Home News Featured Blogs Libby Clark The People Who Support Linux: Hacking on Linux Since Age 16

The People Who Support Linux: Hacking on Linux Since Age 16

Yitao-LiPretty much all of the projects in software developer Yitao Li's GitHub repository were developed on his Linux machine. None of them are necessarily Linux-specific, he says, but he uses Linux for “everything.”

For example: “coding / scripting, web browsing, web hosting, anything cloud-related, sending / receiving PGP signed emails, tweaking IP table rules, flashing OpenWrt image into routers, running one version of Linux kernel while compiling another version, doing research, doing homework (e.g., typing math equations in Tex), and many others...” Li said via email.

Of all the projects in his repository his favorite is a school project developed in C++ with libpthread and libfuse to understand and correctly implement PAXOS-based distributed locking, key-value service, and eventually a distributed filesystem. He tested it using a number of test scripts on both single-core and multi-core machines.

“One can learn something about distributed consensus protocol by implementing the PAXOS protocol correctly (or at least mostly correctly) such that the implementation will pass all the tests,” he said. “And of course once that is accomplished, one can also earn some bragging rights. Besides, a distributed filesystem can be useful in many other programming projects.”

Li first started using Linux at age 16, or about 7.47 years ago, he says, using the website, with numerous hints from the free, downloadable Linux From Scratch book. Why?

“1. Linux is very hacker-friendly and I do not see any reason for not using it,” he writes. “2. The prefrontal cortex of the brain becoming well-developed at age 16 (?).”

People who support LinuxHe now works for eBay, mostly coding in Java but working sometimes with Hadoop, Pig, Zookeeper, Cassandra, MongoDB, and other software that requires a POSIX-compliant platform. He supports the Linux community by contributing to Wikipedia pages and forums on Linux-related subjects. And by becoming an individual member of The Linux Foundation.

He keeps up with the latest Linux developments and has recently been impressed by the new "-fstack-protector-strong" option for GCC 4.9 and later.

“It's not directly related to any of my projects, but it was important for both security and performance reasons,” he said. “It's much more efficient than "-fstack-protector-all" with little impact on security, while providing better stack-overflow protection coverage compared to that of the "-fstack-protector" option.”

Welcome to the Linux Foundation Yitao!

Learn more about becoming an individual member of The Linux Foundation. The foundation will donate $25 to for every new individual member who joins during June.



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  • Alba Said:

    Absolutely right! The use of Linux is meant for everything ranges from coding / scripting, web browsing, web hosting, tweaking IP table rules, anything cloud-related, sending / receiving PGP signed emails, flashing OpenWrt image into routers, running one version of Linux kernel while compiling another version, doing research and other vital task. Linux is everywhere and I have decided to join this platform as a career prospect and recently go through hads on practice modules based on Linux that are available free of cost at: blog

  • Phil Said:

    I'm not dissing the pen here, but this kind of article is exactly why Linux remains an aloof, socially awkward and 'scar-showin' pursuit. What does Yitao do for fun? does he get out, does he have a social circle? Is he mad bad and dangerous to know? If I were (even trying to be) reading this as a regulary guy/gal then the world of Linux would preserve every stereotype that would make me throw at the thought of looking further into ti. Try writing something that the common man or woman can identify with, rather than the technocratic crap that this seems laden with.

  • Navneeth Said:

    Just the fact that you, as a "regular" person, ended up reading this article says something about your interests.

  • Flávio Said:

    I liked this article exactly the way it was written :-)

  • Eddie G. Said:

    Linux is not for everyone. Ok now that the fact has been stated, I will go further: Linux is not for everyone and some people who might be interested in it will tend to shy away from it because it doesn't have the "shiny-ness" and "easy-ness" factors in it. But not everyone is LOOKING for shiny-ness and easy-ness. Some people just want an OS that works, that doesn't lock you into someone ELSE'S idea of what your desktop should be, one that can be re-installed over...and over...and over...and over again without draining your bank account....these are the people that Linux was made for. For the others?....who find Linux too confusing, or too "task intensive" when it comes to getting things done...there are alternates...MAC OSX....Windows....and whatever else they find appealing. Too many times I've read articles, and then in the comments people trash the author...the topic...or the subject/person in the article. A real "grownup" recognizes the material for what it opinion / commentary / interview etc. Let's all grow up and stop with the "playground antics" shall we? As for Yitao?.....I wonder how it must have felt ot be you......using Linux exclusively at the age of 16?...I can just IMAGINE the amount of teasing you might have had to endure from your peers!.....well at least your mind was liberated from an early age!....congratulations on becoming a Linux Foundation Member!.....good luck with it all!!

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