The People Who Support Linux: Attorney Uses Linux to Aid Firm’s Data Analysis

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Employment attorney Ahmed Minhaj first started using Linux back in 2001 because he appreciated the philosophy behind Linux and other open source projects. He was also looking for an alternative to the buggy and unstable Microsoft Windows and MS Office.

Ahmed Minhaj attorney“One part of me thought that the availability of options would improve the products that were out there,” he said via email. “Another part of me was probably just looking to be different.”

His wife now cites his preference for Linux as an example of his quirkiness, he said. He is an Ubuntu 12.04 user but he’s tempted to try Korora, Mint, or “any other distros that Linux users get excited about,” he said.

His favorite desktop programs include LibreOffice, Rhythmbox, Banshee and GnuCash. But he has also recently turned to Linux for data analysis.

Because of his engineering background Minhaj is often called on to run numbers for his employer of two years, Chicago-area law firm Littler Mendelson. He recently wrote a program in Octave, using gVim as his editor, to perform specific statistical analyses and create reports in LaTeX files.  

“Considering how simple the 3-page reports are, it was probably overkill to learn LaTeX and additional Octave programming just to automate their creation,” Minhaj said. “But I just got tired of the previous method, which involved a lot of tedious cutting and pasting among other repetitive tasks.”

The new program has already saved him and his clients hours of work, he said.  The only catch is that the firm uses Windows and moving client data to his own computer is “a big no-no,” he said. So he has to run the Octave program remotely through Cygwin instead.

Regardless of the application, he’s used a Linux desktop off and on while continuing to make donations to his favorite open source projects. Minhaj recently joined the Linux Foundation as an individual member and considers it one more way to show his support.