I’m Iulian Donici, a certified security and PKI system and network administrator. I started off discovering computers while borrowing books from a local library in Galati, Romania when I was around 12 years old.

Local library, SUSE Linux, OpenOffice, Firefox and a Yahoo! e-mail address

I was amazed by those computers! Mainly, because those computers were running Linux (more specifically, SUSE Linux) and as a library member, I was allowed to have free access to them but only 1h per day. Those desktops were pretty well configured and restricted and the point of their existence was to help library members do more research, specifically searching online about their desired subject and eventually print them or have them saved to a floppy disk (which were a pain, back then).

But that’s the period when I first met Firefox and fell in love with it. From there, I started using Yahoo!’s e-mail service but, a @yahoo.com e-mail address would give you 4MB storage for your e-mails. Well, I remember feeling really smart and proud when I was letting everyone know my e-mail address was @yahoo.ca (from Canada) which offered 6MB!

That local library was the only contact I had with computers for around 3-4 years – not everyone could’ve afforded to buy a PC, back then. And once I started mastering OpenOffice and the web (with Firefox), I started being curious about Linux because I wanted to know what was this operating system I was using every day for an hour which was so different from the ones you would normally see installed on PCs that those so-called “Internet-cafes” used to have – to which you had to pay for your hour if you wanted to use them, remember?

Man, I used to love going to that library! I would have every action, every move, everything I would do daily, tightly scheduled around that 1h of free computer use. And after a few months of online research, I found out I could have my own operating system shipped home.

Wait! What? A free operating system with free shipping?

Canonical had started promoting Ubuntu. They were shipping it to everyone who would need it. And, you kind of had to prove that you need it. That’s when I asked my IT school teacher what was it like to run all those school computers? What was it like to administrate that entire computer network?

As she was explaining it to me, I was taking mental notes. Notes that I would then use in Canonical’s web form so they can send me those early Ubuntu CDs. I’ve impersonated my IT school teacher. I told Canonical I needed 30 Ubuntu desktop CDs, 30 Ubuntu server CDs. Two months later, I had a huge Ubuntu box shipped at my door, all the way from U.S.A. to Galati, Romania, Europe for “my students”. Oh, man! The rush I was feeling!