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About Me

I am married with two children and the obligatory Labrador. We live in Ripley, Surrey. I am "chrisjrob" in IRC.

My first exposure to Linux was a SUSE CD attached to a computer magazine. I have vague recollections of time spent repeatedly running YAST and eventually getting X working with KDE2. I didn't last long, but I had at least now some knowledge of Linux.

My second exposure was when looking to purchase an anti-spam solution from our usual software vendor. I had some questions and was put through to one of the software engineers. During the conversation he suggested that I run a mile from the Windows-based anti-spam solution and consider instead using Debian, Sendmail, and MIMEDefang with Spamassassin. His patience in talking me through the process of setting up the mailserver was simply astonishing.

After a couple of years our volume of spam reached around 6000 per day, and the ageing Pentium II PC's disk drive started grinding its heads down to bare metal, and we moved to an on-line anti-spam service. But now I knew hugely more about Linux and Debian in particular. It was time for desktop Linux.

I decided to install a desktop Linux variant, and downloaded the iso for Mepis; a supposedly simple to install Debian-based Linux desktop solution. I installed it as a dual boot installation on both my laptop and my work desktop. I used it almost exclusively at work for a while, but found it a constant frustration that I could not always get my work done using it. In the end I found myself increasingly using my Windows XP install in preference. I wanted to use Linux, but it was just slowing me down too much.

But on my laptop, it was a different matter, Mepis was fantastic. Then Mepis moved to being Ubuntu-based. Unfortunately it would not install on my laptop (probably ignorance on my part), so I downloaded an Ubuntu iso and installed that instead. I was amazed at how simple it all was, and I found myself at last using Linux in preference to Windows. Ubuntu was duly installed on my work PC as well.

At work we had a problem, our Citrix server was now 6-years old, and something had to be done about it. But I knew I did not want Windows clients for our replacement Citrix server, as I had been suffering for the previous year with trying to keep Windows updated and virus checked. The solution was obvious, Linux PCs with a Linux desktop with published applications from a new Citrix server. I began googling for Citrix and Linux and the possibilities of using Linux as an alternative to Citrix opened up to me.

We received a quote from our Windows-vendor for a Citrix solution costing £75,000, including Windows Server 2003 with Terminal Services, Citrix, Office 2007, and Exchange Server. The price shocked us. We were also finding that Citrix coped poorly with multimedia, something that was becoming an increasing obstacle for us.

I had a meeting with our managing director (my brother - a family business) and showed him Ubuntu, with Evolution, and he was sufficiently impressed to allow me to evaluate Linux. After spending a long time researching the alternatives, I came across Sirius IT, based in Weybridge, as Linux consultants. After parting with some money to evaluate our options, they recommended Debian Etch KDE + LTSP as the solution.

We have now completed the roll-out and, for me at least, Linux is now a way of life.

Read more on my blog at

IRC nick
Favourite Linux distribution
Debian and Ubuntu.


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