Introducing Tom Atkins, Assistant Program Director

My first computer was an Acorn Electron. This was in the days when 32kb of RAM and a 1MHz processor was a big deal! My dad and I camped outside the shop in Cambridge to get one of the first available. Thirty years later I feel just as excited as that eleven year old child, to be now helping out with an ambitious operating system that runs on a computer with 16,000 times as much memory, and costs 22 times less than the Electron: the amazing Raspberry Pi!

There are ambitious plans for arkOS. It will soon support more powerful hardware and will offer an ever increasing range of applications. My role is to help the arkOS community get the most out of the system. This means doing things like helping and listening to users, encouraging people who would like to contribute to the project, and developing collaborations with other groups working towards a decentralized Internet. I’ve worked in universities and colleges in the UK and Ireland where I’ve been responsible for delivering eLearning projects, web services and IT training. Building a community and getting people together to make software that’s easy and enjoyable to use is a complex and delicate task. I’m bringing the experience gained with these previous projects to help build on the incredible work that Jacob has started.

Much has been written here and elsewhere as to why Internet decentralization is an important goal, so I won’t go into that now. Having started a project not dissimilar to arkOS, but finding that it was too big a job for just one person, means that joining forces with arkOS is very exciting for me!

I’ve done a lot of Linux systems administration and spend my free time automating things with Bash and Python scripts. So you can expect to see me fixing bugs and tweaking apps as well as the more community oriented work. When I’m not on the computer, you’ll find me making wooden buildings, planting trees, running and cycling in the hills, and taking photographs of the beautiful Irish countryside. I have a couple of blogs: http://knitatoms.net and http://minktoast.net if you want to find out more. Or follow @knitatoms on Twitter.

Looking forward to meeting you on the forums!