Linked by Jordan Spencer Cunningham on Sat 11th Apr 2009 20:55 UTC
Linux Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols at Computer World asks himself when he first started using Linux after attending the Linux Foundation Summit where several others were asked the same question. The Linux Foundation has posted a video of some of the answers; boy, do I feel young.
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by sbenitezb on Sat 11th Apr 2009 21:14 UTC
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I knew about Linux before '96, but I could only get to it by that time. It was an Infomagick 6 CD set with Debian, Slackware and Red Hat. I used it with uucico to download Fidonet messages through my local BBS and then used some clone of GoldED to read the messages. That was real nice and was all console stuff.

Then I tried the X Window thing, back when you had to run in your DOS, the X Windows with FVWM looked like Windows 95, almost. I didn't like it.

I remember choosing RedHat out of my own lack of knowledge, doing several reinstallations after screwing the system (not really, but what did I know).

Reply Score: 3

RE: 1996
by darknexus on Sat 11th Apr 2009 21:36 UTC in reply to "1996"
darknexus Member since:

Same here, back in January of 1996. I think it was Slackware 3.6 (might have been 3.5, can't remember now). I started playing with it because I'd had a shell account on my dial-up ISP (remember those?) and I'd really started to like UNIX. Then they discontinued shell accounts and wouldn't make an exception, so there went my UNIX.
Well, I wasn't going to stand for that, so I started looking up x86 UNIX-like oses. I had a Pentium 166 at the time, 32mb ram and an S3 Virge GX video card. It had a 6.4 gb hard drive. I looked at FreeBSD, NetBSD, and Linux, and eventually decided to give Slackware a go, for the simple reason that I could use the zipslack variant on an UMSDOS filesystem, meaning I wouldn't have to backup and partition my hd just to try it out. Just unzip the file, edit the linux.bat's loadlin command line, and fire it up.
Well, I was in heaven. My very own UNIX-like system, coming from one who was still using DOS and Windows 3.11 as my primary os, it was just amazing. It was slow (umsdos filesystems were a hack at best) and it was a royal pain getting my ISO sb16 sound card working (manual isapnp configuration, *shudder*). Once it was working, though, it was infinitely more stable than windows 95 was.
I've used many distributions since then, as well as all of the *BSDs and Solaris. For the longest time, Slackware remained my favorite do-it-yourself distro... up until I discovered Archlinux. These days, I use Arch for machines I want to have total control over, and Ubuntu for those times when I just want a nice Linux desktop that will work with little fuss. I alternate between Mac OS X and Ubuntu for my desktop usage, though lately I've been making a concerted effort to try and go OS X-free, as while I like the os I don't care much for Apple as a company.
Anyway, that's a brief overview of my beginnings with Linux.

Reply Score: 2

by Thom_Holwerda on Sat 11th Apr 2009 21:17 UTC
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Somewhere around 2001 or 2002, Mandrake-something. Bought a magazine specifically because it came with Linux.

Edited 2009-04-11 21:17 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE: Mandrake
by segedunum on Sun 12th Apr 2009 16:33 UTC in reply to "Mandrake"
segedunum Member since:

Yep, I started off with Mandrake in 2001. It hung during the installation before I realised it was Chaintech BIOS problem.

I'd used Linux before then but that was the first time I'd installed and ran my own system because I wanted to learn so I don't think 'using' really qualified.

Edited 2009-04-12 16:40 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Comment by abstraction
by abstraction on Sat 11th Apr 2009 21:19 UTC
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I had to resort to the distro timeline.

I guess around 2000 for me but i didnt start using it until 2004 =)

Reply Score: 3

RE: Comment by abstraction
by ironix on Sun 12th Apr 2009 08:54 UTC in reply to "Comment by abstraction"
ironix Member since:

Thanks for the chart. Since Slackware was 1.0 in July of 1993, I'll have to venture a guess that it was before Slackware 1.0, still in 1993.

I remember getting a copy from a fellow FidoNet BBS node who lived nearby. I had to make 60+ floppy disk images to install the thing. Once I did get it installed, it took me some time to get X11 to run. =D

Reply Score: 1

RE: Comment by abstraction
by WereCatf on Sun 12th Apr 2009 12:07 UTC in reply to "Comment by abstraction"
WereCatf Member since:

I had to resort to the distro timeline.

I am not at all sure when I started using Linux myself.. I do remember it was before 2.4, but I can't remember if it was before 2.2. I think I tried Linux for the first time in -98, but started using it more in -99. My, my, it's such a long time ago ^^ And darn, Linux has taken strides forward in some areas, and still seems to be in exactly the same situation as back then in others ;)

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by abstraction
by orfanum on Sun 12th Apr 2009 14:51 UTC in reply to "Comment by abstraction"
orfanum Member since:

Yup, thanks for providing that link, helped a lot to place myself chronologically:

Mandrake 7.0 around early 2001. I actually bought it!

Gosh, I feel old and young at the same time, having been a Noob for 8 years now...

Reply Score: 2

Oh I feel OLD NOW!!!
by christianhgross on Mon 13th Apr 2009 16:30 UTC in reply to "Comment by abstraction"
christianhgross Member since:

Thanks to your timeline (actually thanks ;) ) I FEEL REALLY OLD!!!

The first Linux distribution I tried to install and it failed was Yggdrasil. I remember that distribution because I was in the UK and it was distributed with a magazine as a new and interesting operating system. I was game and tried to install it...

Reply Score: 1

Red Hat / Mandrake
by lqsh on Sat 11th Apr 2009 21:23 UTC
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For me it became a hobby in 1998, when Red Hat became available as a downloadable ISO (via dial-up). I soon switched to Mandrake as I found it beautiful and more easy to use. That was until Corel Linux was released! Wow!

I also found QNX cool at that time.

I still wait for a distro that 'just works'. I'm losing some faith in Linux and therefore have dropped Linux/Windows for OS X.

Edited 2009-04-11 21:25 UTC

Reply Score: 3

Hard to say
by JMcCarthy on Sat 11th Apr 2009 21:24 UTC
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Maybe 97 or 98 for the first try on my own system, others before that. Switched sometime early this decade.

I have concrete memories of Win 3.X; first time I used it, last time, stuff I did with it, etc. but don't really have any concrete early memories with Linux, even though I've used it longer and it's been far more important to me. I think it's because I may have brushed it off as something inconsequential when I first came across it.

Reply Score: 2

Computer lab
by Parry Hotter on Sat 11th Apr 2009 21:29 UTC
Parry Hotter
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The university's computer lab, 1995. Mostly Sparcs running Solaris, but a couple of x86 machines running Linux of some kind, I don't recall what distro.

Reply Score: 1

RedHat 5.2
by OSGuy on Sat 11th Apr 2009 21:30 UTC
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My very first Linux was RedHat 5.2 and I think that's around 2000 or something? Then I saw pictures of the beautiful Mandrake 6.0 which was based on RedHat but with KDE on top. I started experimenting with the shell, I remember reading a book about Unix and experimenting on Linux.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by dgarcia42
by dgarcia42 on Sat 11th Apr 2009 21:30 UTC
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Late summer, early fall of '92 I think it was. I have fond memories of my roommate and I downloading floppies using 20 machines in the lab to download them in parallel. I think we were using TAMU at that point. I had a vt100 clone that I plugged into the serial port of his dx2/66 box so that we could share his machine ;)

Reply Score: 3

RE: Comment by dgarcia42
by helf on Sun 12th Apr 2009 00:13 UTC in reply to "Comment by dgarcia42"
helf Member since:

lol, now that is awesome ;)

Reply Score: 2

by lopisaur on Sat 11th Apr 2009 21:32 UTC
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The first one was Slackware, purchased around 1994 from Walnut Creek CD-Rom.
Then a break, total switch to FreeBSD around 2000, then back to Linux in 2006. One of my home servers is still running FreeBSD, along with a newer one running OpenSolaris.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Ufff
by Doc Pain on Sun 12th Apr 2009 18:15 UTC in reply to "Ufff"
Doc Pain Member since:

The first one was Slackware, purchased around 1994 from Walnut Creek CD-Rom.

Something similar here: Slackware on 2 CDs from a "POWER!-CD LINUX" published by Sybex along with a magazine for the price of 29,95 DM (ISBN 3-8155-9901-6 EAN 9783815599013, if someone is interested). It featured kernel 2.0.32, X 3.1.1 and Slackware 3.4.

To me, this was the first time when everything in my computer worked exactly as intended, and much faster than before. Software like LaTeX made it easy for me to create documents with formulars that looked excellent (on a HP Laserjet 4). Even utilizing a floppy tape streamer was no problem, and graphics was fast. Especially for multimedia purposs it was great. Remember that it was the hardware of those times (usually along with DOS + "Windows 3.1" or "Windows '95"), and leaving compiling & co. aside, today's computer don't "feel" significantly faster to me...

Later on, I tried other Linux distros, but found that I liked Slackware most.

Then a break, total switch to FreeBSD around 2000, ][...]

Another interesting parallel, for me with FreeBSD 4.0 the "end of Linux" arrived, and I did the complete switch.

[...] then back to Linux in 2006. One of my home servers is still running FreeBSD, along with a newer one running OpenSolaris.

Finally, I have to apologize that "Windows" was no topic for me - I never had it, I never used it. Coming from the mainframe (and had some UNIX experiences there), my PC times started with DOS. I made the DOS work "like UNIX" with tools like NDOS.COM (Norton provided nice utilities in the distant past), and after that wasn't enough for me, I switched to Linux, and later on to FreeBSD. Solaris and IRIX accompanied my "career", but I always have to say thank you to Slackware which I may consider the basic source of my UNIX knowlegde - the beginning of the learning journey. English language, programming, standardization... the roots of evil. :-) No no, honestly. If this particular Linux hadn't raised my interest in computers, I would surely soon had kicked the stupid stuff out of my room. :-)

And today, when I think I should pay more attention to what's going on in Linux world, I sometimes consider to build a machine and give some Linux, maybe Slackware, another spin. Reading OSNews, I'm always impressed about how good Linux develops. But there are things where FreeBSD and Solaris are simply better, and now I have the "problem" that especially these things do matter to me. While Linux is superior to other operating systems in many regards, I would wish that it improves in those things, and then I would surely use it regularly again. But again, it's just that I'm too lazy to switch again. =^_^=

Reply Score: 2

An old fogey
by csixty4 on Sat 11th Apr 2009 21:32 UTC
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Some time in 1994, I downloaded a set of "boot" and "root" floppy images off a BBS. I played around with them, but I was kinda lost. Then, two things happened.

First, I got an account at an ISP. Back then, Internet access mainly meant you dialed into a service and were dropped at a UNIX shell. So, I learned a little about *nix from playing around with that server. Second, I found a set of Linux CDs at a computer store.

The CDs sat unused until I went to college in the Fall of 1995, and met a bunch of wild, bearded UNIX geeks. We got Linux going on my 386, and I started exploring. My roommate still gives me crap about recompiling the kernel. I'd start compiling Friday night, go home for the weekend, and come back Sunday to see it either just finishing up or failed with some error.

I didn't touch Linux again until the late 90s, and ran it as my primary OS for a while. It's come a long way since those early days.

Reply Score: 1

RE: An old fogey
by TheLastYogurt on Mon 13th Apr 2009 00:02 UTC in reply to "An old fogey"
TheLastYogurt Member since:

My experience was somewhat similar to yours.

The "what" and the "when": Slackware in 1994 (don't remember which version). I was 16, and I chose Slackware because it was the total DIY distro, but actually I was in over my head. ;) I was also really intrigued by 386BSD, but didn't have a box to run it on.

In 1994 (my junior year of high school), I took a FORTRAN class in which the students entered into mentorships with scientists at Sandia National Labs. This was part of a program in New Mexico called the Supercomputing Challenge--a truly excellent way for kids to learn that you can do good and amazing things with powerful computers. With accounts on SNL and LANL boxen, we cut our teeth on SunOS and OSF/1. I had previously only read about UNIX, and was actually mystified by it. It had so much arcane potential. Then I got to discover first-hand that I loved UNIX, and was really excited to discover Linux and open-source BSDs. I experimented with Slackware and Debian at home, and compared notes with two other programmer/hacker types. After that, I wanted to try every UNIX flavor I could. I also seem to recall complaining to the sysadmin at Sandia National Labs because he wasn't shadowing passwords. ;) Two years later I installed Debian (I think) on my college roommate's PC (at his request).

Sometimes it's hard to stay positive about computing technology, but thinking back to those days never fails to remind me that, at its best, Linux brings a sense of adventure and discovery that every computer professional should have. When I entered the workforce as a web consultant, I was surprised and disappointed to find that very few programmers were "hackers" (in the proper sense of the word). They went to school, studied Java, and that was what they knew. For me, Linux and open-source computing represent everything that was, and is, exciting about computing--alternative or otherwise.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: An old fogey
by celia on Tue 14th Apr 2009 15:18 UTC in reply to "RE: An old fogey"
celia Member since:


A colleague forwarded your comments here. I am Celia Einhorn, a program manager for the Supercomputing Challenge.

Yes, we will be 20 years old next year and going strong.

Are you really busy this week? Do you have time to judge a Best Web presentation competition? If so, could you please write to and let us know?

May we use this quote on our webpage <>

In 1994 (my junior year of high school), I took a FORTRAN class in which the students entered into mentorships with scientists at Sandia National Labs. This was part of a program in New Mexico called the Supercomputing Challenge--a truly excellent way for kids to learn that you can do good and amazing things with powerful computers.

Looking forward to hearing from you!


