Interview with Tom Grove (GroveITC.com)

Previously I mentioned that Tom Grove from Grove ITC kindly sold freebsdnews.com. I’ve (GvE) done a little interview about Tom’s (TG) interest and how he uses FreeBSD etc.

GvE: Can you tell a bit about yourself and your background?

TG: Currently I am am working in the R&D department of the largest mobile broadcasting company in the world.  I am constantly working with cutting edge technologies; both in the IT world and television world.  I attended Carlow University here in Pittsburgh after secondary school.  As for hobbies, I enjoy spending time with my wife, stepson and daughter.  I also love to play golf and racquetball as often as possible and I’ve started dabbling in the world of microcontrollers in the last year or two.

GvE: You’re running Grove IT Consulting. Can you tell us a bit more about it?

TG: Currently Grove IT Consulting is a side business that I started about two years ago.  I was generating enough business via word of mouth and friends that I needed to start to look a little more official.  I finally decided to put together a plan, get a business phone number, website and such and market a little.  I am the sole employee at this point and don’t necessarily want this to grow too large.  It’s just nice to make a little extra money doing something one enjoys.

GvE: You’re using FreeBSD. How did you find out about FreeBSD and when did you start using it? Do you use any other BSD’s or Linux?

TG: I started using FreeBSD back in the early 4.x days.  When I was a teenager I had some friends that invited me to some 2600 meetings in a town near Pittsburgh.  There were a bunch of really cool nerds there that helped me get into the world of Linux and the BSDs.  We worked on everything from OpenBSD to FreeBSD and Slackware to Debian. After that I was hooked on *nix.  When I graduated I made certain to find a job that allowed me to use it.  For the majority of my professional career I have been lucky enough to use Linux and FreeBSD on a daily basis.

GvE: How do you use FreeBSD? Is it used on your own servers and desktops? Do you install it on customer’s PC’s / Servers?

TG: I used to use FreeBSD as a desktop, however, I needed to run a few things that it couldn’t support.  Now I am running a Mac (don’t forget, Jordan Hubbard is their lead Unix Engieer now).  However, I make sure to stay up on my FreeBSD skills because we run FreeBSD on our mail servers, VPN server, Samba servers, print servers, and LDAP servers to name a few.  Whenever I get an opportunity to get FreeBSD on a box I do it.

FreeBSD has been so rock solid over the years for me that I have come to trust it in the harshest environments and for the most intense services.

I’ve also used FreeBSD to create custom routers based on embedded devices from Soekris Engineering.  I’ve used it to create appliances for various things and just love the architecture.  There is a beauty in knowing that things are always where one would expect them.

GvE: Is there anything that you’d like to see changed in or added to FreeBSD to make things easier and better for you?

TG: I would love to see FreeBSD get more support from the business community.  There are times when it is just not viable to use FreeBSD.  Either some device is not supported or some CTO hasn’t heard of it so it mustn’t be good.  It would be great to see businesses like Google, NetApp and Juniper really step up and let everyone know how they use and how much the use FreeBSD.  It would also be great to see companies like that donate more code back to the project.

GvE: Is there anything you’d like to say about your company, FreeBSD or anything else?

TG: First, thanks for what you do, Gerard.  FreeBSD evangelism is an incredibly important task and you do a great job at creating a buzz about it.  Also, if you are located in the western Pennsylvania area and have technical needs get in touch with me at http://www.groveitc.com or support[at]groveitc[dot]com.  FreeBSD, No Bikeshed!

Thanks, Tom, for selling the domain and giving your time for these questions.

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