Neil Matthew has been interested in and has programmed computers since 1974. A mathematics graduate from the University of Nottingham, Neil is just plain keen on programming languages and likes to explore new ways of solving computing problems. He's written systems to program in BCPL, FP (Function Programming), Lisp, Prolog and a structured BASIC. He even wrote a 6502 microprocessor emulator to run BBC microcomputer programs on UNIX systems.
In terms of UNIX experience, Neil has used almost every flavor since Version 6, including Xenix, SCO flavors, Ultrix, BSD 4.2, Microport, System V, SunOS 4, Solaris and, of course, Linux. He's been a UNIX system administrator on-and-off since 1983. Neil is familiar with the internals of UNIX-like systems and was involved in the design and implementation of a intelligent communications controller for DEC Ultrix.
He can claim to have been using Linux since August 1993, when he acquired a floppy disk distribution of Soft Landing (SLS) from Canada, with kernel version 0.99.11. He's used Linux-based computers for hacking C, C++, Icon, Prolog and Tcl, at home and at work. He also uses and recommends Linux for Internet connections, usua lly as a proxy caching server for Windows LANs and also as a file server to Windows 3.11/95 using SAMBA. He's sold a number of Internet firewall systems to UK companies (including Wrox!).
Most of Neil's 'home' projects were originally implemented in SCO UNIX, but they've been ported to Linux with little or no trouble. He says Linux is much easier because it supports quite a lot of features from other systems, so that both BSD and System V targeted programs will generally compile with little or no change.
As the head of software and principal engineer at Camtec Electronics in the Eighties, Neil programmed in C and C++ for real-time embedded systems environments. Since then, he's worked on software development techniques and quality assurance both as a consultant in communications software development with Scientific Generics and as a software QA specialist for GEHE UK.
Richard Stones started programming at school, more years
ago than he cares to remember, on a BBC micro, which with the help
a few spare parts continued functioning for the next 15 years. He
graduated from the University of Nottingham with an Electronic
Engineering degree, by which time he had decided that software was
more fun than hardware.