Reply Score: 1

RE: An old fogey
by hurdboy on Mon 13th Apr 2009 13:30 UTC in reply to "An old fogey"
hurdboy Member since:

Would have been late '94/early '95 for me, too. Coming from OS/2.

I *think* I was running SLS or a very, very early Slackware release (which my godfather had mailed me on about 30 floppies), but switched to a 1.x version Slackware after I found it on CD in a bookstore. Central Pennsylvania wasn't exactly a computing hotbed.

Used it pretty regularly until about '97, when I got off the Unix (and pretty much computers, in general) bandwagon for about a year and a half. Work, school, girls were bigger time occupiers....

In college, however (97-02), I used a variety of different things. Pretty much everything important on campus ran on either SunOS/Solaris or OSF/Tru64. I also used OPENSTEP (on real NeXT hardware, even) in some of the computer labs early on. Towards the end of my time in college, I was using Debian on my home stuff, RedHat at school.

Since then, I've branched out quite a bit. I became friends with a group of BSD fanatics, which led me through the various BSD flavors. I admit that I really have developed a fondness for NetBSD, in particular. I also bought a Macintosh around the time that OS X 10.1 was released, and have had various macs around since. Screwing around with old Apple and Sun hardware is part of the reason I've grown to like NetBSD so much. When I first tried it, my response was, "Is this all there is?" Yeah, in the base install, that's all there is. But it's amazingly consistent, and what works on one platform, with a very few exceptions, works exactly the same on another. That's not the case with Linux (try installing on PA-RISC, sometime).

These days, I still run mostly Debian on my Linux machines. Do have a couple of MythTV boxes running Ubuntu.

Reply Score: 1

by jaylaa on Sat 11th Apr 2009 21:33 UTC
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I bought a set of MKLinux for my mac in '98 but was too scared to partition my hard drive. Finally, in 2003 I tried it. Since I had no clue about how quickly Linux and it's desktop environments evolve I actually thought that it would still be relatively up to date. People were still using Windows 98, after all. After finding out that it was completely obsolete I installed Yellow Dog.

Reply Score: 3

Ahh, the memories...
by Theodric on Sat 11th Apr 2009 21:36 UTC
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'96, I think-- if that stupid girl in Jurassic park could run UNIX well then by FSM so could I (was 10 when that movie came out, but I only saw it a little later and it took a few years and some poking around in the Western Illinois U. library before I got my hands on a distro). My first really working Linux box was a CAF Aqualite II 386SX 25MHz laptop with 4MB RAM, 120MB HDD and some pathetic Cirrus Logic video card that would not run X but would run sasteroids! Kernel 1.3, I do recall that, and it was Slackware. And I completely did not understand it :-D

From there, a copy of RedHat loaned to me by the CEO of my ISP, and further to Mandrake (after a short-lived foray into Open/FreeBSD), then IRIX (which I still adore and run), NeXTStep 3.3, OpenStep 4.0, 4.2, and back to Progeny Debian, vanilla Debian, DeMuDi Debian (I'd hit college by then and was majoring in Music Performance: cello) and finally OSX with the gift of a G4 iMac - although <10.1.5 was so painfully slow that I ran Yellow Dog on it with bits of Debian/ppc shoehorned in nearly until Jaguar came out. I'm using OSX now, and I'm a full-time Linux admin so I don't feel the need to run it on my main desktop anymore ;)

Edited 2009-04-11 21:36 UTC

Reply Score: 1

Comment by orestes
by orestes on Sat 11th Apr 2009 21:39 UTC
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I was toying with Linux as a curiosity as as early as fall/winter 92 with distros like SLS and Slack, but I never got serious about using it for practical things until the Redhat 5.x days.

Edited 2009-04-11 21:40 UTC

Reply Score: 2

by danieldk on Sat 11th Apr 2009 21:44 UTC
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The first time I heard and had a copy of Linux. Being far too young, I failed to install it on our 2MB RAM machine. The year after it, we expanded our machine to 4MB RAM. Besides much rejoice that we could finally play Doom (I think that was really the motivation to beg my parents to buy more memory) I retried installing Slackware Linux, and that time it worked. Not long after I bought one of the first Linux books, and slowly started picking it up. This was pre-Slackware 2.0 at the very least. The years after I tried many distributions through the Infomagic Linux Developer's Resouce CD sets, though Slackware was my mainstay.

A few years later (apparently 1996) I bought a FreeBSD 2.1.6 CD set, which was incredably fun. We didn't have an Internet connection, I remember picking source tarballs from various CDs (Slackware and Infomagic CDs often came with TSX-11 and Sunsite snapshots) and trying to get them to compile with the FreeBSD ports tree.

Of course, compared to then, people are spoiled ;) , installing Linux is a breeze these days. Though, getting your sound server to work ok in all circumstances is a different story :p.

Edited 2009-04-11 21:45 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: ~1993
by Bruno the Arrogant on Sun 12th Apr 2009 00:33 UTC in reply to "~1993"
Bruno the Arrogant Member since:

I think that was about the same time I found it - 1992 or 1993. I was a mainframe guy who was tasked with supporting a small network of Sun boxes running a case tool. I was afraid to experiment on the Sun's, and I'd read some things about Linux in comp.os.unix. I downloaded SLS (the only distro available at the time), which took about a week over a 9600 baud modem, and installed it on an extra drive on a i386. It was pretty ugly and crude, and looked a lot more like a SunOS-BSD type unix than the SysV clone it eventually became. I think the kernel version was 0.99pl12, or some such....

Reply Score: 1

about 7 years ago
by Ding on Sat 11th Apr 2009 21:46 UTC
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I started with BeOS first, just fooling around. Then got into Linux maybe with Ubuntu. I've tried many distros, using which ever works best with my hardware. I have an old junk case with open access and 11 hard drives mounted, plus 6 drives that slip in. So here I am 7 years later, and my favorite is still Ubuntu, Gnome, and Synaptic.

Reply Score: 1

RE: about 7 years ago
by danieldk on Sat 11th Apr 2009 21:53 UTC in reply to "about 7 years ago"
danieldk Member since:

That must have been another distribution, since the first stable Ubuntu version is about four and a half years old ;) .

Reply Score: 2

SuSE 5.3
by PLan on Sat 11th Apr 2009 21:47 UTC
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I think the first time I used Linux was after reading a review in Personal Computer World's (UK) *nix column and decided to send away for a SuSE 5.3 box, so around '98 (?). Needless to say I was completely bowled over by it and ran it as my main desktop for a number of years.

Edited 2009-04-11 21:49 UTC

Reply Score: 2

by WorknMan on Sat 11th Apr 2009 21:56 UTC
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My first time was Slackware in 1996. I tried using the color text install first, but never could get it to recognize the CD rom drive. (This was before the time of bootable CDs).

After a couple days of uttering profanities and pulling my hair out, I switched to the black & white install and finally got it up and running. I never did get XWindows up though.

A couple years later, I tried again (can't remember which distro) and got KDE v1 up and running by compiling it and QT from source. I was pretty proud of myself ;)

Linux has certainly come a long way since then, but I have not (as of yet) switched to it as my primary OS.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by flav2000
by flav2000 on Sat 11th Apr 2009 22:01 UTC
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Start around 2000 for me when I need to study TCP/IP for a university course. My first distro was Mandrake 7.2, shortly move to Red Hat when Mandrake 8.0 switched to early 2.4 kernel (2.4.2) and manage to break almost everything I have setup.

By about 2002 I starting using Gentoo and never looked back since. Still using Gentoo today.

Reply Score: 1

Summer 19998
by twm_bucket on Sat 11th Apr 2009 22:02 UTC
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Caldera Desktop Linux w/KDE 1.1 then Libranet for ages until around 2004 when I went to Debian.

Then in 2009, from Debian to Windows Vista. Funny how that worked out ;)

Edited 2009-04-11 22:02 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE: Summer 19998
by reez on Mon 13th Apr 2009 11:34 UTC in reply to "Summer 19998"
reez Member since:

Wow, 19998!
So you aren't using it now?

Reply Score: 1

7 years ago too
by Elv13 on Sat 11th Apr 2009 22:04 UTC
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I heard about that piece of code that was trying to steal some of the "excellent Microsoft Windows 98" (compared to DOS and 3.1) market share a couple of time before that. But it was in 2002 when I first used alternative OS (solaris was the first). I did hate solaris (8), I was forced to use it, but I it did suck (on desktop). The only cool thing in it was that KDE (2.2) thing had a filemanager that was able to do everything.

2 years later, I got a trojan that killed my windows be deleting every .exe file. That was too much, before closing windows, I downloaded a Mepis Live-cd and reinstalled nero (the first one was deleted by the trojan) and burned my first distribution. I never used Windows again on my laptop and desktop. The first day, the first thing I did in linux was trying to upgrade to the new xorg (from xfree86). I broke my X and spend 2 week learning the command line because I had no X server and I WANTED xorg. I did not knew about APT, so I compiled every ****** deps by hand. After those 2 week, I did learn: command line, how linux work, every damn config file, how to compile an application, how to debug gcc error and how to code in C and C++ (ok, not code, but fix errors). I was 15 and had time to lose, so it was not too frustrating. When I got Xorg working, I figured out that FGLRX did not support real transparency (why I wanted xorg so much, as an eye candy fan)... The support came only 2 yeras later with the open source radeon driver, but I did not care anymore, from that day on, I was a real geek ;) .

Now, I work for a Linux firm, use Linux and participate to some OSS projects.

Reply Score: 2

Red Hat 5.1
by muda on Sat 11th Apr 2009 22:11 UTC
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Still got the disks and book and stickers and the box stuffed somewhere. Maybe 1997 or '98. Also tried Debian and other distros out there aroung that time.

Unfortunately I had a quite few unsupported hardware so I left Windows on my system for internet and stuff. Winmodems, anyone?.

More unfortunately I received a TV card for free (and I didn't have TV set at the time). The software that came with it was not so good and when Be was giving their system away for free I tried it out. It was rather unfortunate that with BeOS I could surf the web and watch TV at the same time. Unfortunate in the sense that it spoiled me for good. I've never found an OS after that time to use as main system and not get annoyed with.

Back to Linux, I still keep a spare partition around to experiment with Linux now and then when new distros are released and it still feels like that Red Hat 5.1. Issues are different though. No winmodems or TV cards anymore, but bluetooth, smardcards &c...

Reply Score: 1

RE: Red Hat 5.1
by StephenBeDoper on Sat 11th Apr 2009 23:35 UTC in reply to "Red Hat 5.1"
StephenBeDoper Member since:

Almost the exact same experience here - bought a Linux book that came with RH 5.1 around 97 or 98. Despite the many years passed (and litres of alcohol consumed) since then, I've still never managed to forget the command "rpm -ivh --force".

Reply Score: 2

Since about 1994
by cybervegan on Sat 11th Apr 2009 22:23 UTC
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I was working as a computer technician at a university, when a colleague installed an early release of slackware on a spare 386 we had in our lab. It took him ages to download all the floppies using Kermit, and when he eventually got it going (with xfree86 too) the most interesting thing about it to me was the screen-savers!

We played round on this a fair bit over the next year or so, but it wasn't until a year or two later that I then managed to get hold of the first version of the book Red Hat Linux Unleashed, which came with an installation CD. It was often a pain getting a boot floppy that had the right cd drivers on it, but I got it installed on my home PC and eventually got a network running too.

Later (about 1997) I designed and ran our first "net-lab" - a suite of networked PC's separated from the campus network, which was intended for teaching network operating systems, amongst which was RedHat, probably v2 or 3.

Been using it for "fun" ever since, moving from RH to Mandrake and then to Ubuntu, but trying various others along the way too (Fedora, CentOS, Debian...). Now, for my sins, I'm the pet linux geek at an IT consultancy in West Bromwich.

Reply Score: 1

Bondi Blue iMac...
by thavith_osn on Sat 11th Apr 2009 22:25 UTC
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Back in 98 I got a Bondi Blue iMac and a year later found Yellow Dog online so grabbed a copy of that, I think it took quite a few hours to download, maybe 10 or more, but was well worth it.

Linux (even back then) was a big step up from Mac OS 9 (well, in some areas anyway)... I remember the PPC versions of Linux were a little behind their Intel cousins...

I would have probably stayed with Yellow Dog (or some variant), but Apple released the beta of OS X...

I install Ubuntu these days on old PC hardware or in Parallels...

Reply Score: 2

RedHat 5.0
by DrillSgt on Sat 11th Apr 2009 22:27 UTC
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My first distro in use was RH 5.0. I had just gotten cable, and needed a simple firewall setup in order to use NAT for my internal network. Since the home routers were not yet available, this fit the bill perfectly for the newly available cable internet.

Reply Score: 2

12 years ago
by CrLf on Sat 11th Apr 2009 22:28 UTC
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My first contact with Linux was in late '97 at the university. All the computer science department's computers had some version of Slackware installed. Which is kind of interesting, since few of them had Windows (95) installed (dual-boot) and nobody used it. Now I know that most of them still dual-boot Linux, but most students just stick to Windows unless some course work demands Linux (which is sad, and was a trend that I experienced first hand while I was still a student).

A few months later, around Christmas '97 I bought (yes, bought) a Red Hat 5.0 boxed set, from which I still have both the CDs and the printed manual and became a full-time Linux user.

Funny enough, I dropped Linux on the desktop a couple of years ago (but, as a sysadmin, I'm still a server-side Linux believer).

Reply Score: 2

yggdrasil fall 93
by ralsina on Sat 11th Apr 2009 22:35 UTC
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Then slack.

Reply Score: 1

by purplesky on Sat 11th Apr 2009 22:38 UTC
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my first time using Linux was in 2003 or maybe 2004, it was a Portuguese distribution called Magic Box, it was based on SUSE at the time i believe.

