MirandaSoft

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Hello World!

Welcome to the new MirandaSoft page at eLinux.org. I am Marcos "Kuya Marc" Miranda, whom originally founded MirandaSoft Computer Services in Seattle, Washington, USA in July 1992.

My Early Years

The MirandaSoft name was coined from Miranda Software Services under my first business, MCM Databases (1988-1992). Here is how and why MirandaSoft got started.

When I was in junior high (grades 7th & 8th) in the USA, I read BYTE Magazine (on my own) from magazine and microfisce at the old Shoreline Public Library. I taught myself assembly language programming for the 6502/6510 and Z80 microprocessors. In 7th grade computer class, I did my simple graphics project on the TRS-80 Model III computer in Z80 assembly language, against the teacher's orders I do the assignment in BASIC. I hated the BASIC programming language and converted many BASIC programs into machine code (assembly language); that was what I was doing when other guys were chasing the girls.

While I was in high school, I had dreams of having my own computer business; I became a high ranking member of the computer club. I graduated from Shorecrest High School (Shoreline, Washington, USA) is June 1988, with two years of High School Electronics, Three Years of Spanish, and more; science, math, and electronics were my favorite subjects.

Pre-MirandaSoft Era

After graduating high school, members from the computer club coerced me into starting up my computer business, and I did; it was called, MCM Databases, and I built IBM XT-compatible computers and programmed the Phoenix BIOS using assembly language. I began attending Edmonds Community College (Lynnwood, Washington, USA) and took computer science, where I first was introduced to the C Programming Language.

The Birth of MirandaSoft

In 1991, I was a member of a computer club hosted on the Redmond campus of Microsoft Corporation. I was already writing code in C under the name of "Miranda Software Services". I had met with executives of Microsoft about how I can have a similar name without any conflicts; I have to capitalize the M and the S and therefore, the MirandaSoft name was created.

My Pre-Linux Days

From 1992 to 1997, I was a "poweruser" of MS-DOS, PC-DOS, Sun Solaris (UNIX) and FreeBSD, while using beta & released editions of Microsoft Windows. Using the C programming language, I was already porting programs between operating systems.

Hired at Computer City

In November 1996, I was hired by Computer City (now defunct) in Shoreline, Washington, USA. My first job title was "sales associate", however, after demonstracting that I am not a salesman for three months, I was transferred to the tech department to work as a configuration technician. In May 1997, I resigned from Computer City to visit the Philippines.

1997: My Introduction to Linux

Universe Cybercafe

In July 1997, during my 6th visit to the Philippines, I was hired to work at Universe Cybercafe (Makati) as a sale associate. Three hours after being hired, I was promoted to store manager of their new branch at SM Megamall, in which I was responsible for setting up. During the setup process at the new branch, I met an engineer from Mosaic Communications (Mozcom) whom gave me the books for a 3-day (over the weekend) crash course on the Linux operating system.

Compiling the Linux Kernel for the 1st Time

Upon my return, that engineer showed me how to compile the Linux kernel and my C programming language skills became very handy. Most of my initial Kernel compiles resulted in "Kernel Panic", but that engineer told me to keep on trying. In 1997, compiling a Linux Kernel meant "breaktime" for me.

squid: The Linux Proxy Server

The store I am managing at that time was using Red Hat Linux on the Trigem server and sending the Internet (from dial-up) to 10 Windows 95-based NEC Versa PCs via the squid proxy server application. This was the first time I had set up an Internet rental store and the first time I was a manager. Upon being successful at the branch I managed, the owner requested I "upgrade" their first branch, the Makati branch where I was first hired. That Makati branch was using Slackware Linux, and so I learned that distribution, too, and got paid for it. By the Christmas party in 1997, I had learned how to install and configure Red Hat Linux and Slackware Linux. I had a great job, but due to the devaluation of the Philippine Peso (and I was paid in Pesos), I had to return to the USA.

1998: My Public Promotion of Linux

Rehired at Computer City

Within two weeks after returning to the USA in March 1998, I was rehired by Computer City, back to work in the tech department as a configuration technician. BUT... I now have a new specialty and it is called LINUX. No other Computer City employee in the Puget Sound region knows Linux, except me. The store manager instructed the tech department to now accept Linux customers for me to work on. The representatives from Red Hat came to meet me at Computer City, and I got NFR (not for resale) copies of Red Hat Linux for FREE! At this time Microsoft is promoting Windows 97 and Internet Explorer, and here I am, showing off Red Hat Linux to groups of customers, many of whom bought the boxed edition of Red Hat Linux.

Strategy: Compile the Linux Kernel

One of my strategies of promoting Linux was showing off how easily the Linux Kernel, being open source, can be compiled to the machine it is run on. I was promoting, "How to have a more efficient computer" without realizing it, and this was in 1998. At the Computer City store I worked in, I gave basic introductions to the Linux Kernel to Windows customers; defining what various options mean prior to the compiling stages. This was the time, Linux can be run from a 3.5-inch floppy disk.

Working as a Linux Technician

There were only three technicians in the tech department I was working in; I was one of them. I had the unofficial title of Linux Technian; the other techs I was working in, mostly knew Windows and some Macintosh. Being the only Linux Technician in the Puget Sound area was good, but was also a burden, because no other competing computer store had a Linux technician.

