There Once Was a Man Called Bruno…

…he was my friend.

I never shook his hand. I never heard his voice. I never even saw a photograph of him. My only visual connection with Bruno was his avatar that he used everywhere online. Yet, he was my friend. He was a friend to many. He was a mentor and teacher to even more.

Bruno Knaapen of Amsterdam was a graphic artist by trade, but his first love was Linux. He was particularly enamored with Mandriva, for its ease of use; and Slackware, for its legendary stability. As far as I know, Bruno was self-taught. I don’t believe he had any formal training in Linux, yet he was a guru by any definition of that geek compliment. If Bruno didn’t know the answer to someone’s query, he would make it his mission to find the answer.

He learned by teaching and taught by example. He ran numerous machines with numerous distributions of Linux installed on them. He experimented and tinkered continuously. He learned. He then passed his learning and experience on to anyone who asked. Bruno was probably the most selfless individual I have ever met. He seemed to thrive on teaching others what he knew.

On a cool Saturday morning earlier this year, Bruno died in his home surrounded by his loved ones. He had been diagnosed just a few weeks previously with terminal cancer. He was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to say good bye to his family and friends. Most folks don’t get that option. I was very fortunate to have spent a month’s worth of late evenings/early mornings chatting with Bruno via email before he died. I saved every one of those emails.

It’s only fitting that the very first post that I write here in this blog regarding Linux be about Bruno, the man who taught me a large portion of what I know about that topic. He was my friend. I miss him.

Until next time…

~Eric

*This article was the first article I wrote on my old Nocturnal Slacker (@Lockergnome) blog. I wanted to make it my first article on this new blog also. Thank you, Bruno… for teaching us many things; not just Linux. :)

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5 Comments on “There Once Was a Man Called Bruno…”

  1. comhack says:

    Excellent repost. Bruno was a dear friend and mentor to myself and many others. HE taught me the whole ideal of opensource and giving back to the community. Thanks for posting this.

    You will be forever missed Le Professeur Pingouin!!

    • Indeed. Bruno was DA’ MAN! I had to republish this post here on this new version of Nocturnal Slacker. In a way, none of this would have come about without Bruno’s help. ;)

  2. [...] There was once a man called Bruno, he was my friend. He was also a serious GNU/Linux advocate and teacher. He selflessly spent many hours of his daily life teaching others about GNU/Linux. Many of us who knew him learned from him and were inspired by him to carry on his tradition of teaching. While Bruno may no longer be with us, part of the legacy he left us is his Tips for Linux Explorers site. Yes, some of the info there is a bit dated, but most of it is still very relevant and helpful. [...]

  3. [...] in Austin, Texas saw that child and wanted to do something to help. Ken had been a student of Bruno Knaapen of Amsterdam, a tireless, selfless teacher of All Things Linux. Ken created something that served to provide [...]


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