Alumni

These are our distinguished alumni. Most hang out in the IRC channel, so if you want to know what it is like working at their companies, or get some real advice from the real world, feel free to ask.

Note that most of them idle in the channel while at work, so your response (if you get one) could take hours or days.

If you’re an alumnus and would like to be included here, please file a pull request on github.com/CPLUG/cplug.org.

Kevin Worth (aka ceeKay) – 2006

Current Job Situation

I work for HP ProCurve where I am working with a team to develop a Linux-based network appliance. Sometimes I feel a little weird telling people I love my job, but I’m working with Linux every day and doing some really cool stuff. The CPE program at Cal Poly and my personal interest in Linux has gotten me to a great place, and I know part of that is due to my involvement in the CPLUG.

Current Distribution: Gentoo

I played with the idea of using linux a little bit back in high school. During sophomore year I got more serious and tried out about 20 different distros via distrowatch.com and VMware. From what I found, everything was about the same, the only difference seemed to be whether the distro used Gnome or KDE and what package manager it used. What I wanted to learn was how linux _worked_, not just how to install it and run the included programs.

At the suggestion of a friend, I tried Gentoo, and found it to be exactly what I was looking for. The documentation was excellent and I really got a feel for what was going on under the hood. In about two weeks, my knowledge increased incredibly. Granted, it was more work and time to install Gentoo than any other distro, but this was on an older laptop that I didn’t care about that much.

Then came Ubuntu… it was so fast to install and get configured reasonably well that I switched my laptop over. I used Ubuntu for about a year, but when my roommate and I put together an Ubuntu system to run a new program called MythTV, I found the limitations of using a distro like Ubuntu- you have to wait until the next release to get new versions of your programs, or else you have to install from source tarballs, and at that point, you lose the point of using binary packages.

So anyway, I’m back to Gentoo for machines I care about (my MythTV machine, my work machine), and if I just need a server or workstation up and running quickly, I use Debian (when Debian labels something “Stable”, they mean it). I also am a big fan of OpenBSD, and I use itin VM’s at work as “remote nodes” because it has a lot of useful tools, fairly easy configuration, and no extra junk. My personal laptop is a PowerBook G4 running MacOS- it’s still Unix, just nicer looking and power-management works :) Using my knowledge I did CPE Capstone and Senior projects based on Gumstix (http://gumstix.com/) devices, which my interviewer at HP was very impressed with.

Other Tidbits

Window Manager: wmii (http://suckless.org) – A tiling window manager… a little different from the norm, but it is so fast and works so well once you get used to the concept.

Web comic: (http://xkcd.com) – If you don’t read this comic, you… well, you should read this comic.

Language: Ruby (http://ruby-lang.org)- This language is actually FUN to program in. I kid you not.

Ryan du Bois (aka red0x) – 2005

Current Job Situation

I’m currently working as a Performance Engineer and Software Systems Engineer for Apple Inc. I was hired after interning in Summer 2005 so, go get those internships).

I work on Shark, a low-overhead, kernel level software and system profiling tool. I took the software through the 64-bit transition, including writing kernel drivers that run in 32 bit mode, but support profiling 64 bit applications, along with all the in-kernel work.

I’ve given WWDC presentations on Shark and Performance Tuning OS X Applications, along with presentations to Adobe, the IEEE International Symposium on Workload Characterization, and a cadre of game developers at a Game Developer’s Kitchen at Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino.

Current Distribution & Linux History

Does OS X Tiger and/or Leopard Count? One of my systems has Ubuntu installed, but I haven’t booted it in over a year. :-(

Other Tidbits

I was the CPLUG VP in 2004-2005 (with Jacob Farkas as president).

John Kew (AKA jkew)

Current Job Situation

Currently working for SourceLabs as an “Open Source Engineer” – Currently responsible for Apache Tomcat, the J2EE application server. I’m paid to work on Open Source Software. Before this I worked at the Open Source Software Labs at Microsoft, a very unusual position, but one where I learned an enormous amount about open source software and open source business.

So currently I’m on an open source track right now, which is fun. I get to meet a lot of interesting people and I’m getting almost as radical as my heady early days at Cal Poly. No arson yet.

Current Distribution & Linux History

Currently at home it’s Ubuntu. It just works, and I just have way too much to do to maintain anything else. I still cannot get my fiancée to switch from XP, although I’ve made this an informal condition of marriage.