Reply Score: 1

RE: 2003/2004
by Xeon3D on Sun 12th Apr 2009 05:16 UTC in reply to "2003/2004"
Xeon3D Member since:

The Distribution name is "Caixa Mágica".

And yes, it was suse based.

Reply Score: 1

zipslack 98
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Sat 11th Apr 2009 22:44 UTC
Bill Shooter of Bul
Member since:

zip slack was the first. It allowed me to play with linux without reformatting/ repartitioning my harddrive. It was the only way before live discs. I think this was late 1998. I was impressed at the quality and quantity of free software available compared to the windows shareware community. They even had *gasp* free compilers!! And I gradually found that more and more of the software I was really interested in ran primarily on linux.

Reply Score: 1

my story: 1998
by joekiser on Sat 11th Apr 2009 22:46 UTC
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I first tried RedHat 5.2 back in 1998 I believe. I think the kernel was 2.0.32, and it was on a Packard Bell with a 540MB hard drive and 486 processor. The system only had 1 MB of video ram, and the chipset being somewhat unsupported, only let me use 256 colors at one time (anything over 256 colors came in shades of grey). I used Netscape 3.x over the Communicator series because it used less colors by default. Sound and dialup worked fine though, with ppp-scripts and later KPPP. I remember not being entirely satisfied with the window-manager offerings on the default system, and switching to qvwm, mlvwm, and later IceWM (with the lovely Wigren theme). Enlightenment (maybe e14?) did some pretty amazing things, but it was too resource-hungry. all the *box window managers started with Blackbox written by some guy with a Pentium 133 and FreeBSD. Some of those original themes are still floating around.

Later in 1999 I upgraded to 40MB of RAM and tried out FreeBSD, Mandrake, and Slackware for the first time. I believe Mandrake at the time was simply RedHat + KDE. There was also Caldera which I remember nothing of. Well anyway, I fell in love with the speed and simplicity of FreeBSD, and stayed there for the longest time, through the next five or six desktops. I remember waiting for KDE 2.0 as the next big thing, followed by Gnome 2.0 (Gnome was always slower on my systems for some reason). There were a few commercial X releases for sale back then, Accelerated X, and Metro-X for those who wanted to shell out the big bucks to have hardware acceleration. There was also a commercial CDE for RedHat for a while. If you wanted an office suite, you paid for ApplixWare or Star Office (which people hated because it included its own start menu which was reminiscent of Windows), or you downloaded Corel WordPerfect for Linux and hoped it worked with your distribution.

In hindsight, we complain today about lack of commercial support....but we have so much software available on our platform as compared to just a few years ago. Quality web browsing, office suites, IDEs, music players...package management systems...all available for free. Hardware detection these days is amazing...everything works out of the box, for the most part, even wireless. Those days you could fry a monitor (or so I'm told) by entering the wrong info in xfree86.conf. It's a slow process, but the tides have definitely changed in our favor.

Reply Score: 3

0.09 or close to it...
by FlyingFish on Sat 11th Apr 2009 22:48 UTC
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First time was 0.09 or something. Fit on a floppy and I thought to myself, this could be the answer. Not much else at that point except a working kernel, a shell, and a few other utilities.

Truly become the primary os at about the time infomagic started producing the CD's with slackware on them (and I still have them.) Wow, that was a long time ago... Now I feel old.

Reply Score: 1

already so long ..
by poohgee on Sat 11th Apr 2009 22:49 UTC
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"Winmodems, anyone?." : muda
Oh yeah ! - getting some damn life out of these things .. ;)

For me it is a bit less than 10 years ago .

SuSE 8.1 bought in the shop with manuals (in blue AFAIR).
Except for short durations of being on Vectorlinux or Live-CDs ,I have been a reasonably happy Chameleon since (SuSE 11.1 - Windowmaker) .

For me the reason was a butchered partition table by using Windows fdisk one time too many .

The idea of OSS I also found very interesting at the time .

Quite incredible how far Linux and OSS in general has spread in the meanwhile .

I remember reading that suppossedly Linux could show up hardware failures earlier because it talked to the hardware more aggressivly ;) - and of course : Never ! log in as root !

BTW was the first regular geek site i visited & have daily for the last 9 years or so - just had to register to comment a few years later .

Edited 2009-04-11 22:53 UTC

Reply Score: 5

RE: already so long ..
by StephenBeDoper on Sat 11th Apr 2009 23:54 UTC in reply to "already so long .."
StephenBeDoper Member since:

Quite incredible how far Linux and OSS in general has spread in the meanwhile .

That's for sure. When I first played around with Linux: I had to manually change IRQs to get my network card working, it took about 6 hours of effort just to get X up and running, Netscape Navigator was the only "decent" available GUI browser, I ended up using PINE because every GUI mail client I tried required a local mail spool (aka, they couldn't connect to POP3 or SMTP servers directly), and there was the LILO issue with booting a Linux installation if the partition was past the 1024th cylinder.

Reply Score: 2

RE: already so long ..
by isaba on Tue 14th Apr 2009 08:39 UTC in reply to "already so long .."
isaba Member since:

Wow, we're almost "twin soulx" ;)
My first fully operational distro was SuSE 8.2. Now using Opensuse 11.1 + Windowmaker (ok, I admit sometimes also KDE)

Reply Score: 1

Early to mid 90's
by theosib on Sat 11th Apr 2009 23:12 UTC
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I got my undergrad degree in 1996. My first PC with Linux, I think, I got in 1995, where I got Red Hat that defaulted to some < 1.0 kernel but had a 1.2 kernel as optional. I'd been exposed to it before that when we needed to set up machines for a programming competition, so we got our hands on an early Slackware, which places that in 1993 at the earliest.

I'd always been interested in more non-mainstream computers. My first x86 machine, I got in 1995 with the full intention of installing Linux. I used some tool to repartition the drive and dual boot Windows 95 and Linux. I remember naming the machine "normal" because I had just read a Douglas Adams novel that had characters who hunted "perfectly normal beasts." My graphics card (some pre-Rage ATI) had a whopping 1 meg of framebuffer, so the best I could do was 8-bit color at 1152x864. I thought that was so great. I used that computer to develop my senior project, which was a raytracer, and I recall being somewhat frustrated by having to implement dithering methods to be able to see what I was rendering. Before the Linux PC, I was an avid Atari user. I had 8-bit computers first, then an ST, then a Falcon. One day, something clicked in my head, and I decided that I wanted something with a cutting-edge CPU, so I went out and bought this Pentium box from CompUSA. Linux turned out to be even cooler because it wasn't just a community around a platform (as it was with Atari and Amiga users), but a community of Free Software, where people shared a heck of a lot more too.

Reply Score: 2

Member since:

Man, I feel young reading these comments. In 1995 I was 10-years-old, so couldn't try early Slackware... However, I have my very first computer in 2001, and couple months after that I tried TurboLinux 6.0. Didn't work. But Mandrake (6.2?) worked great, and I successfully erased Windows partition by accident ;P.

Never looked back, when I felt comfortable with shell, and started learning C programming on Linux, I was doomed to stay with it. Happy Ubuntu user now, after randez-vous with virtually any distro among top 20 most popular ones.

When I need to use Windows I feel like someone cut off one of my hands - useless and hopeless ;) .

Reply Score: 2

Tried it in '95 or '96
by TaterSalad on Sat 11th Apr 2009 23:32 UTC
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I first tried linux back in 1995 or 1996. It was definitely a version of slackware as I remember downloading the different sets, A, D, X, N and copying them to a stack of floppy disks. Then I bought a book that had Slackware 3.1 cd in it.

Reply Score: 2

by shiva on Sat 11th Apr 2009 23:33 UTC
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end of 1994, coming from FreeBSD and SunOS.

Edited 2009-04-11 23:34 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Since 1999
by Jason Bourne on Sat 11th Apr 2009 23:38 UTC
Jason Bourne
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Used since RedHat 5.2 called Apollo, it was a great release at that time. It was 1999. It had FVWM/Win95 look and it was a huge beast to configure but it brought fun back to computing.

However, it's only now ten years later that I am actually almost almost getting everyone in my home to step away from Windows XP and adopt Ubuntu as their desktop. Since Windows XP is so "obsolete" now, and nobody wants to face the daunting task to migrate to Vista/Win7... my family is actually accepting the idea of running Ubuntu. (specially my wife).

Anyone explain why wives always prefer Windows? Damn...

Reply Score: 1

RE: Since 1999
by sakeniwefu on Mon 13th Apr 2009 01:40 UTC in reply to "Since 1999"
sakeniwefu Member since:

I am pretty sure I started with Debian and Red Hat but I am not sure of the versions or the years. It had to be between 1995 and 2000 judging from the software I remember. All the software you could find for Linux was in .rpm packages that broke both Red Hat and Debian through alien. To be fair dselect(with my help) broke Debian too most of the time.

I had been programming since I was a little kid, but I thought C was a nonstandard mess at the time(DOS compilers were) and you couldn't use real languages like QBASIC, VB3-6 or DOS assembly :p in Linux. So I kept using Windows for a long time.

Anyone explain why wives always prefer Windows? Damn...

Because you keep it installed :p

It might be the default fonts though. My wife thinks that my OpenBSD desktop is so much cuter than her pink Xubuntu user because of the Terminus font I use for GTK and Xlib apps in dwm(!). Some free fonts are ugly as sin.

Edited 2009-04-13 01:43 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Red hat 4.2
by hollovoid on Sat 11th Apr 2009 23:51 UTC
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Still have the box and disks that came with it, bought it at a local computer shop in 97' thoroughly pissed off my parents when I accidentally wiped the windows install to try it out. ;) Ahh the good old days!

Reply Score: 2

Red Hat
by GCrain on Sun 12th Apr 2009 00:04 UTC
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I paid for the official RedHat 5.1 back in 1998. It came with some decent books. I tried installing it and got absolutely nowhere. I couldn't get the dial-up to work for me to connect to the internet. i didn't know what kind of clock chip was in my video card, and couldn't get the resolution correct. When it locked up, I couldn't figure out how to get back or what the equivalent to CTRL-ALT Delete was. It was SOOO frustrating. I had a hard time even shutting down. Apparently, UNIX isn't supposed to be shutdown back then and would get several warnings when trying to do so.

Things sure have improved though. Modern distros are _miles_ ahead of what I tried back then.

Reply Score: 1

Heard about it around 1997?
by Nicholas Blachford on Sun 12th Apr 2009 00:20 UTC
Nicholas Blachford
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I hear about Linux in the late 90's (97 maybe?) sometime as a friend was playing around with it. I had an Amiga and Windows 95 back then.

I first used it properly in a job in 98 and I've used it a few times since, mainly in work. I've only used it at home on the PS3 and in a brief stint with Yoper.

I've used Redhat, Mandrake, Yoper and Fedora.

I've never used it as a main OS at home and probably never will. I've got OS X and Haiku nowadays.

Reply Score: 1

My First Linux
by fukudasan on Sun 12th Apr 2009 00:35 UTC
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The first time I tried Linux . . . let's see . . . I had been reading about Linux for quite some time when I was working for the UK Ministry of Defence back in 1999, and I had built a little two-machine network that ran Win98SE using Netware. I built it all myself and was very happy with it.

One day I went to the local Staples to get my usual ink cartridges etc. and thought I'd look at the software. There was this box with a penguin on it, called "Mandrake" . . . I couldn't resist temptation, so I bought it (version 7.0, 7.1 had just come out and they were offering it at a reduction).

I took it home and installed it, but ohh dear, I could never get it to work properly and eventually trashed the (2Gb) hard drive. I used it with KDE and I liked what I saw; but I could never get it to work with my dial-up connection, and eventually gave up. Destroying the hard drive didn't really help . . .

Fast forward to 2004 . . . after a not-very-good period teaching English to kids in Taiwan (I loved Taiwan and my kids, but the visa situation sucked), I had moved to a new job doing likewise in Korea, and after my first year, the Boss asked me to stay. So my first move was to build a PC, install XP Pro and get online. I had always wanted to get Linux working and I used to use file-sharing software quite a lot back in Blighty, so I thought: "Hmm, I wonder . . .?" - that was how I came to download the community distro of Mandrake 10.0, partitioned the hard drive using Disk Director (an excellent piece of software, I even paid for it!) and installed Mandrake after cutting it to disk.

I liked what I saw, had more than a few crashes, but slowly became more adept at using it. Now I am happy never touching XP at all, I can do everything in Mandriva (2008.1) and everything looks and feels exactly as I want it.

The only thing that saddens me about Mandriva, after going through 10.0, 10.1, 10.2, 2005LE, 2006.0 etc. is the problem of KDE 4.x. As I wrote some time ago at the Mandriva forums, KDE 3.x took at least until 3.4 before it was really usable, and nowadays I have come to consider it somewhat irresponsible to release a DE so early. I would prefer KDE to continue developing 3.5.x to 3.6 or 3.7 or something while 4.x is developing.

But if you ask me why I would want to shift to a distro like Mandrake/Mandriva after using almost every iteration of Windoze since 3.0 (!), I would say:

* Unreliable and prone to crashes - although in the old days it seemed less hassle to reinstall. XP is more stable but still crashes sometimes;

* Wide open - Win98SE was great but it had no native firewall. My eyes were opened when I got out of bed one morning and found a message saying: "Your computer has been hacked, but don't worry . . . please install a firewall." I wonder how many here using Windoze have been less fortunate?

This is especially true here in SK because the place is awash with all kinds of stuff sloshing around, waiting to infect your machine. What better reason to switch to a safe (and untargeted) OS?

