"This is a free minix-like kernel for i386(+) based AT-machines," began the Linux version 0.01 release notes in September of 1991 for the first release of the Linux kernel. "As the version number (0.01) suggests this is not a mature product. Currently only a subset of AT-hardware is supported (hard-disk, screen, keyboard and serial lines), and some of the system calls are not yet fully implemented (notably mount/umount aren't even implemented)." Booting the original 0.01 Linux kernel required bootstrapping it with minix, and the keyboard driver was written in assembly and hard-wired for a Finnish keyboard. The listed features were mostly presented as a comparison to minix and included, efficiently using the 386 chip rather than the older 8088, use of system calls rather than message passing, a fully multithreaded FS, minimal task switching, and visible interrupts. Linus Torvalds noted, "the guiding line when implementing linux was: get it working fast. I wanted the kernel simple, yet powerful enough to run most unix software." In a section titled "Apologies :-)" he noted:
"This isn't yet the 'mother of all operating systems', and anyone who hoped for that will have to wait for the first real release (1.0), and even then you might not want to change from minix. This is a source release for those that are interested in seeing what linux looks like, and it's not really supported yet."
From London I returned to Ipswich, then Eddie and I set off on a road trip to Wales. We had originally planned to take a motorcycle, but a combination of issues including the weather forced us instead to drive a car. Our destination was Snowdonia National Park, where we spent two nights and climbed the 1085 meter Mount Snowdon. Wales proved to be quite beautiful, very green (which of course also meant very wet), and reminiscent of Ireland.
I ended my trip through Italy with a visit to Sicily. Originally I'd hoped to get off the beaten trail a bit, but with limited time I ended up being more pragmatic. From the moment I departed Milan, the trip already promised to be exciting as Marco and I were met at the airport by police in full riot gear. As we passed through their ranks, they were strapping on their helmets and lifting their shields. Only later after arriving in Sicily did I discover what all the excitement was, George Bush was visiting Rome for the G8 summit and huge masses of people were all trying to congregate there to protest his presence. Had I known, I may have postponed the next leg of my journey from Rome to Sicily and taken part in the protest myself.
As the train approached Sicily, I was quite curious as to how we'd get from the mainland to the island. I was impressed when I didn't have to get off the train, but instead they simply drove the whole thing onto a large ferry. I arrived in Messina after 13 hours, quite ready to stretch my legs. The following day I took a hydrofoil out to Lipari in the Aeloian Islands. From there I headed to the touristy fishing village, Cefalù. And finally I ended up in Palerma, from where I flew back to London.
I took an overnight train from Rome to Venice, managing a decent night's sleep on the small top bunk, though waking a little at each stop. Early in the morning with a knock on the door the conductor let me know we were arriving in Venice (or so I hoped, with my limited Italian), and I switched to another train headed for Borgo Valsugana. The train followed a beautiful valley through the Alps, to the home of an old friend I'd not seen in 16 years.
Ivan Facchini was a foreign exchange student who lived in Haines for a year, my Junior year in high school. We became very good friends then, though have done poorly staying in touch over the years. He has since gotten married and had two wonderful children, all of whom I met for the first time when visiting his home town of Roncegno. He pointed out that when we first met I was 16, and so now 16 years later another lifetime had passed, and yet it felt like only a few days had gone by as we quickly fell back into our friendship.
I arrived in Rome via train, then wandered the streets near the central station until I found an affordable hotel that had rooms available. I felt a little overwhelmed as I read about all the things to do, but once I got my bearings it proved to be an impressive city. I started in ancient Rome, wandering the Forum, exploring Palatine Hill, and visiting the Colosseum. Another day I walked to the Vatican City and visited their amazing museums. The rest of the time I spent wandering around somewhat randomly, seeing what I could find.
May seems to be a good month to visit Rome, as for the most part the crowds weren't too bad. This wasn't true for the Vatican museums where I was quickly overwhelmed by the seemingly endless masses of people. By the time I'd worked my way through the lengthy halls of paintings and entered the Sistine Chapel, though quite impressed I was equally interested in just getting back outside and away from the crowds.
