is interested not only in programming *nix machines, but also in administering them (and the networks through which they connect) well.

Since graduating with a B.A. in English in the spring of 1998, Alan's professional career has been in software development: early on as a programmer, then as a technical lead, then later as a software architect. These days, Alan's role as Chief Architect at Regulatory DataCorp ( keeps him busy with a steady stream, nay, fire hose, of both technical and non-technical challenges, and he likes it that way (though he likes the technical challenges more ;-).

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