Ask Humorix: What's It Like To Work On Linux Full-Time?

Feature written by Bernhard Rosenkraenzer on Saturday, September 29, 2001

from the the-truth-comes-out dept.

Since a couple of people (both our regular readers) have asked me what a job at Red Hat is like, I've decided to leak my diary to a member of the Humorix Vast Spy Network(tm) -- that should probably be sufficient to make sure everyone will get the answer.

Bernhard Rosenkraenzer's Diary


I wake up. After opening my eyes and forgetting about that Beowulf cluster of Athlon 3GHZs I dreamed of, I notice I'm still in the office. Good, no need to waste time on the road...


I notice the plant in the office badly needs water. Since I'm way too lazy to stand up this early in the morning, I open Bugzilla. Since there's no "Office" component, I report the "Plant needs water" issue (Priority: high, Severity: high) in the "KOffice" component, and hope nobody will mind the K.


While there, I check for new bugs I should handle. 10 new bug reports... Once more, I miss the "Closed: FIXITYOURSELF", "Closed: IDONTCARE" and "Closed: YOUARESTUPID" buttons.


Read new bug #1, a kdebase bug... "I have downloaded kdebase-2.2.tar.bz2 from your ftp server. It doesn't install. Windows keeps asking me which program it shall use to open .bz2 files."

I really want that "Closed: GOBUYABRAIN" button in Bugzilla... But since we don't have it, I simply decide that the problem is obviously that this guy is using the wrong kernel -- I reassign the bug to the kernel developers.


I decide to check my mail next - maybe the message stating Microsoft has been shut down and Bill Gates will spend the rest of his life in prison will finally arrive today?


12000 new messages! Mostly from mailing lists, except for a couple of messages telling me how to make money fast, save on long distance calls, and how to waste the savings generated by the previous two offers by looking at someone's "hot pix", and reminding me I've signed up to receive these announcements from somewebsiteiveneverheardaboutabout and, of course, that if I've changed my mind, I'll be removed from the list at no cost to me by sending a message to with "subscribe" in the subject.


I check Netcraft's records on that spammer's site -- great, they're running Red Hat Linux... I drop a message to its owner stating we've discovered a security bug in the Red Hat Linux release he's using, ask him to send the contents of a file called /etc/shadow to (that public mailing list should look official enough) so we can verify whether or not his system is affected, and to run rpm -ivh to make sure the problem doesn't get exploited in the mean time.


Time to get on to real work. I start hacking on my favorite applications.


Done! The other routing work (mostly minor, but important changes, such as adding "Obsoletes: emacs" to the vim spec file) aside, I've extended the package "foo" by adding complete networking support, a KDE frontend, and while at it, rewriting large parts of the codebase. Since we're in a feature freeze, I translate the related changelog entries to my favorite locale, en_CL (English, Changelog variant): "- Fix a vital bug" and push the package to the build servers.


I'm starting to get tired... time to take a look at slashdot... Not many surprises here -- right below the ad banner, there's a report about Bush outlawing all encryption, using rot13 (or even rot26) is now a federal crime in the US, and OSes supporting any type of encryption are banned. Community reactions range from "First post" to links to, as usual. The link for further information ( is, as usual, down. Since there's nothing I can do about it, I'm simply glad that I live in the free world and decide to go home.


I finally arrive. My apartmentmate greets me with a friendly "[root@locutus /root]# "

(Ok, I admit it's a strange hostname... It's there for a pretty good reason: I hoped this box (a Pentium II) would assimilate the various 486es under the bed and in the bathroom. Unfortunately, this has yet to happen.)

I can't resist a friendly greeting like that (now who said geeks are socially inept???), so I sit down and feed it with the latest updates and a couple of new hacks I've come up with on the way home.


I finally get to bed...


Start over, with only minor differences...

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