I've studied Electrical Engineering and Geophysics at the Technical University of Braunschweig. During that time I had my first contact with Linux, which was at version 0.99pl13 in the early days. Due to my controller activities (my first self made processor board had an 8035 CPU with 128 bytes RAM and was a self-painted PCB) I started using Linux for measurement and control activities. Nevertheless, at that time I was more involved with analog electronics and magnetometer amplifiers than with software.
After some years of work at a company developing optical spectrometers for online process control, I've founded Pengutronix, which was one of the first companies in Germany who focussed entirely of using Linux for industrial applications.
At Pengutronix our main focus today is on the ARM and PowerPC architectures, although we have also done MIPS and x86 work for our customers. We follow a classical open source service and support business model (no vendor lock-ins, feeding back to the community whatever is possible, you know the game), helping industrial customers to learn about the possibilities of Linux, handling all the cross development stuff and building embedded systems in a reproducable and well defined way.
My first contact with Realtime on Linux was when Bernhard Kuhn had his first RT-Linux servo demonstration at a local Linux event we've organized in Braunschweig in 1999. I quickly joined the RTAI team, where my work was mostly focussed on testing and documentation. After several commercial projects with RTAI at Pengutronix it became quickly evident that the dual kernel approach and the technical and organisational base RTAI offered would not be a good base for the future, so the search for other solutions started somewhen around 2002. Being one of the founding members of the Open Source Automation Development Lab (OSADL), we are now focussing our realtime activities on RT-Preempt. Together with my colleague Luotao Fu, I've started the RT PREEMPT HOWTO, because we felt that there was some need for industrial users to have RT-Preempt explained in a more user-friendly way than "read lkml" ;).