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PCLinuxOS Family Member Spotlight: footstep11

As told to YouCanToo

What is your name/username?

How old are you?

re you married, single?

How about Kids, Grandkids ?
Two 'kids': one is almost 25 and the second is 19.

Do you have pets, what is your favorite?
No animals, even if the kids repeatedly asked for them (we live in a condo and we are away for work all day long ... not the best situation for an interacting animal ... maybe right for a fish).

Are you retired, still working and if working, what do you do?
I am a high energy astrophysicist, and my main area of interest is the study of celestial sources as observed in X-rays. I specialize in compact galactic sources, like neutron stars and black holes. I also teach at the university, and do public presentations for the general audience.

Where do you call home? What is it like? IE: weather, scenery
I live in a medieval Italian town called Ferrara, and commute every day to the nearby Bologna. Ferrara is a very quiet town, mid-sized (130,000 inhabitants), surrounded by fortified walls, upon which people can walk and jog. Everyone moves by bike in Ferrara. There are more bikes than inhabitants! Ferrara hosts the oldest palio race in the world (the first edition is dated 1259). At the and of May, more than 2,000 people fill the streets in their medieval costumes and armors. Then there are four races: two on foot, one on donkeys, and one on horses, mounted bareback.

Bareback horse racing

The Donkey Race

Historical reenactment.

Basilica Cattedrale di San Giorgio, Duomo di Ferrara (Ferrara Cathedral) - Constructed in the 12th Century, The cathedral stands in the city centre, not far from the Palazzo Comunale and the famous Castello Estense.

Bell tower of the Cathedral of Ferrara - Made from pink and white marble, it was built between 1451 and 1493, and although further work was done in the sixteenth century, it remains an unfinished piece.

Where did you go to school and what is your education level?
I got my physics degree at my local university. Ferrara is among one of the oldest universities in the world (Copernicus got his degree there). Then, I got my PhD in Astronomy at the International School for Advanced Studies in Trieste in 1990. Soon after, I got a two-year post-doc position in Greenbelt, MD for working on a x-ray satellite called Rossi-XTE at the NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center. After that, I was called back in Italy to work on an Italian X-ray satellite called BeppoSAX. Since then, I was involved in many other projects involving X-ray astrophysics. Now I am a senior researcher at the Italian National Institute for Astrophysics in Bologna.

What kind of things you like doing? hobbies, travel, fishing, camping?
I have always liked sports. Football (or, as the American call it, soccer) and motorsports, Ferrari and Valentino Rossi above all. I am an active runner (I run the 10k every week), and like to go to the gym twice a week, doing fit & boxe (you punch and kick a punching bag: VERY good for relieving stress!). I like listening to music, classical and jazz in particular, and going to concerts, when possible. I read a lot, at least a book per month (commuting by train, I have at least one hour per day for reading). I like very much fantasy: Terry Brooks, David Eddings, George R.R. Martin, and of course J.R.R Tolkien, are my favorites.

Finally, I like very much watching TV series. Marvel's heroes are my favorite (I think the first season of Dare Devil is absolutely PERFECT), but I do not dislike comedies, like 'The Big Bang Theory', or thrillers like the NCIS saga.

Why and when did you start using Linux?
Because of my work, I have always been involved with computers. I started back in the mid '80s with a DEC PDP11 (I did not use the punching cards because my university just bought a magnetic tape unit... wheee). I have worked with DEC computers (with VMS as operative system) until 1994, when my institute bought a DEC AlphaStation running ULTRIX, the DEC variant of UNIX. These computers were VERY expensive (the price of a mid-class automobile), but were indestructible. I did not switch off or reboot my machine for more that five (yes, you read it right: five years!). I started learning shell scripting and programming (mainly FORTRAN and interpreted languages, like perl).

At the end of 1994, I set up the institute web server. You had to compile the httpd daemon from source, and also compile the web browser. It was called mosaic. Then, in 1996 I installed RedHat 4.0 on my PC. It was really a pain. You had to compile a lot of programs from source, but at the end, you had a working system (not enough for my work, but enough for doing some experiments).

Then in 1998 Mandrake came out, and I immediately liked it, especially for its fantastic system of hardware recognition. I kept with Mandrake (that become Mandriva in 2005) until 2013, when Mandriva terminated (meanwhile my DEC AlphaStation died, and I passed to a personal computer running Linux also at work). I was looking for an alternative as good as Mandriva, and I found PCLinuxOS. It was love at first sight. Since then, I am a devoted Texstar follower.

What specific equipment do currently use with PCLinuxOS?
All my machines run PCLinuxOS: a desktop at work, my laptop and desktop at home (even if my family still prefers to use Windows).

What would you like to see happen within PCLinuxOS that would make it a better place. What are your feelings?
I think that the real added value of PCLinuxOS is its community, and its forum. If you have any computer problem (but not only that, in the sandbox section you can discuss about anything, in the limit of decency, of course), then ask in the forum. Even if you are a newbie, you will find people that will answer you, or address you to the right solution, if possible/available (see, for example, the posts by Old-Polack).

I am always been convinced that knowledge must be shared, and Linux is the perfect example of it. If everyone shared what she/he knows, and is open to learn from others, then everyone will gain from the exchange. Our forum is the perfect example of this concept.

PCLinuxOS Family Member Spotlight is an exclusive, monthly column by YouCanToo, featuring a PCLinuxOS forum member. This column will allow "the rest of us" to get to know our forum family members better, and will give those featured an opportunity to share their PCLinuxOS story with the rest of the world.

If you would like to be featured in PCLinuxOS Family Member Spotlight, please send a private message to youcantoo, parnote or Meemaw in the PCLinuxOS forum expressing your interest.

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