Hi all from a late starter
Up until 2 years ago I had little interest in computing. Then, unemployed and 58 years old, I took a few introductory courses. They were all MS Windows orientated, but they set me off on the right track. I soon learned, from the 'net and magazines, about the alternatives to Windows. Tried some of the what you might call the 'half-way houses': Cygwin, GnuWin32, and a Knoppix live cdrom. I originally had Windows ME, then went to XP, and in a moment of insanity, signed up for AOL broadband. At present, I'm dual-booting XP and Slackware.