At work it’s either CentOS or RHEL5 or SUSE 10.1 or Ubuntu, depending upon what I’m doing.

  • RedHat 3.x, 5.x, 6.x ‘95-‘01
  • Debian on Sparc – ‘02
  • Custom distro w/ 2.2.17 & busybox, 8mb flash, 4mb ram for little grey box
  • Mandrake ‘02 or so.
  • Mandrake/Portage Hybrid ‘03
  • Gentoo Proper ‘04-‘06
  • Redhat 9.x/Portage Hybrid ‘04-‘06
  • Ubuntu ‘06/Current

Other Tidbits

People in a technical field should have a good, solid participation in the open source community. While it’s sometimes hard to really maintain a heavy level of support when you have school or a “real job” it’s a great way to build up a very solid skill set. Besides the technical advantage, you learn how to communicate technically within a disparate community.

Generally, the software world is becoming more modular, with open source forming most (and sometimes all) key modules. expertise in these worlds is becoming a critical necessity within the business world. The “Not-Invented-Here” syndrome is dying as software projects have shorter and shorter release cycles.

Oh yeah, I was a former president of CPLUG.

Josh Berry (CondorDes) – 2006

Current Job Situation

Formerly a software engineer at Locutour Multimedia, Inc. Responsible for the development, maintenance and deployment of LocuTour’s Client Manager software product. This is a Java/XML record-keeping system which tracks progress through LocuTour speech therapy software. It interfaces with the software to automatically collect statistics on a client’s performance and generate graphs and reports for archival and insurance reporting. Formerly employed as a sysadmin for Cal Poly and Monte Vista High School.

Currently employed as a software developer for Rivebed Technology in the SF Bay area.

Current Distribution & Linux History

Currently using Gentoo.

Started out in high school with Red Hat and Mandrake (back in the RH 5.2 days, I believe…). Got very quickly frustrated with RPM and switched to Debian for a bit. Then I found Gentoo and haven’t looked back (this was before Ubuntu). I play with Ubuntu occasionally, but Gentoo is still the distro that annoys me the least.

Other Tidbits

I’m a KDE and Vi(m) guy nowadays, though I’ve tried almost every window manager and desktop environment under the sun. Over time, I found myself using KDE more and more, and have stuck with it consistently for well over a year now.

Kris Kowal (aka Cowbert von Moo)

Current Job Situation

Works as an OS X Updates Integration Engineer at apple.

Current Distribution & Linux History

Ubuntu. Historically Debian and Solaris when I was a sysadmin in the CSL. Also running OS X and Windows XP with Cygwin. Someone’s got to test web sites in IE6.

Other Tidbits

I write http://punnished.com, http://modulesjs.com and http://cixar.com/~kris/blog . I also freelance for ArsTechnica’s open source column. VIM.

Matthew Du Puy (panZ) – 2002

Current Job Situation

I’m currently contracting with Oxford Semiconductors, UK. I spend most of my time these days working with the Linux USB host and Gadget stacks making their discrete controller drivers work but I dabble in customer chip and software integration for that and other stacks. I was involved in their NAS solution (used by Western Digital among others) which also ran Linux on our custom ASIC as well as their high end external RAID storage solutions. Contracting is great right now because I can take lots of time off and work on other projects like Mobile to Mobile applications and hacking my iPhone.

Current Distribution & Linux History

I currently use Ubuntu but develop for many different embedded distros. I got started with Linux back at Cal Poly before CPLUG existed but a random assortment of SLO punks and BSD users were just starting up Free Your Machine. I started with Slack and Redhat back when a 120MHz cpu and 16MB of RAM was hot stuff and got Debian PPC running on my Mac soon after that. Cal Poly’s CPE program let me take graduate level OS and Network classes as tech electives where I really became fond of the tinker-ability Linux provided.

Other Tidbits

When I’m not playing with my desktop toys, I get out to see the world and climb its mountains. I love how easy it is to stay connected in the most remote parts of the world and what our favorite little socialist OS project can do to get people excited about technology and learning.

Red Wagner (redson) – 2007

Current Job Situation

I work at Apple in Cupertino as a filesystems developer, a job I obtained after interning at Apple in the summer of 2006.

