How did you get into Linux/UNIX and what made you stay with it?
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Introduction to Linux - A Hands on Guide
This guide was created as an overview of the Linux Operating System, geared toward new users as an exploration tour and getting started guide, with exercises at the end of each chapter.
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First computer I bought was a ZX-81. Extremely limited in all senses (prehistoric) until I found out how to code in assembly (I ended up with a small, almost quick, game.) Then I purchased a PC with MS-DOS and I stuck with assembly. At the time, the only way of doing decent graphical things was to hack the video card. And assembly just meant speed. So I ended up with some 3D stuff that was really fast. Then I got a dev job and learned C. There were PC and Mac. I remember the Mac has GUI and was running perfectly. When the first versions of Windows arrived, it was, hmmm... crap (taking ages to try to open a single window.) Later, when I felt I had to learn the win32 API and C++ which I utterly disliked (still do ), I started to lost interest in coding. Until a few years later when I heard about Linux . After a few unsuccessful tries with Debian (because I only had the cli and didn't know how to set it up), I got Ubuntu installed. It was just much easier to mess with my new system so I stuck with it. And I found out that it was still ok to dislike C++ crap (no offense intended, only my personnal opinion ), use the cli, and hack your os as much as you wish. Since then, I've been using Linux almost full time (I still have a win xp install somewhere because I maintain a few cross-platform apps with MinGW.) I do think that if Windows is still around, it's mainly because of Microsoft financial power and still dominant position in the desktop market. But I have nothing against them, I just prefer Linux for it's openness , freedom, quality, community , and many, many other reasons...
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Like many others here, I got my start with Linux by way of wanting to tinker, and keep around older hardware. I think my first experience with Linux was probably Fedora Core 5. More recently I've used Ubuntu, Mint, Peppermint, AntiX, and Crunchbang. I still have a WinXp install on my oldest running PC, but it doesn't see much use. Now I sort of collect other people's old unwanted machines and have my way with them. I'm supposed to be getting a couple of really old laptops, (P2, 128MB ram) so I am going to delve into building up something super-lightweight from a starting point of something like AntiX-core or Debian net-install. I can easily spend an entire evening messing around with a single conky configuration and not feel like my evening was wasted. But I love learning new things!
Distribution: Solaris 9 & 10, Mac OS X, Ubuntu Server
In the mid to late 1990's, Mac jobs were becoming more scarce. During a period of unemployment, I focused my energies on studying networking and working together between Macs, Windows and Linux. I installed Virtual PC on my Mac and dual booted it with Linux and Windows. I ended up getting a job in a Windows environment as a network specialist. When it turned out they had Unix servers, and no one else wanted to focus on Unix, I volunteered and was sent to training. I've been doing Solaris Systems Administration ever since. My desktops have always been Mac (even when everyone else had Windows PCs and I was responsible for maintaining a Novell server). I've done some OpenBSD and am now getting more into Ubuntu Linux, although my main responsibility is still Solaris 10 servers.
In my own personal opinion, anything is better than Windows. I have to know a bit of Windows, because I have to support a mixed environment. But there are dedicated Windows support people who are constantly handling all the problems Windows users are having. Even in a NATted private network environment, there are frequent infections because of Windows users who click on links they shouldn't -- "Oh, man, I'm really sorry. I thought that was our own network people telling me I was over quota." The Linux and Mac users require much less support.
I first started using free/libre software when I was in high school and didn't have enough money for M$ Office. I heard about OpenOffice(now I use LibreOffice) and decided to give it a try. Well, it obviously worked, and it turned out to be the first of many apps, including Firefox, Thunderbird, Gimp, Inkscape, VLC, gxine, etc. Soon, I got to a point where the only things that remained a thorn in my side were the adware, viruses, and other cyber filth that plagued millions of machines like mine. After griping about yet another virus, and yet another round of hoop jumping in a chatroom, someone suggested I download and try GNU/Linux. The first distribution I ever tried was Debian. I was far from an expert, but it didn't take me long to find my way around. The difference was huge however, it was like moving from a 1 bedroom apartment into a giant 32 room mansion
Even today, I stick with GNU/Linux because I find it to be much more open, flexible, and powerful than anything else on the market. I also haven't spent a single dime on software Now, I'm in college taking a web design course. The main thing that bothers my instructors is the fact that, even though I'm sitting in front of this 20-ish inch iMac, I still insist on using my 10 inch Hp Mini Seriously though, with the virtual screens, it doesn't feel that small to me.
Well, that's my story, and I enjoyed reading yours
I was a programmer and a "security guy" on windows platforms ever since I was very young, but I discovered the power of linux when I was, umm, 16 I believe? Something like that... I will be 25 in June, and I will NEVER go back. Linux is f*ck*ng dominant, period.
To add to my previous post, I am a quick learner; I went from knowing nothing to full out programming and networking with linux in about a year. Compiled my own kernel within the first week of using linux..... Microsoft don't have sh*t on this!
Back in 2002 I was given a old computer but it didn't have an operating system on it. Then I found a boxed copy of Caldera OpenLinux eDesktop 2.4 in a bookshop. It came with a bonus book "Linux Desk Reference". I managed to install it and it's been Linux ever since.
I came in from commercial Unix and VMS environments. Hardcore BSD person for the longest time...
Linux is what I run the most of these days, because BSD seems to take more and more to get working and Linux seems to just work. OpenBSD finally added NTFS support by default (this month!), but since I still have to run a VM on a daily basis, well, Linux works.