* Unnecessarily expensive - scanners like Spyware Doctor, XoftSpy, Trend Micro and others do not seem to cover all bases individually and each costs money. XP Pro was first installed on my system here in 2004 and it's now 2009, and despite numerous patches and SP3, crap still finds its way onto my HD. I paid KRW238,000 for XP back in 2004 and this has been paid again several times over in the cost of AV, anti-malware etc., when all I had to do is change the OS. Yes, I did pay for Mandriva, that's true; I also paid recently for a new copy of SoftMaker's Office suite (which is great, by the way), but all of the other costs are zero.

* Not available in my own language (English) - Mandriva's interface language is easily changed. I could not be 100% sure that XP was secure because I could not understand all the GUI messages. Mandriva fixed that!

Earlier versions of Windoze had no problem with this - you could install any of the language packs that were supported. XP ended that, and I think that's a crime.

* Appearance not customisable enough. And ugly. XP has almost no acceptable choice of GUI colour schemes built in and the interface looks like it was designed for a child of five. If Microsoft want to know how it should have looked they should see the "Plastik" theme that I am using under KDE. I always change to "Classic" look under XP but even there, the choice of colours is dismal.

If there is anything to learn from my Windoze experience - and remember, running Mandriva in the middle of South Korea is like living in a desert - it is that people around me who use computers use just the one OS (guess which one?), complain about the problems but are tied to it because of the apps they use. Even when an alternative comes along (which they can see me using), they can't escape from the monoculture into which they have been thrust. One previous co-worker here couldn't understand that it was not necessary for an OS to have a registry, for example. He had only ever used Windoze . . .

Monocultures are unhealthy; diseases spread quickly. For that reason alone, Windoze is best avoided. Now I have tried Mandrake/Mandriva and I am in a new job, and thinking about buying an Apple (Yes! They have Apple shops here in SK!). It will be more expensive than an equivalent Windoze machine but let's face it, (a) it is pointless to talk about the cost of purchase - people need to think more about use-value and the consequent return on their investment, and (b) who on Earth would want to buy Vista?

Turkeys should only be for Christmas - not for life! ^_^

Reply Score: 2

10 years
by unclefester on Sun 12th Apr 2009 01:01 UTC
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Experimentally since 1999. Full time since about 2004.

Edited 2009-04-12 01:01 UTC

Reply Score: 2

by abraxas on Sun 12th Apr 2009 01:04 UTC
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Started messing around with Debian in '98 when I was in college. Switched to RedHat Linux fulltime in '02 and then on to Gentoo in '03 and haven't looked back since. Since then I've installed Slackware, Mandrake, and Suse on secondary machines but all my machines have been switched over to Gentoo a few years back.

Reply Score: 2

Not really sure anymore...
by Kokopelli on Sun 12th Apr 2009 02:07 UTC
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It was somewhere in the mid 90s and my first successful install was Slackware. It was before 95 though since my first (unsucessful) attempt was a still active Yggdrasil release shortly before the Slack install.

Reply Score: 2

by alisonken1 on Sun 12th Apr 2009 02:12 UTC
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I was at a Naval research facility as my last duty station before retiring. It was SLS Linux (just before SLS became Slackware).

The kernel was at version 0.99 and we were using it to create some training software.

Talk about dating myself ;)

Reply Score: 1

Started with Unix first
by chemical_scum on Sun 12th Apr 2009 02:32 UTC
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I started with Unix when I was a grad student back in the late eighties. SunOS 3 (BSD based), System V on a MIPS workstation and AIX on an old IBM RiscStation used as scientific workstations.

Throughout the nineties I dreamed of having a Unixlike OS on my home PC, like some of the other posters here it wasn't until about '98 that I heard about Linux. I didn't take the plunge until 2000 when I installed Caldera OpenLinux 2 which I had got by buying a Teach Yourself book on Linux with the installation CD and I set it up dual boot with Win 98. That only lasted a few months until the system I had it on died. It didn't support the video card on my new system, so I installed RH 6 which I got from the CD with a Book I had out on loan from the library which worked fine.

In 2002 I moved to Mandrake 8.2 which worked a treat everything you had to struggle with in RH just worked. I stayed with Mandrake for nearly four years running through a number of updates. I found that instabilities developed with it over times. and at the end of 2005 my system died the file system failed and Mandrake was unable to reinstall any type of file system. I thought I had a hardware problem but as a last resort I tried a copy of Ubuntu Breezy which I had got from Shipit to to try and it installed with no problem. I didn't have a hardware problem I had a Mandrake problem.

I am sitting with Hardy LTS at the moment as I don't see a need to upgrade to Intrepid, though I will probably go with 9.04. I use my system both as a home office machine and as a scientific workstation with a powerful collection of free chemistry software I use for work related problems.

Reply Score: 3

first use
by richmassena on Sun 12th Apr 2009 02:43 UTC
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I had a friend at work who introduced me to Linux in the summer of 1997. For a short time I had a shell account on one of his friend's computers. Then I went to the local computer store and paid out $50 for Redhat 5, rather than try to get what I needed over dialup. I spent some time that summer learning the basics, like trying to get X working, and finding a window manager I could live with.

Reply Score: 1

I now feel old.... 0.99pl14
by impatient on Sun 12th Apr 2009 02:53 UTC
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I used a floppy distribution names MKS in 1993 to install a system with kernel 9.99pl14 on my 386SX laptop. Later I need a windowing system an used a port of MGR. All this on a 16Mhz CPU with 4 megs of ram!!!!

Reply Score: 1

by l3v1 on Sun 12th Apr 2009 03:10 UTC
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Yeah, long ago. In school some of the guys installed a linux on one of the lab machines. My first install was in 1998, and been on board ever since. No regrets.

Reply Score: 2

Member since:

I started with ubuntu 7.04. Now, I'm on 8.04.

Besides the decreases in speed (this old 1ghz pentium 3 was never fast) it is getting better all the time.

Someday I hope to master the command line and even right an application in Gambas. But for now I'm happy to be off of windows.

Reply Score: 1

Comment by kaiwai
by kaiwai on Sun 12th Apr 2009 04:19 UTC
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Started using it around 1995 after being bitterly disappointed having moved from my Amiga 500 to Windows 95 only to find that the upgrade wasn't so much of an upgrade after all. I went full time Linux that moment, I dabbled with FreeBSD and Solaris (gradually moving to FreeBSD pretty much full time after a couple of years with Linux). I moved fulltime to FreeBSD in 2000 when I bought my new computer from Dell. In 2001/2002 I moved to Mac after I saw and used Mac OS X for the first time, IIRC it was 10.2.x on an eMac (my first Mac) - from then on its been all Mac for me.

The one thing Linux made me do is actually sit down and learn the fundamentals of computers instead of the piecemeal approach I used before. It also exposed me to a whole new and different way of how software can designed and how one can use their computer. Linux has been a tough master at times but it's good to be forced to think about things rather than surrendering everything over to the operating system and remaining clueless as to what is occurring behind the scenes.

Edited 2009-04-12 04:22 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Stroll down memory lane....
by kryogenix on Sun 12th Apr 2009 05:01 UTC
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I wanted a UNIX box but couldn't afford SCO UNIX for the PC, A/UX for my mac or a real SunOS machine.

Around 1994 I started playing around with MacMinix 1.5 on a Mac IIfx. Shortly after that I managed to download MINIX 1.7 via a NetCom shell account at 14.4kbps and installed it on a 386DX/40.

Migrated to Slackware Linux on a 486 a few months later and was shocked how powerful it was, complete with X-Windows! Setting up XFree86 with the old Trident ISA video card was a serious pain in the ass in those days.

It was so cool to see a desktop environment similar to SunOS (I ran olvwm, discovered WindowMaker a couple years later) running on a cheap PC. I ruled at XLander!

I got sick of Linux after a few months and in late 95 or 96 I grabbed a 68040-based mac and ran NetBSD/mac68k. Been a die-hard BSD user ever since but I still had a Linux machine around to keep my skills sharp and keep track of where things were heading.

Wanna know something funny? I'm not very old. I'm 27.

Reply Score: 1

not to long ago..
by Fremi on Sun 12th Apr 2009 05:18 UTC
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Maybe 2004 or something like that. A friend gave me a copy of Crux, i tried it but it didnt really fit my needs at that time. Before that i tried a few distros such as redhat, mandrake and suse that came along with computer magazines.

I moved on to the new "Ubuntu" and ran that for a while but i didnt like their way of making it user friendly.. Determined to never return to Windows i ended up with Debian a couple of years.

I really got tired of outdated packages and precompiled kernels and all that crap so i decided to take on Crux once again and with some more experience in my hands i really found Crux suitable for me. A simple and lightweight operatingsystem. Since then it is my primary OS.

Reply Score: 1

by Xeon3D on Sun 12th Apr 2009 05:22 UTC
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For me it was around 98, 99.

I remember buying a magazine that had RedHat 5.2 on the Cover CD. At the time I was working in a brand new computer shop and since I had time to kill, I've decided to install it on the boss' machine with his permission of course.

Things didn't go well the first time, so I printed a manual (or similar) on a Trusty Old HP Deskjet 510, around 300 pages (can't really be precise, but it was a lot), and then after much reading and trying, I was sucesseful.

Since then I've been trying most of the distro's and alternative OSes that come out, but my favourite still is BeOS with SLED\Ubuntu\QNX on a close 2nd ;)

Reply Score: 1

Comment by makkus
by makkus on Sun 12th Apr 2009 05:26 UTC
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I heard of it around 1994 but I was still using a Amiga (4000). I experimented a lot with netBSD. I used the Amiga at home till 1998 (it broke), after that I got a really lousy laptop from Compaq with a slow Celeron (what was I thinking). At work I was using SUN Solaris, so I wanted a OS I could use to continue programming at home. So I installed Red Hat on it.

Reply Score: 1

First Linux
by DigitalAxis on Sun 12th Apr 2009 05:44 UTC
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First experience: SuSE 8.0 (I think) LiveCD with KDE, freshman year of college, 2002. I vaguely remember the rush of excitement I felt about having my computer running without Windows (I get that feeling every time I do something strange and unusual that works). After experimenting with more LiveCDs I eventually moved to Gentoo almost full-time.

In 2005 I gave up Gentoo in favor of Kubuntu, both because I got tired of maintaining a Gentoo install, and because the community seemed to be collapsing.

Of course, astronomers love Linux, so I go days without using a Windows machine at work or home.

Edited 2009-04-12 05:54 UTC

Reply Score: 2

by x-Na on Sun 12th Apr 2009 06:13 UTC
Member since:

I first installed Slackware Linux on my on computer in 1998, but I saw it on my friends computer much earlier, 1995 or 1996, I guess. Starting out with Slackware was great, really made one learn things. Then moved to Debian around 2000, but Debians slow development cycles started to annoy and switched to Ubuntu in 2004/2005.

I've (and wife too) been using Linux exclusively on my computer since 2004, using windows only at work.

Edited 2009-04-12 06:16 UTC

Reply Score: 1

Wow I now feel really really old.
by dhickman on Sun 12th Apr 2009 06:17 UTC
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My first contact with linux was in early 1992 when I was playing around with a copy of xenix. I was surfing bitnet and fidonet for some info and came upon SLS linux. Interested, I FREQed the files from my bbs.

After about a week or two on the slow node that was dedicated to D'bridge ( I think 2400 baud.) I installed the basic disks onto an old 386sx16 (with a mathco, Engineering major at the time.) I was hooked.

I have distinct memories of calling up compuadd to get the monitor timings so I could run X-windows. Needless to say, they had no clue what I was talking about and as a result, had to buy a new monitor instead of repairing my motorcycle, because I blew up the monitor with wrong timings. I typed startx, heard a loud pop, bad smell and that was it.

At this time I still ran linux as a secondary system. My main system was running desqview to handle the bbs.

In 1993 a friend of mine told me to get my ass over to his place and check out this new linux distro with a COLOR interface, Slackware. For the next day or so, we were in an english lab overwriting the free floppy sets ( 70 or so) that IBM was giving to anyone who would test OS/2. At this point my friend and I made a pact to run linux as our only OS over the summer and we have never looked back.

Within a year, we had the very basics of a dialup/nat server running and I phased out the bbs. Can you say coax ne2000 based ethernet!

Fun times.


Reply Score: 1

by UltraZelda64 on Sun 12th Apr 2009 06:32 UTC
Member since:

I first "heard" of Linux somewhere between 1998 and 2000. It wasn't clear what it was though; what I heard of was Red Hat Linux. I didn't yet know that there was an entire, vast world of different Linux distros at the time. I was running Windows 95, 98, or 98SE; probably one of the newer two. Attempted installing it, and I was successful, but I quickly removed it and reinstalled Windows. To be honest, I don't think I gave it a fair chance.

Around 2002-2004, I heard that word again... Linux. I regained interest. I started reading about it, how partitioning works in it and the filesystem, and found out about DistroWatch. Long story short, KNOPPIX (the early 3.x vesions) truly got me started with Linux; an easy way to boot from CD and not touch my hard drive. I used it to learn Linux.

I started visiting Slashdot, and became a distro-hopping maniac thanks to the help of DistroWatch, after lots of reading of partitioning and how the different operating systems view disks. Once I felt comfortable about partitioning and formatting, and generally installing a Linux distribution, SUSE 9.x showed me that you could have a nicely-done graphical desktop fully installed quite easily.

By 2006, I was switched fully over to Linux, first using Zenwalk and experimenting with KateOS, and finally deciding to switch to Ubuntu partially for its larger repositories. I'm still on Ubuntu right now, considering switching to another distro that's lighter on resources. Possibly Debian or Slackware, and I might give the new Zenwalk a try.