Current Distribution & Linux History

I have Ubuntu Gutsy running on my desktop and Ubuntu Edgy running my mythTVbox. I have not yet succumbed to Mac OS X personally, though I use it at work. I do not have a machine that can boot windows currently, though I do have VM images of XP.

Red Hat (Freshman year, courtesy of red0x) -> Mandrake -> Gentoo -> Red Hat -> Gentoo -> Red Hat -> Gentoo -> Ubuntu -> Gentoo -> Ubuntu

Other Tidbits

The last CPLUG Pres to use emacs for quite some time.

Expert C Programming by Peter van der Linden is my favorite programming book.

Chad Tindel

I was the founder of the CPLUG and was the president for the first 2 years. Maybe I should write a CPLUG history to fill in gaps in Rob’s writeup that is on the website.

Current Job Situation

I am currently working as a Solution Architect for Red Hat in the NYC area. I work with customers who may or may not currently be using our product already and help them figure out the optimal way to make use of Red Hat solutions.

Prior to Red Hat I worked at HP for 7 years. The first 4 were spent working on a high availability clustering product called Serviceguard, and the last 3 were spent working on a custom version of Linux for telcos called HP Debian with Telecom Extensions. I also was heavily involved in standards bodies and coalitions, such as SAF and SCOPE. At the very end I helped kick off an initiative called the OpenSAF Foundation, and was the first chair of the OpenSAF Technical Leadership Committee.

Current Distribution

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.1. In the past I have used Ubuntu, SLES, Red Hat Desktop, and Mandrake.

Other Tidbits

Of course, like all true geeks, I hate the CTRL key. Therefore I am a strong VI advocate. I haven’t lost the music nerd in me either, and I still play trumpet. I also love to travel the world and visit new places. Although I’m not crazy like Matt, so I don’t strap on crampons and go climbing giant hunks of ice when I get there.

Neil Souza (nrser) – 2007

Current Job Situation

  • founder & CEO at 北AREA, an art & apparel project based in Beijing, China, set to launch in Spring 2016.
  • advisor at Super Effective, a mobile app start-up based in Beijing, China.
  • assorted angel investments.

Previous Job Situations

  • co-founder & CTO at Super Effective (see above).
  • co-founder & CTO at Social Express, a social games start-up based in San Francisco. acquired by Viacom in June, 2010.
  • ~7th employee, Mafia Wars co-creator, principle author, director of engineering and GM at Zynga, a social games start-up based in San Francisco that made it’s initial public offering in 2011.

Current Distribution: OSX, Ubuntu

i develop on OSX ‘cause i need Adobe and Microsoft apps. running mostly Ubuntu on production servers, though i’ve used a lot of RHEL/CentOS in the past.

Other Tidbits

i walked into a CPLUG event some time in 2006 or 2007 and had someone help me install Linux on a half-broken Dell laptop that my then-girlfriend had handed me down. i spent the next several months stumbling through admin’ing the machine, eventually even getting the NIC card working. this turned out to be the single most valuable learning experience i had in my academic years, and provided an invaluable foothold when starting my career. thanks.

Language: Ruby for tools, scripts and personal stuff. isomorphic Javascript for web apps.

Nat Welch (icco) – 2011

Current Job Situation

I am currently working in Brooklyn on the Hillary Clinton campaign as a Senior Site Reliability Engineer. My resume is at natwelch.com/resume, but since graduating I’ve worked at a few startups, Google and attended the Recurse Center. You can stalk me at natwelch.com.

Current Distribution & Linux History

My main computing devices are Macbook Airs running OSX. That being said, I spend most of my days ssh’d into something resembling a debian fork. Work has a ton of Ubuntu cloud machines, I have a variety of servers running debian testing in a few closets, and am constantly playing with Raspbian.

I got into Linux in 2003 when I attended a NBLUG meeting. From there I started a history of using Linux as my path to being social with people. I love hanging out with nerds on IRC, forums, mailing lists and in person. My first install was Red Hat 7, then RH9 and then I did FC1. Once I got an install of debian testing going though, I’ve been a Debian man ever since. I’ve experimented with other distros, but I keep coming back to debian.

Other Tidbits

I served as both CPLUG’s and ACM’s web master for a large portion of the time I was at Cal Poly. I never missed an installfest in the five years I was at poly.