Fifteen years ago, I knew a teenager, who spent his evenings hacking away on his Gateway 2000 486, and his days trying to work his way around the security put in place to prevent him and his fellow students from accessing data they shouldn’t. Never malicious, just curious, and thirsty for control of something.
That teenager was me. A broke teenager with a desire to learn more and more about these things, these machines called computers. I ran a bbs, telnet baby! This was, as best as I can remember, my first step into the SysAdmin arena. A lot of SysOps ran their boards when it was convenient. They’d shut them down when they had a better use for their computer, or their parents needed the phone line. When I finally put a board online, it was 24×7. It was my passion to present a reliable service to the community. After time, it became popular, and still exists today!
I would dream of the day when I could run a web site. All I needed was a server! Eventually I installed Linux on that 486, and stepped out of my comfort zone, and liked what I found. Eventually, i got a new computer, and that 486 became my first _server_. An actual server! Dedicated, just for serving. It got broken into, and killed quite a few times, and each time I’d fix it and get it back online, learning something new each time. Eventually, undrground.org was born. Registered on 2/14/2000. At the time it Ran on an old workstation, in my bedroom. I slept to the sound of whirring fans every night. By the time I got married and moved out of my parents place, I had a few “servers” doing different things in my bedroom. The BBS was one of them, my web server, and a linux router/gateway that ip masqueraded our internet connection out to the rest of the workstations at home.
It wasnt until years later that I became a Sysadmin professionally, but you could say that I’ve been one at heart since I setup that first BBS in the late 90’s. Today, I churn out more servers in a week than I ever dreampt would be at my disposal back in those early days. Last week alone, I kicked out 20 servers, which will act as one, serving mail. Just to test the system out before its done in production. Those systems are not only numerous, they’re temporary! Servers have become such a trivial commodity that I build, and destroy them weekly!
Anyway, to all of you who remember running that basement server before you were ever being paid for it, Happy Sysadmin Appreciation Day!