One of the primary reasons I left Zenwalk in the first place (along with the desire of a larger repository) was a longstanding bug that would cause it to lock up randomly while booting. I know its repo is larger than it was, and if this bug is fixed it'd be nice to use it again. Now I'm dying to try the new version of Xfce, but am too nervous to make such a change to my system out of nowhere. And I barely have the memory to run Ubuntu, let alone VirtualBox.

Reply Score: 2

by vivainio on Sun 12th Apr 2009 07:13 UTC in reply to "KNOPPIX."
vivainio Member since:

I'm still on Ubuntu right now, considering switching to another distro that's lighter on resources. Possibly Debian or Slackware, and I might give the new Zenwalk a try.

Different distros are not "lighter on resources" than others, window managers are. Try xfce / icewm / whatever instead of gnome/kde.

Now I'm dying to try the new version of Xfce, but am too nervous to make such a change to my system out of nowhere.

Then try the old version of xfce, available on your repo. It's trivial to test and trivial to switch back.

And I barely have the memory to run Ubuntu, let alone VirtualBox.

IceWM sounds like your cup of tea then.

Reply Score: 1

Been using since January.
by Queixa on Sun 12th Apr 2009 06:37 UTC
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I got an Asus 900 netbook for Christmas, and quickly realized the operating system on it was garbage. I've had many different personal computers, spending most time on Windows but a lot of time at work on Apple systems (I have about 15 years graphic design experience).
Started looking at lots of different Linux distros, downloading maybe 15 or 20 and trying them out. If my WiFi didn't work, I moved on pretty quickly. Fedora and Eeebuntu work best on my netbook for someone new to this. All the hardware works on the netbook. I have both Fedora and Eeebuntu installed on 8 Gb SD cards and switch back and forth. And I have to tell you, I love them both. Keep my files on the 4Gb internal SD. Worst feature for the new user - basic formats like mp3 don't work and I had to search for the solution (found it). Best feature - Stability. The systems just do not crash at all no matter what I do with them. Fedora seems to be slower than Eeebuntu, but Fedora has the better software and is more up to date. Love Amarok (better than iTunes), & FBReader. Scribus is too much like Quark XPress for my tastes. I prefer the PageMaker/InDesign style page layout programs. GIMP is good enough for what I'm doing on the netbook, but is still no PhotoShop.

So to the new-to-Linux person, I say Go for it! I can't remember having this much fun with a computer since my Commodore 64. And most of what the average person needs is there.

To the Linux developers, I say please make it easier for us to switch. I'm sure lots of people, when they can't play their 23,873 .mp3 files, just go back to Win without looking any further.

This said, I am really looking forward to xpud ( ) actually becoming a usable system. I like the way it works. It's one of the few that I've encountered that really felt different than Win or Apple.

Reply Score: 1

by historyb on Sun 12th Apr 2009 06:46 UTC
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I remember it was 1996 because I got married 6 months later, I tried one distro in Linux for Idiots and literally bbq it when I had a bbq that night I was so mad at it.

Than I found mandriva (mandrake) and never looked back

Reply Score: 2

by sj87 on Sun 12th Apr 2009 08:00 UTC
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I had just bought myself a new 160 GB HDD back in 2005, and being overwhelmed by its "massive" storage space, I decided I might aswell just give some of it to another OS and went for Mandrake Linux (version 9.0 or something). Never really learned to like it and less than 2-3 hours later I'd already booted back to Windows.

Reply Score: 1

Long time ago ;)
by Kurt on Sun 12th Apr 2009 08:22 UTC
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I first heard about Linux, hmm, in 92 or 93 and my first Linux install was the SuSe spring edition of 94 (yes they didn't have version numbers at that time). I didn't have a cdrom drive then, so I had to bring my hard drive to a friend for the install ;)
It used to be started from DOS via loadlin and, oh, the endless kernel compiles....those were the days ;)

Reply Score: 1

by raboof on Sun 12th Apr 2009 09:24 UTC
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Started using linux when Debian Hamm just came out.

Around the time I had using win95/win98, and was getting fed up with the random crashes and other problems.

I was also just getting into CGI (Perl web applications) programming, and was amazed that I could run all this 'server-grade' software locally without having to clog up the dial-up line. I rather liked the obsession with stability, and the whole open architecture: every component was quite well-documented, and you could track down problems instead of just doing yet another reinstall.

Today, XP is actually pretty stable, always-on internet is widely available. As Linux is getting increasingly complex, the obsession with stability is fading, documentation is struggling to keep up. Still, I'm hooked for life: FLOSS is a Good Idea (TM), and I've grown to depend on the choices available on Linux.

Reply Score: 1

I'm the baby of the group
by 3rdalbum on Sun 12th Apr 2009 09:29 UTC
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I started using Linux in 2005... just! I booted up my first live CD on Christmas Day 2005 and it felt strange to be running a completely different operating system on my Mac.

Back in those days, Ubuntu's live CD wouldn't properly detect the monitor settings so I had to manually put the horizontal and vertical refresh rates into the "debian installer" before the live session started.

Reply Score: 1

by vivainio on Sun 12th Apr 2009 10:06 UTC
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There was a version of slackware on "Mikrobitti Huvi- ja Hyöty CD-ROM" 1998 (i.e. a CD that came with magazine subscription). Yeah, I was late - but my previous pc (before PII 266mhz) was a 8mhz 8086. I had tried to install minix on that one, but failed.

I think slackware was distributed as floppy images on the cd, but that was not a big deal.

I played around with that quite a bit, but Linux was not all that useful if you didn't have internet (i.e. the PCs were mostly used for gaming). It was easy to set up X with my S3 Virge/DX, and using Linux in general was not much harder than it is now - but it didn't have to support that much hardware back then.

I do think Linux really became viable desktop alternative around Red Hat 9 (which was superseded by Fedore Core 1). The important change was font rendering : it stopped looking like crap.

Reply Score: 1

Slackware 3.x
by Isolationist on Sun 12th Apr 2009 10:09 UTC
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In was in the year 1996 when I first came across Linux at University, when starting a semester on Unix. I needed to get a copy, so purchased a book on Linux which came with Slackware 3.x Walnut Creek distro.

I remember been in two minds about paying £45 for this huge book, and was worried that Linux might be a 30-day free trial thing - lol. The concept of a free OS was new one to me at the time ...

It took me ages to get slackware working properly because it didn't recognize my external cdrom drive so couldn't get it installed, and i had to try each driver and play around with the module parameters until things worked.

Once I got that working, my next hurdle was getting X to work with my Cirrus Logic video card .. what a nightmare that was.

It was some months later that I managed to setup my modem with some pppd scripts, and managed to get internet access under Linux. I remember my shock when it worked and came up in my netscape browser ... from that day onwards I stopped using WIndows 95 as my main OS.

Looking back, things seemed more exciting back then with Linux as I certainly spent more time tweaking things and trying different window managers. These days I use Ubuntu as my main OS, but it doesn't have the appeal of the old days with slackware.

Reply Score: 2

by GODhack on Sun 12th Apr 2009 10:16 UTC
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MEPIS 3.3.1 was my first desktop distro and I was not very happy back then. mp3 play was problematic, hard to install or no at all 3D video drivers etc.

I used ssh connections to Linux servers and played there around long time before.

First my daily usage Linux distribution was Ubuntu 7.04.

Reply Score: 1

Hating Linux since 1996
by biffuz on Sun 12th Apr 2009 10:18 UTC
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The first time I tried Linux was around 1996, a Slackware with an 1.3 kernel if I remember. And this is were I started to hate Linux: it took a week and several reinstalls before I could make my S3 Trio-something card running at anything else than 320x200, it didn't know what to do with that strange card of mine with those "line in" and "line out" jacks, the scanner was supposed to be working but it gave no signs of life, I couldn't connect to the Internet even following my ISP's instructions step-by-step, and what's a printer???
Then I noticed that, even if I could turn it into something usable, there was nothing to do with it: no interesting games or desktop apps, boring developer tools, etc. A lot of network things, but I didn't have any network.

Instead, Win95 was just working and there were a lot of cool things to do.

So, I never managed to actually use Linux. Instead, I fallen in love with BeOS (hardware support still poor, but a lot of cool things to do), and now my main OS is OS X (works wonderfully + cool things).

Reply Score: 1

RE: Hating Linux since 1996
by GODhack on Sun 12th Apr 2009 10:28 UTC in reply to "Hating Linux since 1996"
GODhack Member since:

You should try Linux now again. For sure a lot of things changed since 1.x kernel.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Hating Linux since 1996
by biffuz on Sun 12th Apr 2009 16:53 UTC in reply to "RE: Hating Linux since 1996"
biffuz Member since:

The problem is, I no longer feel any need or desire to use any other OS other than OSX as my main OS, and Windows as my second. Well, actually I use Windows more than OSX, but only because of work and games - not exactly a choice of mine :-)
When I really want to play with an OS, my choice is Haiku. I have some machines with a partition or a virtual machine with Linux, but I use them rarely.

Reply Score: 0

I hated Linux in 1998
by zelrik on Sun 12th Apr 2009 14:13 UTC in reply to "Hating Linux since 1996"
zelrik Member since:

I really hated Linux the first time I tried it, the whole thing pissed me off. A nerd friend of mine told me how fun it was to use it, one day he tried to get me into it, he started to show me how to install it, the only thing I remember is him typing on his keyboard like mad and talking to me in another language (I think he was installing a LFS)...I eventually told him that this thing is not for me and left.

Today I use Ubuntu Linux and I like it.

Reply Score: 2

Redhat in 1998
by TusharG on Sun 12th Apr 2009 10:49 UTC
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Most you guys have used Linux for long time. I used my first Linux in 1998 with Redhat 4 or 5. It was big disaster on my side! I had SIS 6215 display card that never worked and I also lost my Win95 OS with data. Ofcourse It was not much my total disk was of 2 GB!
Ofcourse in 2000 I had again chance to work with Redhat 7.1 for company that changed everything I moved my entire company to Redhat with 14 Computers. After that never looked back. Used Redhat 7.x,8,9. Fedora 1,2,3,4,5 then moved company to Ubuntu. Now we use CentOS and Debian on Servers and on Laptops/Desktops we use Ubuntu versions.
Thank you Linux for offering free software for so many years. It saved hell lot of companies money as well it kept me in job!

Edited 2009-04-12 10:56 UTC

Reply Score: 1

Member since:

Besides trying WinLin2000 (or something similar name the distro had) under Win98 (installed within the Wndows), my real face-to-face work with Linux was in 2001. I remember working in Siemens Optical Networks at that time. There was an 50 years old guy compiling Zebra under some proprietary OS used to power Siemens' DWDM equipment. He was the guy that used to talk about Linux with such a passion that made me think "Try it for real, and never give up!". First, I bought a book, then installed Mandrake 7.x (8.0 after a week). I was reading the book, and learning Linux, and I never gave up. Tried Red Hat, and finally settled with Debian, the god of all distros. At the company I am working now, we use Linux for just about anything (SLES mostly, although I prefer Debian). Long live Linux.

Edited 2009-04-12 11:27 UTC

Reply Score: 1

First in 2000
by spaceLem on Sun 12th Apr 2009 11:26 UTC
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I tried SuSE 7.0 Back in 2000 (hoo boy I'll be embarrassed if those numbers don't match up!), purely because it was new and interesting. There may have been a yellow dog Linux CD on a mac at some point in 1999, but I don't think I ever got it working.

I went full time Linux with Redhat for a while in 2002, but then went back to Win2K until late 2003 when I moved across to Gentoo after flatmates set up the anime server so Windows couldn't access it. I moved over to Ubuntu earlier this year, so I've used Linux exclusively since 2003, and I use Linux at work.

I've kept a partition with Windows XP on it, purely so I could play Half-Life 2, although I find I only boot into that for a few days every few months to game.

I may boot into Windows again when Half Life 2: Episode 3 comes out. Other than that, there is occasionally the odd time when something really just won't work in Linux (my mobile phone backup), but many games seem to run fine Linux/wine.

I hope I never have a reason to move back to Windows full time.

Reply Score: 1

Hmm... around 1999
by dylansmrjones on Sun 12th Apr 2009 11:39 UTC
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Redhat 6.0 with Gnome 1.0

Reply Score: 2

It all started with Debian
by jbauer on Sun 12th Apr 2009 11:40 UTC
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My first contact was with Debian 2.0. The CDs (binaries and sources) came in a magazine dedicated to Linux. That was around 1998 and a connection to the internet was still some kind of a luxury.

Managed to install it on a 1GB hard drive. I got Xfree working, and the whole thing was a horrible headache, but also at the same time a new enjoyable experience.

I have barely used Windows since then... until I bought a notebook with Vista. Strange things happen indeed.

Edited 2009-04-12 11:41 UTC

Reply Score: 2

by sofakingcool on Sun 12th Apr 2009 12:15 UTC
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I tried Linux Suse back about 6 years ago. I enjoyed it and tried too, unsuccessfully, shake Microsoft Windows. Up until about 6 months ago I used Windows XP. I download Ubuntu Hardy Heron 8.04 and became addicted. For my personal use ... I use Ubuntu exclusively. In my opinion ....Ubuntu is an alternative to proprietary operating systems. I'd prefer it regardless. I think that eventually Linux will be the mainstream Desktop.
I haven't found very much that isn't possible with Ubuntu. It's an amazing OS. I once I enjoy again computing. I recommend to those I know Ubuntu for ease of installation and ease of you. It's mostly problem free.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Linux
by WereCatf on Sun 12th Apr 2009 12:40 UTC in reply to "Linux"
WereCatf Member since:

I think that eventually Linux will be the mainstream Desktop.
I haven't found very much that isn't possible with Ubuntu.

