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There Once Was a Man Called Bruno*

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V.T. Eric Layton:
…he was my friend.

I never shook his hand. I never heard his voice. I never even saw a photograph of him. My only visual connection with Bruno was his avatar that he used everywhere online. Yet, he was my friend. He was a friend to many. He was a mentor and teacher to even more.

Bruno Knaapen of Amsterdam was a graphic artist by trade, but his first love was Linux. He was particularly enamored with Mandriva, for its ease of use; and Slackware, for its legendary stability. As far as I know, Bruno was self-taught. I don’t believe he had any formal training in Linux, yet he was a guru by any definition of that geek compliment. If Bruno didn’t know the answer to someone’s query, he would make it his mission to find the answer.

He learned by teaching and taught by example. He ran numerous machines with numerous distributions of Linux installed on them. He experimented and tinkered continuously. He learned. He then passed his learning and experience on to anyone who asked. Bruno was probably the most selfless individual I have ever met. He seemed to thrive on teaching others what he knew.

On a cool Saturday morning earlier this year, Bruno died in his home surrounded by his loved ones. He had been diagnosed just a few weeks previously with terminal cancer. He was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to say good bye to his family and friends. Most folks don’t get that option. I was very fortunate to have spent a month’s worth of late evenings/early mornings chatting with Bruno via email before he died. I saved every one of those emails.

It’s only fitting that the very first post that I write here in this blog regarding Linux be about Bruno, the man who taught me a large portion of what I know about that topic. He was my friend. I miss him.

Until next time…


*This article was the first article I wrote on my old Nocturnal Slacker (@Lockergnome) blog. I wanted to make it my first article on this new blog also. Thank you, Bruno… for teaching us many things; not just Linux. 🙂

For folks here at Landzdown Forum who may not know who Bruno was, this will give you a brief intro to this man. ~E.

V.T. Eric Layton:
This image is from Scot's Newsletter Forums...

You gotta' see the penguin as it really is, though...

Bruno was a great friend and mentor. Thanks Eric

V.T. Eric Layton:
And the story from HERE continues...

I could see within moments of reading just a few posts at Scot's that it was a VERY different place compared to my experiences with the Debian Support Forums. Within a week of signing up at Scot's and meeting Bruno, I learned so much that I had to actually start a Linux Notebook, which I still use to this day. Of course, the original bound notebook has become a good-sized over-stuffed loose leaf binder these days. ;)

This man I describe in the original post above was unbelievably patient with this knucklehead "newbie". See SecurityBreach's comment about the word "newbie" HERE. He spent hours and hours each day breaking things down and explaining them to me.

I wasn't special at all. This was how Bruno treated EVERYONE!

Ultimately, he got me where I wanted to be. Within a few weeks, I was multi-booting 18 distributions on my system. Everything from Ubuntu to Mandriva to Slackware... and all in between. Once I was comfortable with GNU/Linux, Bruno said to me one day...

"You'd make a great Slacker, Eric."

I wish I had the time/patience to hunt through all the archived posts at Scot's to find the post where Bruno said this to me, but life it too short. Fortunately, I have my memories.

Oh, and Bruno was, of course, correct. Everything about Slackware just appealed to me... much more than any of the other distros I had played with; the closest competitors to Slackware for me were Debian and Arch Linux. I went with Slackware because its attitude matched my own. ;)

Anyway, folks... this is the most typing I've done in... well, a day or so. HA!

Please, those of you who knew and remember Bruno, post your thoughts and stories.

Have fun!


I posted his last PM to me but it was too small to see and preview here hasn't been working for me.

If it weren't for him and his patient and calm manner, I would never have had the courage to try linux!
In January 2008, I bought an eeepc whose OS was linux! I still have that 7" netbook. Before Bruno, no way would I have purchased any laptop or PC whose OS was anything but Windows.


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