http://anapnea.net is offering free Linux shell accounts to those that would like to apply. I read about this on Sunday morning (yesterday) via Digg and decided to give it shot. I joined the IRC channel (#anapnea on FreeNode) and queried cyraq asking about the application. It was a simple process, he asked why I needed the account (explaining that this is a standard application question) and I told him that I’m new to Linux, and for me, it’s a learning experience. After that, I just had to provide him with my desired username.
I figure sharing a system with others can teach me a few things, I looked at it from a newb’s point of view and here are some of the reasons I came up with for checking out Anapnea.
Community: The IRC channel is full of people buzzing about the service, asking questions, and giving each other help. It seems to be a combination of newish to seasoned Linux/Unix users that are excited about the service. If you’re just getting started with Linux, this is a great way to get some help. Everyone using that service is using the exact same software as you. If you have a question, ask, you’re almost sure to get an answer.
Introduction to Console Applications: You’ll have access to several well known communication applications. IRSSI, CenterICQ and others. These are common Linux tools for communicating on IRC and IM networks. You can read about some of them on the Anapnea home page. The apps are already installed for you, all you have to do is try them out. See what you like or don’t like. I would suggest reading up on IRSSI, if you’re totally green, it’s not the easiest application to configure. That said, it’s the IRC client I’ve been using since I first gave Linux a shot. It’s terrific!.
Resource Sharing: By sharing a system with others, you get a feel for the right and wrong things to do when on a multi-user system. Poking around in other people’s home dirs would fall into the “wrong” category. That is a sure way to get your account revoked. I watched somebody lose his account today because he was doing just that. You are permitted to protect your directory from peekers, and I would do so (
chmod 700 $HOME).
Introduction to SSH: SSH (Secure Shell) is the most common way to remotely log into a Linux server. If you haven’t yet made the jump to Linux, you might not even be aware of how useful SSH is (trust me, it’s amazing). Why not try it out, you can use an app like PuTTy on your Windows box to log into your account and muck about with Linux applications.
Customizing a BASH Environment: OK, this may not be for the super newbie, BASH is the shell you’ll be using to interact with the computer. There are [insert some insanely high, random number] of things you can do with BASH. Again, this comes in really handy if you haven’t got your own Linux box to play with but want to poke around. Not to worry if you really are 100% new to Linux, BASH doesn’t require customization to use it.
An account on Anapnea isn’t a replacement for your own Linux machine, you will only have 5 MB of storage and access to a limited number of applications. It is however, a great way to get your feet wet AND have some free web space out there on the Internet.
Another cool note, when asked if you’re a Gentoo user, you can proudly say Yes!
This morning, I spent a few minutes talking to cyraq, I wanted to know just why the hell he was offering this service, and maybe find out a little bit about him. It turns out his reason for starting Anapnea, was to help people who needed a shell account but didn’t necessarily have the means to buy one. If you’re not sure why anyone would need/want a remote shell account, I can offer an example. I have a friend who’s university won’t permit the use of IRC on their network. Being a student, he doesn’t have extra money for a shell account. This is a perfect solution for him, he can use IRC resources without violating the University’s rules.
The first two weeks of Anapnea’s life went well. News spread of its existence through word of mouth, people would sign up (who wouldn’t?) and a small community began to develop. Eventually, it was Dugg and In a period of 12 hours, cyraq went from being the sole administrator of 48 accounts, to the leader of a 3 person administration team that now had to manage 370 accounts (one of which I own). I can’t tell the story better than he, so…
(16:26) (mattds) and this was pretty much overnight?
(16:26) (cyraq) yeah, woke up at 3AM to get some water, and on the way checked my email
(16:26) (cyraq) You have 126 new emails.
(16:27) (cyraq) stayed up till 3PM
(16:27) (cyraq) went back to sleep at 6PM
(16:27) (cyraq) at one point, the emails were coming faster than i could answer them
I don’t have any info on the newest members of the team (lightdifference and Mike42), but I do know that cyraq is a young admin and by his own admission, very passionate about Linux. I think it’s great that he’s giving back to the community by offering this service. Another reason to embrace Linux and the people involved with it.
Disclaimer: I’m not a reporter, my apologies if that’s the lamest summary of an interview you’ve ever read