About me ..
I studied geology and geophysics at university, including doing an honours thesis in the remote semi-desert west of White Cliffs, NSW, Australia. It wasn’t too long before I was drawn to the computing side of science, and I started my first job that involved systems development in 1987 – initially writing Fortran scientific programs. It was an exciting time with PCs just starting to replace ‘green screens’ – ie. CRT monitors. I was introduced to C, and acquired Kernighan and Ritchie’s classic ‘The C Programming Language’. Since then I have learnt many programming languages – most of which coincidentally, or otherwise, resemble C in one way or another.
My career has been quite varied – working in government and the mining industry, and even for a large global IT services provider – but I have generally kept a link with geology. We are now in another exciting period of change – phones, tablets, and chrome books for personal computing rather than virus-prone high-maintenance PCs – cloud computing freeing businesses and governments from the tedious process of running their own infrastructure, whether it be data centres or services such as email and financial systems – and the topic of this blog – an explosion of open source systems.
In my current role as a geoscientist developing field systems, databases and internet data delivery systems, I use a number of open source server systems, including Ubuntu linux, Apache, Apache Tomcat, Geoserver, PostGIS – and many open source desktop tools, including GIMP, Libre Office, PHP, Python, Tilemill, Eclipse, GIT, Dokuwiki, and Cyberduck – and I am sure to have missed a few. A specific opportunity that I see for the organisation that I work for, is the adoption of high-level feature-rich open source systems that are designed to be customised with XML or snippets of code. Open source content management systems (eg. Drupal, WordPress) and document management systems (eg. Alfresco) are a couple of examples that come to mind.
I hope you enjoy my blog.
David Collins, Australia