First published — Jul 23, 2023
Last updated — Jul 23, 2023

Site purpose. Content organization. Brief history.

Table of Contents


This is a tech-related blog providing text and video tutorials on Unix, GNU/Linux, programming, automation, systems administration/DevOps, Free Software/Open Source, privacy, security, and ethics.

The landscape of IT has become too wide for anyone to cover multiple areas authoritatively and stay up to date over time. The topics discussed here are fundamental — everyone dealing with computers should be familiar with them.

The key to understanding complex topics is in completely and thoroughly understanding the basics.

This site is provided to inspire you to seek truth, depth, fun, and personal mastery in IT or any other field of your choosing.


Site content is organized into articles. There is a main menu at the top, accessible from every page, allowing navigation and searching.

Menu “Articles” displays all articles in a single page, sorted by categories. This is the current homepage of the site.

Menu “Tutorials” displays shorter and more action-oriended articles, likewise sorted by categories.

Menu “Tags” displays all articles sorted by tags.

Menu “Drafts” displays all articles that are currently considered needing improvements before publishing in the main categories.

Menu “Search” allows searching all articles by title, link, summary, description, and content.

Series and Tags

All articles are part of at least one series. Series are groups of related articles that should ideally be read in the suggested order the first time.

Tags are used to index all articles by subjects they describe, regardless of all their categorization.


GNU/Linux is a Unix-like operating system. It is Unix’ most widespread variant in use today.

Unix, GNU, and Linux, are terms of increasing specificity:

  • Unix nowadays usually refers to concepts

  • GNU refers to free (as in liberated) implementations of Unix concepts and programs

  • Linux refers to the free, Unix-like kernel called Linux

  • GNU/Linux refers to the most popular combination in operating systems we know today, which is GNU userland combined with Linux kernel

  • BSD refers to operating systems derived from traditional BSD Unix

Articles on this site use terms with the broadest applicability. For example, if a concept originates in Unix, such as the command line, it will be called the “Unix command line” rather than “Linux command line”, unless the context is specific to Linux.

This site is located at https://crystallabs.io/.

RSS feed is available at https://crystallabs.io/index.xml.

All HTML links external to this site are marked with a “fa-external” icon, such as https://www.eff.org/.

Articles may contain links to other resources. For convenience, at the end of each article, all links appearing in it are listed again, in order of appearance.

Brief History

I started my computer-related journey when I was 6, playing Commodore 64 games like Boulder Dash, Commando and Pitstop.

After many games on the Commodore 64, Atari 1040 STe, PC 386, and PC 486, I started programming in Basic and Visual Basic 3.0, to be followed over the years by C, Perl, Ruby, Python, and Crystal. For school or unavoidable work assignments, I have also used languages like Logo, Oberon, Java, JavaScript, and Node.js.

After getting a 14.400bps modem in ~1995 and experiencing the magic of Unix via a dial-up connection, I was decided on it. I started using GNU/Linux a significant percentage of time in 1998 and exclusively as the only OS for desktops and servers in 2001.

Some of my earliest documented adventures with Unix included translating the famous John Kirch’s 1998 paper “Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0 versus UNIX” to another language, and 1999 co-authoring a custom GNU/Linux distribution called lt1 that fit in 1.44MB (the size of a diskette) for diskless PC terminals.

To date I have accumulated 25+ years of professional experience using, programming, managing, and documenting Unix and Unix-like systems on and off the Internet. I have worked on a number of software projects while holding volunteering, development, consulting, architecting, and/or management roles.

Misc Notes

An unrelated, but interesting “About” section from an entirely different person on the internet, whose content I found succinct, can be found at https://decuser.github.io/about/.