I am a Linux-fan myself, but..I don't think so. I find a lot of things wrong in Linux, and lots of stuff that are just poorly done. And while most things sure are possible they aren't always as easy to achieve as in other OSes. Atleast one area where I often hear/see complaints stemming from is video editing. Apparently lots of professionals just don't think the F/OSS apps offer them enough features or are too buggy to use for professional work.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Linux
by sofakingcool on Sun 12th Apr 2009 21:07 UTC in reply to "RE: Linux"
sofakingcool Member since:

I think that eventually Linux will be the mainstream Desktop.
I haven't found very much that isn't possible with Ubuntu.

I am a Linux-fan myself, but..I don't think so. I find a lot of things wrong in Linux, and lots of stuff that are just poorly done. And while most things sure are possible they aren't always as easy to achieve as in other OSes. Atleast one area where I often hear/see complaints stemming from is video editing. Apparently lots of professionals just don't think the F/OSS apps offer them enough features or are too buggy to use for professional work.

I disagree! I find Microsoft the OS that is done poorly. If you knew Linux you wouldn't say that
Your a rookie!

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Linux
by vivainio on Sun 12th Apr 2009 22:01 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Linux"
vivainio Member since:

I disagree! I find Microsoft the OS that is done poorly. If you knew Linux you wouldn't say that
Your a rookie!

Linux has many things that are done poorly, but at least we know what those things are, and what needs to be done to make it better (bugfixing of drivers, X improvements mostly).

Somewhat related to the original topic, Linux has gone a long, long way and the things where it's lagging behind are in puny details that can be fixed quite easily. It will triumph because of the simple core that really has stood the test of time, as opposed to the complex mess of windows (polishing the turd, anyone?).

The funny thing is that with Linux, the stuff you learned in the 90's is still relevant today. You can still install the same window manager you used back then, and pretty much the whole skillset you acquired is very valuable still today. Contrast that with pretty much anything you learned about MS-DOS, OS/2, windows...

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Linux
by chemical_scum on Sun 12th Apr 2009 22:46 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Linux"
chemical_scum Member since:

The funny thing is that with Linux, the stuff you learned in the 90's is still relevant today... Contrast that with pretty much anything you learned about MS-DOS, OS/2, windows...

Talking about MS-DOS, in the early nineties my wife was a secretary using WP 5.1 on DOS as her word processor. Since she moved on she has remained stuck in that period. She does not like any GUI based word processor like Abiword or Openoffice Writer. So for the past few years I have set up WP51 in Dosemu on Linux for her. Originally I had to use DRDOS 7 for it to work but now it works fine in FreeDOS.

Try running WP 5.1 for DOS using XP or Vista, I not sure it can be done.

Reply Score: 3

First Linux
by the steven on Sun 12th Apr 2009 13:07 UTC
the steven
Member since:

I first downloaded Linux from AOL around '97. I had to rawwrite the images to disk. If I remember correctly, it took about 15 disks. It took the better part of a day, but once I got X running, I could see it had some potential. I played with it on and off for a while until I got Slackware Walnut Creek. To put it simply, Root Canal was more fun... but it ran.

About every year or so, I'd install a diferent distro and for a while I stayed with Caldera, and then Mandrake (dating myself) but I've been usining Ubuntu since v5 and I think I'll stay with it for a while.

Reply Score: 1

summer ' 96
by capricorn_tm on Sun 12th Apr 2009 13:37 UTC
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It is a hot summer, I'm troath deep in my law finals, my girl dumped me after 4 years and I'm facing my first year of Aikido stages around Italy.

It is in that fruitful moment that I'm working on some word file and in the middle of nothing, the system freezes and a popup appears in the middle of my CRT


Nothing else, no info, no explanations, just Ok/cancel button floating on that ill -gray colored popup.

I press Cancel and Word crashes and the explorer and then the system gives a BSOD.

I reboot, think about it for a second and then realize that enough is enough.

I could not afford a second PC ( me and my brother shared that one) so I bought a second HD and installed with the help of a friend Mandrake, quickly settled for KDE and started to have a life.

The system was built in this way, main boot on Windows, Grub installed on the HD and a second partition on the Linux HD formatted in Fat 32 to allow the two to swap data.

Little prank I played to my brother, main HD would have been know from there on "Pharao", secondariy partition on the linux drive "red_sea" and main Linux partition "Moses" ( home was from then on "Zion")
I still use XP for work and the occasional ( mind me, REALLY occasional) gaming, but never Looked back and bloody happy of it.

Reply Score: 1

A long, long time ago :P
by andreibosco on Sun 12th Apr 2009 13:46 UTC
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I remember reading in some magazines and on the internet about this new OS called linux, how it was so interesting to use, learn and it was "open and free" (weird and magic words back then). It was december 98, I was 13 years old, and I finally got a redhat 5.2 based distro CD (Red Hat Conectiva Linux Guarani - yup, it had a huge name, didn't it?).
I started X, it opened WindowMaker and I though "oookay, where do I go from here?" ;)
Soon I would be having fun learning to really use the command line, and was always amazed how I could do pretty much everything on it, without depending on the graphical interface. But I also had fun with Enlightenment (it had a huge momentun back then), KDE and this new desktop environment called Gnome.
From Conectiva, I moved up to Mandrake (I got involved and became the first brazilian translator - I still have the PowerPack boxes they sent me as gifts), then Debian, FreeBSD (ahh, how I love the ports system) and finally ArchLinux. I tested lots more (SuSE, Slack, Gentoo, Foresight, etc), but those are the one I really used.
Today I use OSX Leopard on an Macbook Pro as my main system, but I still have Arch installed on my home machine ;)
Wow, 11 years, time really does fly when you're having fun ;)

Reply Score: 2

Back in 2004
by Cheikh on Sun 12th Apr 2009 13:59 UTC
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I first started using linux around 2004 I had a machine running beta Windows server 2003, but at some point I could not get update from windows because the actual product was out and I could not afford to buy it and I was not interested in pirating Windows; therefore my system was getting slow and infected with malware. This machine came with Windows 98SE. In the summer of 2004 right before school ended one my professor advised us not to waste our summer he mentioned to have fun but also to learn something new he did suggest picking up a new programming language one of his final point was to even try Linux then I started to wonder what is Linux. A week later I was back home and started to search for Linux and ended at where I ordered Alt Linux Junior a distro based in Russia, collegelinux I believe now dead, and Vector Linux. Alt was the only one I could install to my surprise OpenOffice was all in Russian. That was my first order of a linux cd set and the last since then I have downloaded and burn close to 50 iso images. I must say since 2005 I am a happy Arch user.

Reply Score: 1

by SK8T on Sun 12th Apr 2009 14:16 UTC
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2003 - i bought SuSE Linux 8.2 Professional for 60€.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by karl
by karl on Sun 12th Apr 2009 14:16 UTC
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Back in '93 I installed Ygdrasil on a 486sx25-A friend from comp sci brought it over to my apartment and we spent a whole day loading floppies. Unfortunately my graphic card didn't have enough ram to do X windows. Later in 95 I replaced win 3.1 with SuSE 4.2 and used SuSE on all my machines until 2002 when I switched to Gentoo. It was in that year that I stopped using windows. I played around the first version of Solaris for x86(back '98- which wiped my partition table when I first installed it) and I played around with lot's of other distros over the years(Redhat, Debian, Mandrake-and then later Fedora, Ubuntu, Sabayon, and Foresight). Nowadays I usually have Ubuntu and Sabayon(Gentoo) installed....16 years of Linux now.....

Reply Score: 1

Slax Live CD In 2007
by nickelbackro on Sun 12th Apr 2009 14:19 UTC
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Well I'm a lot later to the game than most of you, but that is purely because i didn't have internet access until 2007 (I grew up poor) and even then all i had was Netzero so i could do research for college.

I had used pretty much every MicroSoft OS since DOS 3.3 on my old Tandy 1000TX (used it unitl 1999) all the way to Windows XP (as well as a few old BASIC based 1980's machines and a system 7.1 Mac laptop that crashed after a month). I used to scrounge old computers off friends who were throwing them out. I mostly used them so i could play games, and as such I had lots of experience with configuring old machines with Windows.

One day i was looking into alternative OSes and was in love with the concept of Linux (mostly because it was free as in beer) running on a live cd and some outdated website recommended Slax, a Slackware derived live cd with KDE 3.X. As i had dial up I headed to my college's computer lab with my 1gig flash drive in hand and downloaded the iso burned it with nero and restarted my computer.

I was severely disappointed. 640X480 in 256 color mode no audio, no modem, and no access to my NTFS partition. I abandoned linux.

Fast Foward to 6 months later and after some research (on more updated websites) i learned about using Ubuntu 8.04 with a Wubi installer (Didn't want to risk my Windows partition and didn't know Gparted could safely resize NTFS).

By that time I had graduated so i didnt have access to my colleges high speed network but was so happy Ubuntu had the Ship-It program for people with slow internet connections.

6 weeks later i had in my hands a brand new Ubuntu 8.04.1 LTS CD and I rushed to install it, Monitor support was still poor but it worked with the open source 2D nvidia drivers (my monitor was a CRT from 1995) and modem support still wasn't there, tried installing a driver but it was tough as i didnt know about dependency resolution using tarballs or even how to sudo. So i booted back into windows over 100 times to look up every answer to my questions on command line and driver stuff and was told to basically give up on modem support especially considering Netzero uses a proprietary dialer program.

I left Ubuntu on my drive however just to have to experiment with. A couple months later I got a Job where i met a friend who had a lot of Linux experience who showed me the ropes. I also was finally able to afford High speed and have been enjoying Ubuntu ever since, I now have a real partitioning setup and a dual booted system and mostly go into Ubuntu for web surfing and music and XP for games and CD to AAC ripping/encoding in iTunes.

I've also done quite a bit of distro hopping in my time with linux but always seem to come back to Ubuntu. I crashed my XP parition in that time (my fault for not backing up my menu.lst file before doing a dist-upgrade to 8.10 and manually rewriting the boot command wrong) but i have loved every moment of learning a brand new OS (with the best command line ever, beating out my old DOS by a mile) after years of Windows only use.

Reply Score: 1

by WyldStylist on Sun 12th Apr 2009 15:01 UTC
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I tried that piece of junk Redhat , it had all tools for doing everything there but they were just broken , Linux had that brilliant idea to think that the internet was my CDrom , by that time i was on redhat.
X86 linux is still alpha software , won't touch it ;)
However the good linux distros are for other platforms . phones consoles etc.

Reply Score: 1

when did I first use linux
by pandersen on Sun 12th Apr 2009 15:42 UTC
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I started with SLS 0.99 in the fall of 1992, I still have all the floppies for SLS. SLS was buggy and I switched to Yggdrasil as soon as it came out, which I thought was really cool since it was a livecd.

Reply Score: 1

RE: when did I first use linux
by pandersen on Sun 12th Apr 2009 16:43 UTC in reply to "when did I first use linux"
pandersen Member since:

I want to correct my last post. I took a look at some of my old cd's and saw that after SLS in 1992 I went with a floppy/CD version of LGX in 1993. The Yggdrasil livecd I had (can only find the manual, source CD and boot floppy) came out in 1995 at about the same time as I was trying a preview of caldera.

Reply Score: 1

by nbensa on Sun 12th Apr 2009 15:54 UTC
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The first time I read about Linux was 1999. Debian 2.1 IIRC. I tried to install it, but I never succeed.

Next, during sometime between 2000 and 2001, I tried Red Hat 6.2. The installation was easier, but man, gcc 2.96 was a bitch. I couldn't install KDE 2 from sources, so I recompiled the whole box using gcc 2.95 (also compiled from sources)

Using this "customized" RedHat, I learned postfix, apache, bind, samba, etc. I was very happy with the performance of that poor AMD K6 500MHz computer :-)

On june 2002, I installed Gentoo, on my other boxes that were running Windows 98 ;) I run Linux fulltime since then.

On may 2005, I went back to the source with Debian because of my work.

In November 2006, I got a new job where we have a mixture of Debian servers and Ubuntu workstations.

A few weeks ago, I moved the machines at home from Gentoo to Ubuntu/Kubuntu.

I also have three Linksys routers (2xWRT54GL v1.1, and 1xWRT54G v8), they run DD-WRT of course :-)

Reply Score: 1

Late 1999 Corel Linux WP for Linux
by Sabon on Sun 12th Apr 2009 16:54 UTC
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I first used Linux when Corel came out with Corel Linux and Corel WordPerfect for Linux, the latter being a port of WordPerfect for UNIX to Linux.

The Linux part didn't leave a big impression on me. I just loved being able to use WordPerfect on something else other than a MS operating system.

At the time I was using a combination of Windows 3.1, Windows '95, and best of all (easily) was OS/2.

While my job at work is still to support Windows I don't have any MS OS software at home (not even Office). OS/2 changed to eComStation and I fell away from it. I keep up on Linux and test out different distributions through VM on my Mac.

Linux has improved a lot, a LOT, in the last few years. At home I mostly do video editing, writing, and play my musical instruments. OS X is the best for these (iLife-iMovie, GarageBand) so far. If that changes so that Linux becomes the clear leader then I'll change. Until then ...

Reply Score: 2

Free Operating Systems
by Al Dente on Sun 12th Apr 2009 18:13 UTC
Al Dente
Member since:

In the late 80's early 90's I was working as a programmer, researcher, and system administrator in the computer science department of a univeristy. We had source to SysVr3 and BSD 4.3 but I was fascinated with the idea of a free UNIX. There was some talk about Matt Dillion doing a port of BSD 4.3 lite to the Amiga (I had an Amiga 1000 at the time). I assume this was never completed.

