The Linux Foundation's individual members help to support the work of Linux creator Linus Torvalds and other important activities that advance Linux, while getting a variety of other fun and valuable benefits. It is this collective support from thousands of individual members that enables The Linux Foundation to provide important services for industry and community. This Linux.com series profiles these individuals and begins to collectively illustrate a very important part of the Linux community.
Matt Bridger says he is "a bit of a later developer, IT-wise." He received his first degree in History and during that time, he rarely came close to a computer. But the increasing relevance of computing around him could not be ignored, says Matt, both in the workplace and in everyday life. He soon found himself providing IT support to colleagues while working at the University of Cambridge, which is where he first encountered Linux. The OS was being used to manage academic archives and the faculty website.
Matt says that he once he discovered Linux, he was immediately drawn to open source because of the values of collaboration and sharing. He said Linux' strength in powering software and systems made the magnetism even stronger.
It wasn't long before he found himself in graduate school, studying computer science and becoming a regular Linux user. About Linux, Matt says: "In terms of usability, I find Linux easier to use and more secure. Rarely do I have any problems with Linux systems. And, I've found that it is quick to deploy and straightforward to manage using the standard set of utilities."
After trying a variety of "distro's" that included Debian, openSUSE and Red Hat, Matt today runs Ubuntu both at home and at work. He says, "It works well for me and for my customers who are using it. Interestingly, it has been very well accepted by users who have few preconceptions about Linux or who do not have a strong desire to remain with Windows. It's caused me very few problems.The general support is very good. The documentation is strong. It has good hardware compatibility, and it offers pretty much all of the applications I need. Oh, and it doesn't take too long to get up-and-running."
Matt works with a small handful of SMBs who have pretty standard requirements, he says. On the server side, they're using Apache for office Intranets and MySQL for bespoke databases. They're also using OpenVPN, OpenSSH and Samba. What could make his and his customers' setups better?
Matt responds with the kind of answer we all yearn to hear: "All of my current requirements are pretty much being met, and I'm sure all of the features I don't yet know that I need have also been dealt with! That has generally been my experience. If I have a problem, I can pretty much guarantee that there is a solution out there."
His advice for other business users is to "look very, very closely at Linux." Matt says that Linux can reduce cost and downtime while improving security and encourages users to look beyond the server and consider Linux for the desktop. "There's a wide range of desktop options, a phenomenal range of available software, and excellent support available. Plus, you will have a secure, easy to use, virtually trouble-free system."
Matt is taking advantage of all of The Linux Foundation's resources. Before becoming a member, he started to use both The Linux Foundation website and Linux.com for articles and tutorials. "I was very impressed with the content, information and support provided by The Linux Foundation and what it was trying to do."
So, Matt wanted to give back. "It really made me think that I have enjoyed tremendous benefits from using Linux over the last few years and that I ought to give a little bit back to the community and do a little bit more to try and help increase the use of Linux. Joining the Linux Foundation seemed to be a very good way of doing that."
He continues: "In terms of benefits of membership, most importantly I'm kept regularly up-to-date on all things Linux. The weekly email newsletters are extremely good, with links to a whole host of excellent articles and tutorials, notifications of events and training opportunities. Joining The Linux Foundation has, for me, opened a bigger window on the Linux world and in a short period of time, I have learned a considerable amount about current Linux and wider IT issues. Plus, I've looked at a whole range of applications that I probably would not have come across."
As a late IT bloomer, Matt says he's really not that geeky but that he does tend to run ridiculous amounts of backups. I suppose no one can be too cautious, even when running Linux!