Promoting Linux in a Microsoft World

In 1998, it was not easy promoting Linux in a world that Microsoft ruled. According to Red Hat, there were other Linux users in the Seattle/Puget Sound area, but there were not any local business establishments to support them.

Post Computer City

In the Summer of 1998, Tandy Corporation (parent company of Computer City) went bankrupt, forcing the closure of Computer City. I was transfered to CompUSA, but was let go because a Linux technician was not needed in their store.

1999-2002: Linux Server Configs

Though I continued promoting Linux as a desktop operating system, I frequently done a variety of Linux-based servers; mainly to serve files to Windows-based computers and a few times, ran web servers. On a daily basis, I was compiling and recompiling the Linux Kernel.

2002-2012: My Decade of Linux Desktops

Yes, I did them all; literally, all of them! Some I tried for a couple of weeks, some I tried for less than a day, and then a couple I tried for less than a few hours. I juggled between Linux distributions and desktop environments, while continuing to compile & recompile the Linux Kernel.

In 2004, while I was still dependent on Microsoft Windows, and while using Linspire, I purchased Win4Lin and tested it with various Linux distributions, desktops, and Kernels.

2006: Migration to the Philippines

In October 2006, I moved out of Seattle, Washington, USA to marry my girlfriend (works in IT) in the Philippines. At the time of the transition, I was not yet fully dependent on Linux, but I kept on with my interest in Linux, though my wife (and her family) only knows how to work Windows on the PC. Since my wedding to my wife, I have constantly demonstrated how Linux is more superior to Windows.

2012-Current: Embedded Linux

Raspberry Pi

In October 2012, I bought my Raspberry Pi from element14 Singapore.

BeagleBone Black

In July 2013, I received my BeagleBone Black from Drew Fustini, a Good Samaritan in the USA.

My Use of Linux Today

Building Linux from the Ground Up

Nowadays, many people are dependent on the mouse for a graphical environment, when installing and/or using Linux; here in the Philippines, fellow Filipinos tend to stick with Ubuntu. Here is how I build my Debian Linux system from the ground up:

  1. Obtain the text-based Network Installer
  2. Transfer the Network Installer to USB Flash Drive
  3. Boot Target PC with USB Flash Drive & Ethernet cable connected
  4. Install a fully-operational, barebones Linux operating system
  5. Manually choose what packages to install and remove
  6. If I want a graphical environment, then I will install what I need (not the meta package!)

Preferred: Command-Line Interface (CLI)

When I first learned Linux in 1997, I started with the command-line interface (CLI) and I still use it today. I prefer deciding on what packages and scripts to be installed/removed, and how my Linux system will boot up and run. This is how I make a very efficient Linux operating system using the smallest disk space possible.

Development Software: Installed by Default

It is a fact, that when I started with computers over three decades ago, I was never just an End User; some people told me I was born to be a developer. Other people told me I'm "hardcore", especially when they see some of the C source code I write with hexadecimals. When it comes to Linux-based systems, console-based development software must be installed; this allows me to compile code on the fly, whether I need to fix something or make something better.

Four Architechures of Linux

As of June 2014, I am now running Debian Linux on four architechures:

  1. AMD64/x86-64
  2. ARM: ARMv6 and ARMv7
  3. PowerPC G4
  4. x86-32

Philippines: Very Affordable Linux PCs

Here in the Philippines, a real fact that is kept a secret, is that Linux-compatible computers are extremely cheap, but those computers have to be built from the ground, up. Majority, if not all computer retail shops in the Philippines, only know Microsoft Windows; PCs that don't have Windows drivers available are commonly sold VERY CHEAP, and those PCs are usually stored towards the back of the stores. How cheap? How about 75% CHEAPER than a new PC with Windows on it???

My Hitachi Flora PC

After the death of my eight year-old Compaq Presario M2000 laptop PC, I thought I would not be able to afford a decent computer to continue developing in Linux. I bought my Hitachi Flora PC for about USD $50 without a warranty, and Debian Linux works perfectly well on it. Soo well that my wife was overwhelmed how I built my 64-bit Linux system from the ground up, and I did this in the Philippines! I upgraded to 2GB RAM (from 1GB) and DVD burner (from CD reader) and it is still over 75% cheaper than the price of a hardware-similar PC with Windows XP/7/8 on it.

My Own Linux Support

Here in the Philippines, fellow Filipinos have asked me the question, "Who is your Linux support?" And my answer, has been and always will be, "I am!" Yes, I am my own Linux consultant, installer, and service technician. In the USA, I have major competition; but here in the Philippines, I am in my own World, if not, my own Galaxy.

The Future of MirandaSoft

Active Projects

Robotic Tagalog is an active project I am doing.

Retirement

It is now the year 2014 and I am not young, anymore. Though I have been a disabled person since 2004, my health problems have worsened and now plaguing the best of me. My ability to blog, including my ability to write this page, is now severely affected by rheumatoid arthritis and emotional depression. I wrote this page to show my memories, before I forget them, and to let other people know about my Linux life to further help others migrate to Linux. MirandaSoft has been a defunct business since 2006; now MirandaSoft is the label of my technical hobbies. Thanks for Reading and Have a Nice Day!

Marcos "Kuya Marc" Miranda
Original Founder of the 1992 MirandaSoft