colleague leaving the academia

Massimo Sandal is the person who introduced me to Linux. The people who know me in person will understand how much does this mean for me, since I totally am an hard core Linux Geek.

Almost 6 or 7 years ago, second year of bachelor, I joined a group of geek-lous students in the Biotec faculty, who had created a mailing list to discuss about Linux and free software and proposed to meet every now and then to install Fedora Core 1 or play with it. In practice, we ended up meeting only once or twice: but that was enough to lead me to the dark side and transform me into the Linux nerd I am now.

Since then, the open source world became very important to me. I remember clearly the day when something in my brain switched on and realized how much open source software there is available out there – and how many things I could learn by using it. The exact moment of that conversion was when I was reading the Zope book on the train back to my home town and I was playing with my laptop. I could not believe that there it was so much documentation and modules available for free: that was how the Microsoft’s blinkers fell for me. I like to say that, after that, the speed at which I improved my programming and computer skills boosted at least 5 or 10 folds.

So, I was surprised to read, in the Italian medias, about a post that Massimo has written in his blog on his decision to leave the academia. I am not sad about him leaving the research field:  it is a personal decision, I respect that. However, I am sad that a person like Massimo doesn’t find himself comfortable in the academic world.

What else can I say.. I wish him all the best, and I hope he will be able to find an even more geeky and nerdish job wherever he goes. Now it’s my turn to start converting new innocent souls to the dark Free Software side.. I already started doing it 🙂


  1. Hi,
    Didn’t remember about that list and Linux… thank you for that! I am so happy and honoured to have passed my geek heritage to someone else! 😀

    Don’t be too sad about the rest. I hope to keep in contact with science (and programming) as much as possible… And even if not, well, life is done to explore possibilities.

    I am still pursuing a bit of science with collaborators, here and there. Since you seem a skilled bioinformatician guy, do you have any experience with PAML and ancestral sequence reconstruction? If so, drop me a mail -we need to talk!

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