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I tinkered with Linux eight or nine years ago. I tried most of the major distros at the time including Mandrake, RedHat, Slackware, very early Ubuntu, and eventually settled on Debian (first potato then woody). I had a win2k pro disk at the time and getting a Linux machine to run smoothly and as functionally as a windows machine was (for me at least) kindof a pain in the butt. As a result I gave up on Linux and used windows (2k then XP) as my desktop environment OS.
Recently, however I was involuntarily upgraded to windows 7 after I spilled a cup of coffee on my laptop and had to buy a new one. To say the least I was underwhelmed. After about a year with win7, things started going whacky which would be the point where I would do a format/reinstall but... my cheapo acer laptop didn't come with a windows disk. Dag. So I backed all my files up and decided to give Linux a second try before I dropped a big wad of cash on a windows disk. Boy was I surprised! I did a net install of Debian squeeze and almost all my hardware worked! After a couple of hours of tinkering/memory-refreshing I had everything working. I currently am using debian squeeze as my sole operating system and am very happy with it and the applications that run under it.
In conclusion, I'd just like to thank you all, and others like you, for putting in the time and effort to make Linux a real, viable alternative to Windows and MacOS.