I was fortunate to make it into Italy, as there was an airport strike causing most flights to be significantly delayed or even canceled. I touched down in Milan, quickly retrieved my bag, and was greeted by my friend Marco Molinari, whom I'd never actually met before. Many years ago I'd gotten to know Marco through email, as we both worked with Drupal, the same open source software I use for KernelTrap. He uses Drupal for his highly successful and humorous Italian website Bastardidentro, "Bastard Inside".
The week in Milan flew by. I used much of the time to catch up on email, though also got out to explore the city. I'd hoped my poor but practical Spanish speaking skills would be translate into poor but practical Italian speaking skills, and while it's true that between Spanish and English I've managed well enough, it seems my Spanish doesn't translate to Italian quite as easily as I'd hoped. So while in Milan hanging out with Marco and his friends, I heavily relied on his translation skills to be a part of the conversations.
I flew into an airport on the outskirts of Stockholm and spent the following week with Staffan, Anna, and their two month old baby, Perols Olof Erik Hillman. A decade and a half ago Staffan lived with my family as a foreign exchange student, and we quickly became best friends sharing amazing times our senior year in high school. He has since managed to visit Alaska a few times, but until now I'd not made good on my frequent promise to visit him in his home country. Very much in agreement with the saying that time flies when you're having fun, the visit was far too brief, though it was still wonderful to catch up, and to meet both Anna and Erik for the first time.
We spent the first few days at their beautiful and peaceful summer house in Öregrund on the edge of the Baltic. It was a very relaxing place, and a nice chance to catch up on both visiting and resting. From there we drove west to visit Anna's family and to see where Staffan and Anna will be building their new house. We then headed to Falun to visit Staffan's parents. And finally we quickly toured Stockholm before I flew out for Italy. The trip was far too quick, but quite wonderful.
Ballintoy is a small village located in Northern Ireland in the County Antrim along the beautiful B15 coast road. I was fortunate enough to spend a few weeks here, house sitting for Harold and Alice Morden who were in Italy on vacation. Harold was my high school math teacher over 15 years ago and whom I've kept in touch with over the years. When Jamie and I had passed through Northern Ireland last month we'd spent an afternoon with them, during which they kindly offered their place to me while they were away.
Their house overlooks the Atlantic ocean with a beautiful view of the cliff's of Sheep Island, Rathlin Island a little further in the distance, and some Scottish islands and the Scottish mainland even further in the distance. Staying here provided me a chance to catch up on much needed rest and on work. I got out for a couple of hikes along the amazing coastline, though not as much as I'd have liked due to being sick for much of my stay. From here I'm headed to Sweden, and then Italy.
Our two week European vacation was a blur and already it was time for Jamie to return back to her school-oriented life in Florida. On our way back to Manchester we stopped in London with just a few hours to follow The Queen's Walk and enjoy the sites. We took the underground to the Palace of Westminster, then walked across Westminster Bridge and downstream along the River Thames as far as Tower Bridge. After a nice dinner along the Thames, we headed back out to the airport for an absurdly early flight to Manchester the following morning.
From Manchester Jamie headed back to St. Augustine, while I continued on my travels, not planning to return to St. Augustine myself until the end of June. In Manchester I stayed a week with a friend and old colleague, Basheer, from Florida. I then flew back to Ireland returning to Ballintoy where I will stay for a few weeks.
We flew into Belfast International Airport and rented a small car, circling the northern half of the island. Driving in Ireland proved to be an adventure, not just because the steering wheel wasn't where I typically expect it, nor just because the traffic flowed in a direction that seemed counter intuitive to me. The windy narrow roads encourage creative driving and a certain amount of faith and good luck, further compounded by the Irish tendency to park anywhere and everywhere that's convenient for the person parking. Having the car did give us the freedom to explore at our rapid pace, always in a bit of a hurry as there was far more we wanted to see than we really had time for.
We followed the coastline through Northern Ireland, then headed down the west coast into the Republic of Ireland through Galway into Doolin from some traditional music. We explored a couple of caves, and got as far south as the Cliffs of Moher, offering a spectacular view. We then cut across the center of the country and headed east into Dublin from where we flew back to England.
