About Jan van de Voort

About me

I’ve been around for a couple of decades now in the computer industry.

I began working in this industry  in 1992 for a company named Packard Bell. janvandevoortThe idea of that company was quite good and revolutionary at that time: mass produce pre-installed computers that were ready-to-use.  Just connect mouse, keyboard and monitor, start the machine and start using it. I guess and I know that it’s normal these days, but someone had to begin with the idea. Apple was really ahead also in these days, but had a market share too small compared to the Windows market. So let’s continue on Packard Bell, and get on with the story.

Again, the Packard Bell idea was  really revolutionary, at a time where competitors were just adding a bunch of diskettes with the system, and asking you to do the install yourself.

At Packard Bell, I  myself worked for the french help desk; I I had to deal with al lot of “first time user” cases. I remember a case with a customer who bought a Packard Bell Legend 100 (that’s a “dos” machine) , and complained that he had no Excel on it. So I ask him how do you think you would get Excel on it? And he answered: well just by going to the C drive, and typing in: make directory excel.

Of  course this is a colourful example of how people can think about computers, but it also illustrates the way they think about these machines: they should just do what I ask the … machine to do. And this is where I think that non-Windows systems can fit in: some alternative systems are much, much more intuitive than one could even imagine, since most people only know…Windows.

Ok, back to me. From 1995  onwards, I worked for a company called Tulip Computers in the Netherlands, where I began to discover more than just the desktop, with Novell software (Tulip had a strong connection to Novell), and, from that on, to Novell’s Desktop Management suite: Novell ZENworks.  Just one small leap back to my favorite item: the desktop, and the human experience. ZENworks at least made it easier to use and manage  it, and much more than that. The current version, ZCM 11, is still a perfect product for managing desktops in Windows environments, also and especially in Active Directory.

After some other job changes, and having worked for a couple of years as a system administrator, I just and really stumbled upon Ubuntu: a totally free (really no costs involved whatsoever) Linux Desktop operating system with a built-in, free Office suite, Internet browser, e-mail client, image manipulation program,  firewall, and much, much  more.  I did not realize, when first using it, that I was using Linux…that just came later.  I was flabbergasted by the ease  of use of it, compared to Windows XP, Windows 7  or any of its successors.

Since discovering it, and since then having used it exclusively, I discovered it’s ease of use. Since that time, I have been working with other Linux systems as well, but my favorite remains Ubuntu. That is why a lot of articles on this WordPress blog deal with Ubuntu. I have no direct affiliation to Ubuntu or to Canonical. I just like what they make, and this WordPress blog is intended as a contribution to a wonderful project.

The opinions on this blog are my own and are not representative of my employers, past or present.


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