The People Who Support Linux: IT Manager Finds New Purpose with Raspberry Pi After Near-Fatal Fall

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After an accident last year left him with severe brain trauma, Alan Lumley is miraculously back at work as an IT Manager and even more serious about Linux.

Alan LumleyLumley awoke after two weeks in a coma, having survived a 12-foot fall on concrete stairs that smashed his skull. The doctors didn’t think he would ever work again, he said. When he regained full consciousness after two months in the hospital all he could think about was getting back to work in the server room at Outplay Entertainment, a social and mobile game development firm based in the U.K.

He would frequently check in on the game services systems from his hospital bed, he said, despite the company’s insistence that he rest. About five months later, Lumley returned to work. It was a miracle recovery, the chairman of the brain injury unit told him in June.

Now, he’s found a new purpose in life beyond his day job. He’s studying for his LPIC-1 certification and working on a side project developing a security entry system using fingerprint and facial recognition that’s managed by a Raspberry Pi device.

“I think I’m more focused than I was before, I don’t need certs to get work but I want to better myself,” Lumley said.

“I’m quite obsessed when it comes to learning,” he said. “At some point I want the whole alphabet after my name in certification letters.”

He’d had many ideas for side projects before the accident, he said, but never found the time to work on them. He initially bought a Raspberry Pi because there was a waiting list for them. Then he started tinkering with it and now runs three different operating systems on it.

He plans to spend the next year integrating biometrics applications and designing a relatively simple facial recognition system with two-step authentication for the Pi.  

“I’m using libface as facial recognition for Linux and cross referencing it with a mongoDB database,” Lumley said.

He sees his side project as one important way to give back to the Linux community. Joining The Linux Foundation was another way to show his support, he said. He also plans to take advantage of the custom @linux.com email address and discounts to Linux events and training.

“I am a firm believer of giving support to groups that are active in promoting the technology or tools that you are using,” he said via email. “ Without organizations such as the Linux Foundation there can be a lack of direction and support.”

Alan Lumley recently joined The Linux Foundation as a new individual member. Are you interested in membership? Sign up in October and receive 50% off your LinuxCon Europe registration.