My original plans to fly to New Zealand changed, evolving into a trip through Europe visiting friends. Jamie still had a few more weeks off from school, so we planned a quick trip to Ireland via England. We landed in Manchester and stayed a night with one of her friends, then set off on a far-too-rushed train journey to a few locations around England. We whizzed through Stratford-upon-Avon to visit Shakespeare's birthplace and final resting place, then continued down to Salisbury to see the Stonehenge. Finally we headed through London up to Ipswich to visit friends I'd met years ago when working in Florida.
With the current exchange rate of two British Pounds for ever American Dollar, the country proved far more expensive than I'd quasi-planned. In addition, the time required to travel by train was greater than we'd expected, cutting into our time to actually enjoy the destinations. In spite of that, the whirlwind trip proved to be a lot of fun.
I flew into Sacramento and rented a car, driving up to Chico to pick up Robyn. Together we headed down to La Selva Beach to hang out with Austin for the weekend. We enjoyed hanging out for a couple brief days, hiking through Redwoods and learning to surf on the beaches south of Santa Cruz. Austin grew up in these parts, and it turns out he's a very patient, excellent teacher. The water was freezing, but our wetsuits made it tolerable. Our second night in the area Austin had to work, so Robyn and I set up a couple of tents on the beach in front of his place, enjoying a spectacular sunset and a fantastic fire-cooked meal of Tuna steak and vegetables. It all made for a very enjoyable weekend.
While working in San Francisco I got a call from a cousin that I was expecting but not looking forward to, telling me that my grandmother had passed away. She'd taken a quick turn for the worse in the past week or so, suffering a major stroke and fighting pneumonia and a relapse of cancer, the latter which she'd survived once already 30 years earlier. My mom was enroute from Alaska to McMinville, and I'd been planning a visit myself in a few days hoping for one last chance to say goodbye.
I stayed in the Portland area along with my mom at her youngest brother's house. We spent much of the visit packing up my grandma's stuff, moving her out of the home we'd moved her into not that long ago. It was a strange feeling to be surrounded by all her stuff filled with memories of the past, realizing it was the last time I'd be surrounded by all her photo collections and all the things that I'd associated with her for as long as I can remember. She was my last living grandparent, and the one I'd gotten to know the best by virtue of being an adult while she was alive. For years I'd been calling her on the telephone once every week or two and visiting once or twice a year, as often as I could pass through Oregon. I try and not think back on the weeks I didn't call when I should have, happy that I got to know her as well as I did.
I flew into the San Francisco area to attend the 2007 OSCMS Summit, hosted by Yahoo! at their Sunnyvale campus. I originally got started using Drupal in 2002 when the creator, Dries Buytaert, contacted me regarding the scalability problems I was experiencing trying to run KernelTrap on PHP-Nuke. I quickly became a fan of the code base and the developer community. Over the years I've been an active developer myself, and now even make a living writing and maintaining Drupal code. It's been exciting to watch what started as a humble open source project develop into vibrant and rapidly growing community.
After the conference I was one of five speakers at the Performance and Scalability Workshop which raised $5,800 for the Drupal Association. It was an honor to speak along with Drupal creator Dries Buytaert and other Drupal luminaries such as Matt Westgate and James Walker.
While in California I stayed with my old high school buddy, Leif, and his wife, Erika. It was great to get a chance to catch up over various fires in their backyard in Berkeley. They're expecting their first child in August, so I'll have to be sure to make my way back to the area in the fall.
Six months have passed since I sold my house of 3 years in Margate and left South Florida, my home of 7 years. I'd been missing my wonderful neighbors who'd become a big part of my life, especially Matt and Joe who'd visit most every day after school and on the weekends. I also got to visit with John and to meet his new love, Katie, happy to see that life has taken a wonderful turn for the better for him. I also hung out with Tim and Stephanie who sold their house and are eying new states to possibly call home.
St. Augustine was only five hours north, so I couldn't resist a road trip to visit Jamie for a few days. It was too short a visit, so she accompanied me back down to Florida for the last few days before I headed out to the west coast. I didn't have time to visit everyone I'd have liked to, but I was happy to see everyone that I did. It was nice to be back, and very nice to be warm again.