One particular event stood out: Ciro made a small change to his teacher's course material, who blessed be him (dude's a legend, Ciro just noticed he has some Chinese publications with another French dude, e.g. https://www.amazon.co.uk/高效算法-应试与提高必修128例-克里斯托弗-Christoph-Durr/dp/B078SJQPVK "High-efficiency algorithm competitions 128 examples", did he write it the Chinese himself?? Must be of course to complement the notoriously low French professor salaries), made it available, and then Ciro gave him back the .tex file. Ciro was just a bit worried about how the teacher would be able to tell what he had changed in the file to validate the change. The teacher just said of course, "no problem, I'll just use
diff". Ciro had never heard of diff. Let alone Git of course, though yes, this was a bit early in Git's history version control systems had been around since forever of course. This was 2011 or 2012, about 4 or 5 years into a superior education curricula with various courses involving computers, some requiring quite a lot of "fill these empty functions" style programming. Education is a joke. Anyways, this was a prelude to exactly what Ciro wanted to do in OurBigBook.com.
Then not long afterwards, Ciro started playing with Linux. Perhaps a spark of motivation came from brief interactions with university computers that had one of those mysterious sounding UNIX operating systems. University should be forced to use only open source software and hardware in undergrad teaching courses by law BTW.
Then came an Ubuntu live disk on his own machine, and finally a measly 40GB dual book partition in a Microsoft Windows machine on a laptop. At first, it took a lot of time to learn all the crazy new terminal stuff! Yes, at this point, Ubuntu was already usable enough without the terminal, an accomplishment actually. But as a programmer, Ciro felt obliged to learn. Many hours were spent reading man pages at the library. But it all just felt so right, and sometimes powerful... true wizardry.
The brutal openness of it all. The raw high quality content. Ugliness and uselessness too no doubt. But definitely spark in a sea of darkness.