The next teaser was the articles in Dr. Dobbs Journal by the Jolitz' about porting BSD to the i386. I read these with great anticipation. By then I had a PC as well but not stout enough to run the code (then required both a i386 and i387 to run and all I had was a "turbo" XT). As soon as a bootable floppy was available I found a lab machine to boot it from. I unplugged the hard disk just in case something bad happened I wouldn't wipe out the data. It booted and I pronounced it cool but nobody else seemed that excited. I'd already developed some Optical Character Recognition software for SCO UNIX on a PC but the idea of free UNIX was still very exciting for me.

In the 90's I switched back and forth between *BSD and Linux depending on priorities and requirements. I assume I first ran Linux in '93. I was running SLS initially and can remember kernel version numbers around 0.88 and 0.97.

Reply Score: 1

Dec 1999
by priit on Sun 12th Apr 2009 18:15 UTC
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It started in December 1999 with Red Hat 4.2 (was slow for more current version), then to Slackware and Debian and now settled with Arch. It's been a fun ride.

Reply Score: 1

by donovan1983 on Sun 12th Apr 2009 18:32 UTC
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I became aware of Linux in 1997 but didn't first try it until 1999. I used an already-outdated version of Caldera that used a 1.x version of the kernel. Later I used RedHat 6. Then Mandrake. Then Corel Linux. And the list goes on from there. I've tried most major Linux distributions in the past 10 years, I think. Also have played around with NetBSD, OpenBSD, and FreeBSD. And even Plan 9 from Bell Labs.

Reply Score: 1

Wow... wayyyy back when.....
by EddyGL on Sun 12th Apr 2009 19:39 UTC
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It would have to be 1994? I do know it was before Windows 95 came out. I had a 486sx25, with maybe 4 meg of ram. I installed Slackware from a book I had bought, can't remember the name of the book for the life of me, but it was about using Unix.
Looking back over the history of Slackware, I think it musta been 1.1.2. I do remember the kernel wasn't at 1.0 yet.
My biggest memories were trying to get X to use 16 bit or 24 bit colour, on my 1meg Trident video card, never did get it to work. And, how X windows would freeze completely for 10 seconds, mouse everything, when I started Mosaic/Netscape beta #whatever. Had something to do with not having an FPU on the sx.
I loved playing with it back then, Using xfm, xv, Mosaic, etc... under FVWM.
I dont know.. computing was more "fun" back then :-)

Reply Score: 1

by ciplogic on Sun 12th Apr 2009 21:00 UTC
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Was a Slackware bundled with a Chip CD in Romania. I wasn't been convinced but the first full time was Ubuntu 5.04 where I've got complete love with it! As first "desktop" distro, I've used a Redhad 5.2 on a Pentium 100MHz with 24 of RAM and kernel was 2.0 if I recall it right. I had tried almost all distros out there and I like to test them, but I stick with Suse and Ubuntu as my main distros. Because of my work I still use Windows extensively anyway!

Reply Score: 1

Linux? I used Coherent.
by dlundh on Sun 12th Apr 2009 21:50 UTC
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I guess I switched full time to Linux around 2000. I also remember getting a license for VMware Workstation arounnd that time. But before Linux there was Coherent, which for $99 was a great price for a UNIX-workalike.

This makes me feel old. :/

Reply Score: 1

Redhat 5.2
by Sodapop on Sun 12th Apr 2009 21:55 UTC
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I first started on a Pentium II with Redhat 5.2. I still have the pretty box and all the cds and books that came with it. It's in mint condition; even has the 'new' smell.

Reply Score: 1

2000 SuSE->Gentoo
by reez on Sun 12th Apr 2009 22:24 UTC
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It was 2000 IIRC. I started with SuSE (they had Redhat and SuSE in store). At this time, my father said something about it and I "forced" (please, please, please, ...) him to buy it.
Okay, well. I really liked the xeyes thing, but it was a bit over my head. But only after a few months I really started. I tried tons of distribution, man there already were that much these days. At first I stayed away from all those "for experienced users only" versions, but then I thought "Hey, what could happen?" and you know, with about ten years of age (wow, I was young back then) you want to be a real kewl haxx0r. As I said, I was ten and matrix was in the cinemas ;)

So I tried all those expert distributions until I found Gentoo. Having no installer, I had to try a bit harder, but damn the manual was that good, I eleven or twelve and I got it installed. With genkernel, but I did it. After a while I also compiled my first kernel, did a stage2 and a stage1 install, because it's kewl, isn't it?

I tried some other distros and a distro called h3knix or something, where I learned a lot about Linux. Since 2005 I'm (also) using BSD.

To sum it up: If even a ten year old kid is able to install Gentoo, without installer and all on its own how can someone say Linux is hard? *g*

Reply Score: 1

by milatchi on Sun 12th Apr 2009 22:45 UTC
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Slackware in 1998.

Reply Score: 1

by siimo on Sun 12th Apr 2009 23:18 UTC
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The fist Linux distro that i installed was PeanutLinux. It was one of the smaller distros and had a nice kde desktop with all the nonfree stuff already packaged. I think it's called aLinux [] now and is used even less. I installed this side by side with XP. I think this was late 2002.

It wasn't until Mandrake 9.1 and its KDE 3.1 desktop in early 2003 that I became comfortable using Linux. Since then I caught the bug I called distroitas which had me hopping from one distro to next for a couple of years.

I currently use SUSE 11.1 with the Xfce 4.6.0 desktop and the XP install has been reduced to a VM for work purposes.

Reply Score: 2

Since 1991, 0.0.2
by paulb on Sun 12th Apr 2009 23:22 UTC
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Used Tannenbaums Minix on my Amiga 500.
Bought an AT 386 to run it in protected mode.
Ported an OMTI controllers source code to Minix.
Do not know the size of that million dollar baby
Seagate disk anymore. Maybe 10MB or so.
Read the Minix forum.
Read the Hi freax 0.0.1 posting.
Came back with a set of floppy disks.
Anyone remembers copying diskimages to floppies
on a Sun 4?
Ok, 0.0.1 did not even boot on my machine.
But some weeks later 0.0.2 did.
Kicked off the Minix stuff.
Hardisk space was an issue in that times.
No boot managers too.
Growed up with Linux, and all the other stuff
trying to make it an desktop system.
X11, KDE, Gimp, Gnome, V4L, OpenOffice, Samba, Java, Netscape.
And we are still waiting for Linux to become a desktop system for every day use and every user.
Linux is ugly, is bloated, slow.

I remember the discussion Tannenbaum/Torvalds.
And I am very sorry about that Linux kicked 386bsd
and GNU/Hurd.
Tried to get rid of Linux by switching to Beos.
Switched to Mac OS 10.0.1 when it was available.
And I am very glad that Apple did the proof
Tannenbaum couldn't do. And I am very happy with that
since 2000 or so.
I am not thinking Linux is that bad,
it has it's niches.
But not on my desktop. Anymore.
Too many years of promises.
Where would Linux be if IBM did not have decided
to invest such large number of dollars.
And where is it now, with that large injection?
A decision I really cannot understand.
AIX is so much more developed and stable, scalable....
My hope goes to Haiku for desktop.
Try to imagine 1 billion dollars for Haiku.
The only one big thing Linux did is to make the
present understanding of that what OpenSource is.
For now.
But there was OpenSource before Linux.
At least in the Amiga World.
The first Emacs, the first GCC I used did run on
my Amiga 500. And there where no Linux in sight.

At last: yes there is another world.
Yes, I used Windows, earned money by programming
Windows from 3.0 to XP.
Windows developed to a usable system, at least with XP.
But I do not like MS and all it practices.
And even if XP where good I do not want to use it.
I am very glad that I do not have to, not in
my daytime job nor in my sparetime.

Excuse my little English.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Since 1991, 0.0.2
by sorpigal on Mon 13th Apr 2009 10:24 UTC in reply to "Since 1991, 0.0.2"
sorpigal Member since:

I like to think that it's the job of Linux to break the back of Windows and both the Microsoft monopoly and the resistance to Free software in the industry and generally. Once there's no more lock in and the playing field is pretty level I believe Linux will be replaced quite naturally by a superior system. The superior replacement will by necessity be Free and few will mourn the loss of Linux.

Maybe it will be the Hurd. Haha, who am I kidding? But it will be something. Linux is not the be-all, end-all of operating systems, it is just the herald of a new compatible era.

Reply Score: 2

So many flavors....
by truckweb on Mon 13th Apr 2009 00:33 UTC
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I've tried to use Linux since about 1998, the best distro I've used was Libranet, leap and bound better than anything else at the moment (IMHO). But something always kept me from moving away of Windows, may it be games or some software that I liked better than what I could find on Linux. Dealing with Media/codec/drivers under Linux got to me and left me with a bad taste, even today.

Today, I'm using OSX and Windows7. I have a Kubuntu virtual machine on my Macbook using VmWare Fusion that I run rarely.

I don't feel the need to change anymore. I got what I need with OSX and Win7.

Reply Score: 2

Peanut, I think it was called
by dodongo on Mon 13th Apr 2009 01:13 UTC
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I first started with a distro I believe was called Peanut Linux. It would install itself in what appeared to be, on a FAT32 partition, a single file. Inside lived the entire Linux file structure. This would've been... 1996-98, somewhere in there. It sucked, user-experience-wise, but it stuck. It seemed like there was a whole lot of potential.

In late 2001 or early 2002 I grew tired of Windows hosing my file systems (a very esoteric bug but it was totally repeatable). Started then with SuSE8, then moved to SuSE9 and then I fell in love with Ubuntu with their inaugural release in the second half of 2004. Still running Ubuntu today, and getting used to being blown away with what you can do with it :-D

Reply Score: 1

About -00
by froh on Mon 13th Apr 2009 01:36 UTC
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RedHat 5.2 Around year 2000. I remember it was a bitch to install. "Mountpoint" what the hell are you talking about?

Reply Score: 1

Somewhere around 1997-98
by n1xt3r on Mon 13th Apr 2009 02:18 UTC
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Was introduced to DOS on a 286 w/640k RAM and 10MB HD back in the early 1990's. Shortly after that, Windows 3.1. Installed Slackware (from downloaded floppies) by recommendation of my brother, on a used laptop (486 B&W display) I was rewarded in my Electronics course (vocational) back in High School around 1997-98. Was sucked in by Enlightenment's eye candy, but eventually learned to love the command line (only previous experience was DOS).

Following years I tried Suse, Red Hat, Debian, Ubuntu, and DSL. Taught myself how to write simple to moderately complex shell scripts. These days I've adapted to using OS X, but still run copies of Linux and Windows inside VM's for testing purposes. My how the time flies!

Reply Score: 1

by Happy-Dude on Mon 13th Apr 2009 03:35 UTC
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I knew about Linux since first starting to understand Operating Systems (well, more like the XP SP2 days, when I really started going hardcore techie).

I never used for real until last year, when I was practically forced to for school. Seeing how its easy on outdated hardware (and how my hardware is becoming outdated), I installed Ubuntu for the first time back in December.

And man, was I pleased ;) ...
I now have several LiveCDs burned, tried a few distros, and found Ubuntu's community really inviting. (I love the Linux-competition environment, though. It's amazing-- they're pushing each other every moment ;) !!)

Now, I'm thinking of moving to CrunchBang Linux. In fact, I'm on a LiveCD right now ;) .. Really lightweight and worth the tradeoff once I learn it all..

Reply Score: 1

by pepa on Mon 13th Apr 2009 05:14 UTC
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(OK, I'll forego my ability to vote on posts in this thread...)
My first was for utalitarian purposes, early 1999, because I wanted to share a broadband connection, so we needed a router. We put a floppy with Freesco (free cisco, not related to SCO...) in an old 386 that we bought for the purpose. Then later that year, I started ordering CD's that an enterprising lad was distributing for cheap; the first one I tried was RedHat 5.1 I think. The first distribution I really used seriously was Arch. By then I had already tried lots, I remember doing a stage1 of Gentoo early 2002, taking a long time..!

Reply Score: 2

About 1999
by yokem55 on Mon 13th Apr 2009 05:40 UTC
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In 1999, I got a boxed copy of Redhat 6.0, and very quickly got frustrated, due to being exposed to a totally new world. The xserver didn't support my voodoo3 card, and when I did manage to get a gui it was a low-res vesa display. From then on I experimented with newer releases of Redhat and then I tried mandrake, which finally got my xserver working, and managed to use partition magic to get real dual booting working. Even still, I didn't get more seriously into using linux until Gentoo started getting big in 2002, which, upon having completed the install procedure, I finally became competent enough on the command line and editing text files, that I finally became a full-time, serious linux user.

Reply Score: 1

January 23rd 1992
by mchnz on Mon 13th Apr 2009 06:01 UTC
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I ftp'ed version 0.11 on January 23rd 1992 on to a machine at Wellington City Council, New Zealand. I had to use a utility called rawrite to write a boot floppy and a root file system floppy. After this I booted it on one of WCC's 386 PC's. (Was this the the first Linux boot in New Zealand?). Linux booted and asked for the root floppy. A getty for Linux did not yet exist, so there wasn't any login-password interaction. After booting you were dropped straight into a root shell (GNU bash). Commands such as ls, cd, and ps, worked like the real thing.

