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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Early LInux
by Al Dente on Mon 13th Apr 2009 15:01 UTC
Al Dente
Member since:
2006-09-12

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.

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