When Karim Allah Ahmed was 13 years old, he fell in love with computers. And just like a first love, everything about his newfound passion felt totally thrilling—and completely foreign. Linux was one of those things. While he didn’t know what it was, exactly, he felt an overwhelming urge to embrace it...
We recently announced the winners of the first-ever Linux Foundaiton Linux Training Scholarship Program . During the month of September, we are sharing their stories with you. We talk this week to Egypt-based Karim Allah Ahmed.
Blending Passion with Purpose
When Karim Allah Ahmed was 13 years old, he fell in love with computers. And just like a first love, everything about his newfound passion felt totally thrilling—and completely foreign. Linux was one of those things. While he didn’t know what it was, exactly, he felt an overwhelming urge to embrace it.
“I first read about Linux in a local computer magazine,” says Karim. “Initially, I thought it was a cool, new version of Windows. For a few days, I went around telling my friends that I was running Windows Linux on my machine.” Of course, as he read more, he quickly began to see the light. And as his understanding of Linux grew, his love for it deepened.
Today, this recent graduate of Mansoura University  has his head buried in technical documentation, scientific papers, and code. He’s writing a hypervisor for the ARM architecture . And he’s landed a dream job as a software engineer for cloud9ers.com . It’s a trajectory that feels light years away from that 13-year-old boy who couldn’t tell the difference between Linux and Windows. But for Karim, it’s been a totally natural progression.
Finding Linux Bliss
From physics and math to programming and virtualization, Karim has always found his place in the world by studying and doing exactly what he loves. “I’ve never really thought about what I do in terms of failures and successes,” he says. “I just follow my passions.” And now, as one of our 2011 Linux Training Scholarship winners , Karim will have the opportunity to pursue his Linux passion—and take it to the next level.
In our 5-day, hands-on Linux Kernel Internals and Debugging  Linux training class, Karim will immerse himself in the world of Linux internals, learning everything from kernel algorithms to modularization techniques. And even though he’s not currently working on kernel development in his new job, he’s more than a little excited about his upcoming course.
Putting Knowledge to Use
“I’m thrilled,” he says. “I've developed software in several layers of the stack, but I never have as much fun as when I’m doing kernel-level stuff.” Of course, there are also practical ways that the class will help him move forward. “Learning more about kernel internals will allow me to solve problems that I'm currently not capable of solving,” he says.
And while he’s not sure what solutions he’ll find, or where they might lead him, he’s certain of one thing. “As I’ve become more mature, I’ve discovered that I need more than passion; I also need purpose,” he says. “I want to do something useful for humanity.”
Your Advice Here
With his zeal for learning and his love for all things Linux, Karim seems like the perfect spokesperson for the next generation of Linux developers. But when pressed to give advice, he prefers the role of student, not teacher. “I really don’t think I’m the right person to give advice,” says Karim. “Maybe you could ask the Linux community and forward me their answers.”
And that’s your cue, readers. Share some words of wisdom below—and show your support for young developers like Karim, who will lead Linux into the future. We'll look forward to your comments.