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The Writings and Musings of Brian Masinick

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Distro testing

by masinick In reply to The Writings and Musings ...

One of my hobbies is to download and test desktop software, usually
complete systems.  Over the past few days, I have downloaded and
at least given simple testing to three different desktop Linux software
distributions, often called "distros".  The three that I have
tried this week over the past three days are Klax-KDE-3.4.2, a
Slax-based Slackware derivative that provides a good idea of what KDE
3.4.2 is like - from a Live CD.  I also tested (and love) a
considerably lighter Live CD that is "heavy" by its own standard, but
small and compact by almost any other standard.  It's called
Chubby Puppy, based on Puppy Linux 1.0.4.  Great stuff!  It
runs from RAMdisk once booted by Live CD, but it can also be installed
to the hard drive.<br />
<br />
Another system I downloaded the other day and tried out today was
aLinux.  Based on Peanut Linux and renamed, also revamped a bit,
aLinux was a disappointment to me compared to Klax and Chubby
Puppy.  Though neither Klax nor Chubby Puppy are mainstream
systems, they had enough basic functionality to work well straight off
the Live CD, enough to browse the Web and read Web based Email.<br />
<br />
aLinux, on the other hand, had problems with its main browser, a test
version of Mozilla.  The test version could not stay running when
I tried to change the default font selection.  I resorted to using
Konqueror, a KDE based file and Web browser that has become quite
capable.  But I was disappointed in Peanut, (aLinux) and may not
do much more with it for a while.<br />
<br />

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Software used this week

by masinick In reply to The Writings and Musings ...

I usually use Libranet 3.0, which I have heavily customized, as my
desktop system in my basement lab. Libranet has a great collection of
software, and it is also easily updated, modified, and maintained.
Another desktop Linux distribution, though, is also quite good, and for
certain things, such as preconfigured browser plugins, SimplyMEPIS is
somewhat easier to use. Both Libranet and SimplyMEPIS have great base
software, a recent Linux kernel, an excellent collection of utilities,
and the always outstanding Debian packaging and configuration tools.

Sometimes
I hack up Libranet, so it is nice to have another option available to
me until I have time to fix what I mess up (sometimes I mess things up
on purpose, so I can study how they work and how to fix them), other
times I just get too aggressive by installing bleeding edge software
that breaks the way the packaging is supposed to work, and it also
breaks the way some multi media content works.

SimplyMEPIS has
some nice plugins that are automatically integrated into the default
Web browser that work well; I have been using them a lot this week.

I
have also been experimenting with Klax-KDE-3.4.2 to see how well KDE
3.4.2 is working. So far, that experiment is going very well.

Finally,
I have installed or attempted to install two additional desktop systems
since last week, DragonFly BSD, which I successfully installed on my
old AMD 400 system (I do have to install the ports collection, though,
as is, my installation is pretty minimal. I attempted to install a base
level of the next Beta release of Mandriva 2006 (0.1.3). That did not
work. The kernel keeps crashing. I am going to go back to make sure I
picked up the correct ISO images and also check to see if there have
been problems with this beta test cycle. I may have something to report
to the development team if I have the right stuff installed.

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Interviewing for longer term positions

by masinick In reply to The Writings and Musings ...

I had an interview this past Friday with a financial investments
company to do some testing of market data feed systems that provide
market data for the entire company.  The work may involve either UNIX
or Linux systems, and it will most certainly involve writing test plans
concurrent with development activities.  This is right up my alley.  I
did some work writing test plans for super computer extensions to large
scale UNIX systems several years ago, and I wrote many shell scripts to
test both individual test cases and a test harness to put all the tests
together into a much larger comprehensive test suite.

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Now working in financial investments

by masinick In reply to The Writings and Musings ...

Well, it took six years to get back there, but I am back working at a
large financial investments company that utilizes a lot of leading edge
software.  They use Linux, UNIX, Windows, and all kinds of
networking tools.  I get to be in near the ground floor effort to
revamp their infrastructure to provide very high speed, low latency
access to up to the instant access to financial market data.<br />
<br />

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Been working in the financial industry

by masinick In reply to The Writings and Musings ...

I started my job back in September 2005. By October, I had additional responsibilities, running a customer facing meeting. By late this past winter, I was offered to get out of a role as a test engineer and get into a role as a software project manager, responsible for the stability of a customer facing test environment, which is essentially a production staging, integration testing environment, which is usually used by customers, but occasionally used for performance testing and on rare occasions, functional testing, by our QA group. Needless to say, it is a great challenge to manage all of those conflicting goals at once and communicate effectively with our customers about the capabilities and restrictions of that test environment!

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