In the mid-90s, I became obsessed with Linux. I had fallen out of love with Windows, briefly experimented with OS/2, and was eventually introduced to Linux by a friend. It was early days, Slackware was the distribution of choice, and I frankly did not know what I was doing. I introduced it to people by telling them that it was “like DOS, but multitasking like Windows”. Yeah, not the best selling point but better than trying to explain FVWM.
Over time, I became obsessed with the Linux kernel. I loved that you could see the source code to the operating system! I followed along on the kernel mailing lists. I downloaded each and every patch and dutifully compiled it. I studied the “makeconfig” menus until I had them memorized. I even tried to code a bit of the kernel, though at the time it was far beyond my limited C skills. I was also a budding writer (though, I realize now, an atrocious speller) and during one “vacation” where I did not have internet access, I wrote the first version of “Wonderful World of Linux 2.2” from memory and posted it on the kernel mailing lists. It had many errors and gaps, but filling them allowed me to learn dozens of parts of Linux that I had never heard of and had no reason to use. There was little public information about changes at the time, so it was a research project.
The limited exposure from this work led to writing for Linux Journal and Linux Today, two book offers (which I declined for lack of time), an invitation to be a Keynote speaker in an comedic online conference, and plenty of fun.
Over the years, I wrote several updated versions (and one parody) of the original. Please enjoy these for their history, though perhaps not their content:
- Wonderful World of Linux 2.2
- Wonderful World of Linux 2.4
- Wonderful World of Linux 2.6
- Wonderful World of Linux 3.0
- Wonderful World of Linux 3.0 (1999 Parody for After Y2K webcomic)