From the programming itself to sharing your work and forging friendships, there’s true fun to be had in computers.
“Just for fun” was one of the many famous remarks of Linus Torvalds. When he started the Linux kernel project in 1991 his announcement of the project said it was “just a hobby,” and later a book by Linus and David Diamond cited the project (through the book title) as Just for Fun.
When I met Linus at a Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) User’s Society (DECUS) event in New Orleans in May of 1994, I saw a very intense, but likable, college student who enjoyed programming and liked the study and design of a Unix-like kernel. Linus was in a good place for “having fun,” because the users of DEC’s equipment and software had been meeting and exchanging software they had written for many years.
In high school I had three years of electronics class, mostly analog electronics – with tubes, resistors, capacitors, and coils – designing analog radio receivers and transmitters, among other things. I was a quiet kid, a bookworm that did not have many friends, and when I decided to go to Drexel University (at that time named Drexel Institute of Technology) in 1968, the change in my environment allowed me to make friends.
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