Edited 2009-04-13 06:02 UTC

Reply Score: 1

First installed Gentoo in 2003
by jessta on Mon 13th Apr 2009 08:07 UTC
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I first heard about Linux when a friend of mine sold me a stolen magazine with a RedHat Linux CD on the front in 1998.
I didn't get a chance to install Linux (family computer, rest of the family liked windows) until 2003 when another friend introduced me to Gentoo Linux.
For someone that is technically minded Gentoo is the best first distro because it forces you to learn so much. After installing Gentoo the first 3 times(the first 2 times were kind of fail) I knew more about GNU\Linux systems when I had learnt about Windows in the past 10 years.
- Jesse McNelis

Reply Score: 2

by bradley on Mon 13th Apr 2009 09:54 UTC
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I started with Mandrake 6.0 and thought it was the coolest thing then, and also started running FreeBSD 4.3 - Of course I wanted more and used Caldera 2.3 which later made me switch to SuSE 7.0 until Novell took it over. I discovered Slackware 8 and Debian 2.2(Potato).

Still faithful to FreeBSD, Slackware, Debian and newly arrived Arch.

Indeed, times have changed... {Hint} -> Kernel.

Reply Score: 1

Comment by rramalho
by rramalho on Mon 13th Apr 2009 10:02 UTC
Member since:

Well... I've been using it since I started my college, in 1995. I think, if i recall correctly, it was with Slackware 2.x, on a Cyrix 486DLC, with 8 Mb of RAM.

It was fun! ;)

Edited 2009-04-13 10:03 UTC

Reply Score: 1

I think it was 1998
by sorpigal on Mon 13th Apr 2009 10:16 UTC
Member since:

In the 90s I downloaded and installed 99% of all software available for free for Windows and quite a lot available for 'free' from warez sites. I loved exploring new programs and trying new things. At the same time I learned the ins and outs of Windows 9x and DOS, taught myself HTML and javascript, had fun. After a while I started getting bored; you can only try so many notepad replacements before you start saying "So what?" and so I branched in to trying operating systems.

I grabbed a copy of some version of Red Hat out of the back of the local library's copy of 'Running Linux' and spent an enjoyable week learning enough setserial and isapnp and minicom and so forth to get my modem to dial the internet. I then spent a day figuring out how to make pppd stay alive for more than a few seconds, then came learning how to set up X (RAMDAC? Memory on my video card? Monitor refresh rates?). I will never forget the day I first had X, fvwm and netscape up and began browsing the web. I felt so awesome.

For me Linux has been a never-ending supply of crack to feed my addiction for trying new things and learning new things. More than a decade later I still do not feel I have mastered all aspects of the system, especially because those damned developers keep changing it. In fact, I probably know less of it now than I did five years ago due to the rapid pace of advancement and additions.

Reply Score: 3

Good old days
by beto983 on Mon 13th Apr 2009 10:55 UTC
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Summer of '98:

Slackware 3.5
kernel 2.0.34

Reply Score: 1

My redhat 5.2
by Drune on Mon 13th Apr 2009 12:36 UTC
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This is after Slackware 3.1 (i guess) my RedHat 5.2 CD:

Want an ISO file? ;)

Reply Score: 1

Comment by shadowbranch
by shadowbranch on Mon 13th Apr 2009 12:59 UTC
Member since:

I first started messing with it about 1994. I first messed with Red Hat. My dad worked at a big corp. called Sonoco. They make bags and paper and such. He brought home a copy for me to play with cause we just got our first Windows machine and didn't like it all that much. Then when Mandrake came out a few years later, that was heaven! That's when I began using it all the time. Now that I've graduated college, it's all I use. I've done my office desktop with it, my Acer Aspire One runs it, heck even my HTC Tilt run android! I'm a little linux nutty and love promoting it! I built my own processor in college using a software the previous head of IT built. Took 6 months to make a simple 4-bit processor and it could add, subtract, multiply and divide. As well as count down and up. Great software, written in perl! Whoo, I love linux.

Reply Score: 1

Started off with Mandrake
by om_rebel on Mon 13th Apr 2009 13:43 UTC
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I started off with Mandrake back around 2003 or so. From there it was over to SuSE for a stint, and then over to Ubuntu, where I've been for a couple years now.

Reply Score: 1

When Did You STOP using Linux??
by rakamaka on Mon 13th Apr 2009 14:10 UTC
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I know I will be modded down for this post but let's face a fact. What about " when did you last time used linux?
Many people have used linux successfully all these years but there are many who tried hard and gave up..Count those millions who gave up..if they would have stayed with their distro..might have proven 2009 as year of linux BUT.....
I started using Caldera and after hopping many distros I settled on a heavily patched kernel on debian system....

Edited 2009-04-13 14:11 UTC

Reply Score: 3

google_ninja Member since:

I started (seriously) with slackware in early 2000, stopped using it seriously around 2005 or so when i realised that everything was in a perpetual state of "almost there", and that i was kidding myself into thinking that all the effort i was putting into using it was worth something.

Edited 2009-04-13 14:36 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Early LInux
by Al Dente on Mon 13th Apr 2009 15:01 UTC
Al Dente
Member since:

Like I said earlier, I had a XT class machine in '89 just before Linux and *BSD hit the scene. When I decided to try 386BSD I ordered a 386sx with 4 MB of RAM and a 80 MB hard disk. At the time this was considered a mainstream machine. I formated the hard drive 40 MB for MSDOS 5/Windows 3.1 and 40MB for 386BSD. Unfortunately 386BSD at the time didn't like Gateway computers and I had problems with the keyboard. I loaded up SLS Linux. At the time Linux didn't have built in networking which wasn't bad since I was still using dialup without SLIP or PPP. I used kermit to dial work and even figured out how to use zmodem within the kermit terminal emulator. The first IP networking was from a userland package called ka9q. I played with it a bit but luckily Linux got "real" networking before long. When X became available on SLS Linux I learned that my graphics chip wasn't supported. 4MB RAM was pretty low end for running X but I did manage to get mono X up albeit slowly. At the time having a console in 132x50 char mode was more useful than X. In emacs I could have 4 good size windows in 132x50 text mode splitting my screen vertically and horizontally. Gateway had a huge price drop and since my 386sx was less than 90 days old they let me upgrade to a 486sx with a 320MB hard disk and a e3000 based graphics card for just the difference in price which was like $100. On this puppy I got color X running and started use SLIP to connect to my work PC which was on the internet. My work PC only had 2 MB of RAM so when Linux got to the point where it would no longer boot on 2MB machines I switched to NetBSD on both ends. I went back and forth between Linux and *BSD a few times depending on what I was doing and my priorities. At work I tended to use BSD because early on it had quite a lead in robustness over Linux but by 2000 my employer and our customers all have been specifying Linux for projects and when BSD is mentioned the responce is usually BS what?

I notice that Solaris 10 is actually cheaper than Red Hat Enterprise Linux now. I've tossed out the idea of Solaris for a few customers but now Linux seems like the standard and everything else is a gamble. I can remember back when SunOS was the standard and Linux was the gamble.

Reply Score: 1

Linux user since Feb 1998
by DeadFishMan on Mon 13th Apr 2009 15:13 UTC
Member since:

My first foray into the Linux world was with Conectiva Linux 2.0 Marumbi which was basically a poorly localized version of RedHat 5.1 (or 5.2, I can't recall) for Brazilian users in February, 1998.

I was lucky to have most of my hardware working when I first installed it and the small bits that did not work up front could have been worked around later, which was surprising considering that I would never have built a PC explicitly to work with anything else other than Windows back at the time - my friends that accidentally introduced me to Linux were not so lucky and decided to put it away and have nothing to do with it (decision that they ended regretting later, as that knowledge would have been useful on certain jobs that they landed on years later...).

I kept with Conectiva for a few years as they really managed to build a community around their product and services and each version was substantially better than the one that came before it. I dunno, it somehow made me proud that the developer of Windowmaker and original main developer of Synaptic - which used the WING toolkit back at the time, not GTK and was originally made to work with apt-rpm for Conectiva - was a fellow Brazilian and Conectiva employee: Alfredo Kojima.

But then, I managed to find a job where RedHat was heavily used as a server and as such I decided to use the real thing on my desktop and it didn't take long for me to fall in love with it.

When RedHat stopped catering to the hobbyist market with RH 9.0, I started doing the distro hoping as everybody else here and used Slackware for a brief time and then Debian, which I still use today as my main OS and can't see myself using anything else now.

My main workhorse no longer has Windows installed, although I still have a Windows XP VM on VirtualBox for those times that you absolutely cannot avoid it - less often these days - and my laptop has Vista Home Basic because it was already there, but I hardly boot it.

My wife likes to use that POS every once in a while but it is funny to see her booting into Sid unwillingly because Vista for some reason sometimes sees everyone else's wireless access point in the building but ours whereas Sid has yet to display such behavior. ^_^

Reply Score: 2

The Great Corel Linux!
by parrotjoe on Mon 13th Apr 2009 16:22 UTC
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It must have been right around 2000 as the wonderful Corel Linux came out in 1999 and was bought by Xandros in 2001. It was incredibly easy to install, I still can't believe it. Of course I went on to others after that.

Reply Score: 1

by sargek on Mon 13th Apr 2009 16:40 UTC
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1998 or so. I think it was when Mandrake first came out. Saw it in the software section at my Post exchange. Been using Linux ever since do to everything but game...

Reply Score: 1

by hydertech on Mon 13th Apr 2009 17:40 UTC
Member since:

I began with Redhat 5.2, moving to Redhat 6.0, 6.2, stopped off at Mandrake for a while, then spent a number of years with SuSE. For the last few years I've been running Ubuntu/Kubuntu. During the SuSE years I switched all my family over to Linux exclusively.

I still have one machine running Windows XP for a navigation program for my boat. It has never been connected to the internet.

Reply Score: 1

Dec 1996
by sbergman27 on Mon 13th Apr 2009 20:19 UTC
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I had actually used it before but it was in late 1996 that it was where I needed it to be. Slackware '96. I dual booted with Windows 95, Linux being my primary desktop. (I needed Windows for Quake!) I moved to Red Hat 4.2 in spring of 1997. And by fall of 1997 I was 100% Linux. (Although I did have to forgo Quake and Hexen II for a while. Linux versions came along later, though.)

Of course, it helped that I was a long time Unix admin and had been using SCO Open Server with DOS/Merge as my primary desktop previously, before the Windows 95.

I've pretty well been in the Unix and Unix-a-like camp since Spring of 1988.

Reply Score: 2

first time was
by t3RRa on Tue 14th Apr 2009 02:03 UTC
Member since:

The first time I have ever heard about Linux was on Internet while searching through websites in late 97. Maybe I was interested on running a web server but I knew nothing about at that time. I grabbed a copy of SLS and Slackware from the book I purchased. But could not get it working properly back then. Later I got a copy of a distro based on RedHat6 and it was a breeze to install still at that time for me ;) I have used Linux as my main is for several months in 99. However, later I turned to FreeBSD and it is still my most preferred desktop OS. Though I like both Linux and *BSD as I think they all have their own merits. But these days I barely use either of them ;)

Reply Score: 1

Comment by dusanyu
by dusanyu on Tue 14th Apr 2009 06:14 UTC
Member since:

1996 was looking to lean unix-like operating systems and went patrolling used computer stores for a used workstation a clerk at one of the stores I went to mentioned Linux and gave me a CD never looked back sence.

Reply Score: 1

My first time :)
by Vide on Tue 14th Apr 2009 07:58 UTC
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It was back in 1996 with some Red Hat (thanks to my high school). Then at home first with a Slackware 3.5 (aargh), then I switched as my only desktop (Mandrake) around 2000, after the Windows ME fiasco.

Reply Score: 1

I Feel Old ...
by Pelly on Tue 14th Apr 2009 13:36 UTC
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Started using Linux in 1994 and Unix in 1993.

Most of the versions were console-based and it was a lot of fun.

The desktop GUI was very young then. The text-based installers required you to input all sorts of video card & monitor specs. I recall the dreaded warning, "Failure to input the proper values may result in permanent damage to your monitor." Never destroyed a monitor, and never met anyone who did.

The fun part of Linux back then was that the user communities and the distributions matured together. It was a time of learning & growing.

I recently came across a box containing very old Linux CDs. Old enough to be eligible for a retirement pension ......

Still use Linux and wouldn't want it any other way.

Love it.

Reply Score: 1

by qunying on Tue 14th Apr 2009 16:28 UTC
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It was at a friend's dorm sometime in 1993, I saw his computer running something like a unix, and a name linux show up on the screen, Wow, it is cool. I thought it is related to my friend, as his last name is lin, and lin+unix=linux, haha ^_^. So I started my journey with linux, it was Slackware! I still remember the tireless time to download pile of floppies to get the new version. And floppies are not reliable, I had to verified them after write.... it was fun.

Since then I have switched back and forth between various distributions, but every time I switched back to Slackware. ^_^

Reply Score: 1

Feb 1995
by calc on Thu 16th Apr 2009 01:47 UTC
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Sometime around Feb-Mar 1995 using Slackware from the Infomagic cd set. I dual booted various versions of Linux and Windows until around mid 1998 when I converted my system totally over to Debian 2.0. Then started using Ubuntu with the 4.10 alpha release and still use it today. I now maintain for Ubuntu.

Reply Score: 1

Mandrake Linux 8.1, 2001
by terrywang on Thu 16th Apr 2009 23:54 UTC
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I bought a boxed Mandrake Linux 8.1 along with Chinese Simplified input method bundle back in year 2001 when I was a high school student.

Then I started my journey with GNU/Linux. Later on I tried almost all famous distros, several years with Fedora Core, Slackware and finally switched to Debian/Ubuntu family because of APT.

For myself, Desktop/Laptop, I am with Debian/Ubuntu, Arch and Gentoo. For work (Server), mainly Debian and Oracle Enterprise Linux.

I still have a photo of the 1st Linux box:)

Reply Score: 1