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I am Gergely Polonkai (sometimes referred to as W00d5t0ck or Polesz), a software developer, systems engineer and administrator. I was born on 7 March, 1983 in Budapest, Hungary. I spent my life moving here-and-there in the country, and finally settled in Veresegyház.

You can reach me on gergely@polonkai.eu, or by phone on +36 (30) 7375-706. I fluently speak and write English and Hungarian and currently learning Icelandic.

I have graduated in 2001 from Táncsics Mihály Szakközépiskola, Szakiskola és Kollégium, an architecture high school based in Veszprém, Hungary. There, I learned about electricity and elevators, while getting my feet wet in the area of IT systems engineering. Together with some teachers, we developed the IT infrastructure of the school, building it from scratch with Windows XP based clients, and Debian GNU/Linux servers with Squid proxy, an Apache httpd web server, Exim+Courier IMAP based internal mailing and a Samba file server. Meanwhile, I have created the school’s first web page using Perl CGI, and later it’s replacement in PHP. Although I did that as a student, I consider it my first job.

My first contract was made in 2002 with a small Budapest based ISP that served Internet connection to a large warren. I have mastered Linux based firewalling and routing there using iptables, and tc for QoS. I have also created a web page for the company using PHP and MySQL.

After that I contracted with a small web development company in 2004. Here I was in the role of both a web developer and a systems administrator. I have mastered PHP there, together with MySQL administration. I also built a small router/firewall out of a PC for office needs.

My next job came in 2006, when I contracted with a small VoIP company developing a call center software based on Asterisk. My job here was to create a base system for this software as small as possible, while managing the old, Ubuntu based ones. For the new version we targeted Gentoo Linux because of its possible small size, and performance reasons.

The job that followed was with a world-wide IT services company in 2007, where I became a member of a large team supporting and administering several thousand servers, mostly based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server. There I mastered cluster technologies (both Heartbeat 2 and Red Hat Cluster), SAN, iSCSI and NFS based storages, Apache httpd and Tomcat web servers, administration of MySQL and Oracle 10g Databases, Bacula based backup, Windows 2003 Server and Windows Server 2008 (both standalone and cluster) with Active Directory, Group Policy, Microsoft Exchange Server 2005 and Microsoft SQL Server 2005, Xen Open Source virtualization, Citrix XenServer and XenApp, VMware ESXi and vSphere, Nagios monitoring (and monitoring in general), and last, but not least, Linux hardening (SELinux, firewalls of different kinds, fighting application security issues).

All this knowledge came in very handy, when I went to a leading Hungarian financial company in 2010. The IT infrastructure was in a very bad shape there, and my job was to rebuild the Linux parts from scratch. We utilized Debian GNU/Linux servers (both standalone and Heartbeat 2 clusters), Apache httpd web servers, Exim+Courier IMAP for mailing, Bacula based backup, MySQL and PostgreSQL database servers, Oracle Databases (both 10g and 11g), Microsoft SQL Servers (both 2005 and 2008), Windows 2003 Server and Windows Server 2008 (both standalone and clusters), Active Directory, Group Policy, centralised ESET NOD32 anti-virus, Windows cluster based file server with AD backend, WSUS, OTRS::ITSM helpdesk, Zabbix based monitoring, virtualization with Citrix XenServer, IT security solutions with SonicWall appliances, SELinux, Snort and iptables, Perl for system administration scripts, and PHP and the Symfony 2 framework for internal web development. Although much has changed in this list since then, it was my best and most challenging experience so far.

I left that company in 2013 to work as a freelancer developer and a systems engineer for a startup network monitoring company. Here we were building a help desk system using open source products like OTRS::ITSM, OpenLDAP, and Zabbix. I also dug my nose into Docsis based ISP networks and SIP-based telephony.

Unfortunately our main employer went bankrupt in 2014, so after a few months of freelancing I got a new job at the R&D division of a leading telecommunications company. My current role is pretty close to DevOps. Nowadays I’m developing a Django-based internal web application, while maintaining internal scripts written in both Perl, Python, bash and tcsh or trying to migrate the internal source code repositories from ClearCase to Git.

I left that company in 2016, as such a slow moving giant couldn’t really keep up with my pace. I signed with another startup creating games capable of analysing work behaviour. Here we mainly use Flask, Cassandra, and Tensorflow. Unlike the previous one, this is a true learning organization, and given its size, it is capable of taking quick turns if market changes (and that’s exactly what I need).

In my free time, I wander in forests, take pictures, and sometimes manipulate them with the GIMP. Sometimes I write short fantasy or sci-fi novels using LibreOffice. I am also developing some software in C, Python, and Vala, whose source code is managed with Git. When I’m not in the mood for writing, I go and check out the news on several technical areas, mostly IT and engineering, or give a try to a new programming language in the name of “why not?”.

Gergely Polonkai is a systems engineer of a telco company, and also a freelancer self- and software developer.

He is learning about different IT subjects since the late 1990s. These include web development, application building, systems engineering, IT security and many others. He also dug his nose deeply into free software, dealing with different types of Linux and its applications, while also writing and contributing to some open source projects.

On this site he is writing posts about different stuff he faces during work (oh my, yet another IT solutions blog), hoping they can help others with their job, or just to get along with their brand new netbook that shipped with Linux.

“I believe one can only achieve success if they follow their own instincts and listen to, but not bend under others’ opinions. If you change your course just because someone says so, you are following their instincts, not yours.”