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View Poll Results: Were you an early Linux adopter?
I am Linus Torvalds or Richard Stallman. 2 1.94%
I helped put together the first usable Linux OS. 0 0%
I used Linux back before it had a GUI. 16 15.53%
I've been using Linux for a long time. 42 40.78%
I started using Linux in the last few years. 43 41.75%
What's Linux? 0 0%
Voters: 103. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 09-09-2009, 09:52 PM   #1
Registered: Jan 2009
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Were you an early Linux adopter?

This might seem like a silly post, but I was curious if there are any members on the forum who were early Linux adopters (early 1990s, right?) Would you be willing to share a story or two?

One of the reasons Linux and FOSS is so much fun today is because the movement has really taken off and there is so much software to explore. But I've always had respect for those guys I've heard about who used Linux back when there weren't a lot of drivers, when there wasn't as much industry support, and when we didn't have all these cool package managers to handle dependency checking and what not.

Just please keep this focused on Linux. If all you old ENIAC and VAX programmers start chiming in, plus the early BSD and other *nix guys, is going to have to get another server.
Old 09-09-2009, 10:12 PM   #2
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I didn't at first realize there was a poll attached.

I started using Linux in December 2006. Within 2 weeks of my trying out my first Linux (Ubuntu), I erased Windows, became a Slackaholic, and have never looked back for a second.

Not to inspire folks to throw off the polling results, but I wonder: will the first poll option be selected more than twice??

Plus, I don't think the subject is silly -- I'd like to hear some stories from days waaay back, involving Eniac or VAX if need be. I have actually encountered 2 VAX mainframes in my lifetime, though didn't actually set eyes on them. One is/was at one of our local universities, and the other is at my previous place of work.

Old 09-09-2009, 10:52 PM   #3
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I installed slack in 97. Blew it off; not enough there to be usable, and at the time I was far too busy to be a linux hobbyist/hacker.

I installed Mandrake around 2001 and have been using it ever since.
Old 09-09-2009, 11:33 PM   #4
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I was originally a "Coherent" home user starting in 1990. That gave me enough *nix training to move laterally at work into UnixWare. I stayed with that, even at home, till I was forced back into Windows. Finally, a few years ago, I tried Debian Sarge and have pretty much made the complete jump.

Just please keep this focused on Linux. If all you old ENIAC and VAX programmers start chiming in, plus the early BSD and other *nix guys, is going to have to get another server.
Nah, we get this question from time to time, and the codgers dutifully rise to the occasion. Personally, I can only claim my earliest computing as on a Burroughs L9000 (assembler) in the 70s, so I'm a bit shy of true codgerness. LOL

Last edited by Quakeboy02; 09-09-2009 at 11:38 PM.
Old 09-10-2009, 02:07 AM   #5
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Had some early version of BSD, don't remember which one (4.x?), then RH 4.2(?).
Dual boot with MS as the RH versions increased.
Last MS = win2k, imho best version they've done. Wiped that sometime ago.
Went with Fedora up to v8, then Centos. Fedora means too much re-installing.
Have used VAX/VMS, various versions at Uni & work. Solid *nix (various) at work since 95(?).

Oldest desktop (school): Commodore PET
Also (at school), Teletype to ICL mainframe (ahh; muscles in my fingers ...)
First paid gig as programmer: Sinclair Spectrum + rubber keybd

Last edited by chrism01; 09-10-2009 at 02:09 AM.
Old 09-10-2009, 02:51 AM   #6
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I started hearing about Linux a little time after I moved into the IT department at my company (about 10 or 11 years ago). I was learning UNIX at the type on a Sequent dynix/ptx machine.

I bought SAMS Red Hat Linux Second Edition (1998) which had an installation CD containing Red Hat Linux version 4.2 as this was way before I had a broadband connection. I played with it for a while, but needed to use Windows to do various things for work.

Over the years, I have used:
  • Dynix/ptx
  • Red Hat
  • HP-UX
  • SuSE
  • Mandrake
  • Debian
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux
  • AIX
  • Fedora Core
  • CEntOS
  • Oracle Enterprise Linux
  • Ubuntu
  • Open Solaris
  • Puppy

Probably others, but I can't remember them all now.

I still use:
  • HP-UX
  • Oracle Enterprise Linux
  • Ubuntu
  • CEntOs
Old 09-10-2009, 03:26 AM   #7
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I tried Red Hat 5 (couldn't remember to use startx!), Corel Linux (installed completely only once, it used to regularly hang) and Mandrake back when that was the most user friendly distro. This would have been in the mid-late 90s. It's all a lot easier now - I remember having to manually edit config files to get a modem and then ISDN modem to work. Back then, if you wanted anything to work, you needed a second PC that already had a connection to do research on.
Old 09-10-2009, 07:36 AM   #8
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I remember downloading slackware 2 or 3 and writing flopp disks then spending hours installing it and recompiling the kernel to get my video and network working and then finally got it on the internet and then didn't do much with it. around 2003 I bought myself a new laptop and it came with Windows XP and after a little bit of using that I started looking at linux again, I tried distos like redhat but went back to slackware to get away from all the package and dependancy issues and stayed with it now for over 5 years. IIRC slackware 9 or 10 was what I really started using then. I always tried to not limit myself to one os, years ago I had my Amiga and could emulate c64 and mac and pc.
Old 09-10-2009, 07:48 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by GrapefruiTgirl View Post
Not to inspire folks to throw off the polling results, but I wonder: will the first poll option be selected more than twice?? Sasha
Somebody's already voted for that one...I wonder who would be so daft?

I started with Slackware 10.0 in 2004/2005. Still a newbie.

Last edited by brianL; 09-10-2009 at 07:49 AM.
Old 09-10-2009, 08:35 AM   #10
Registered: Dec 2007
Posts: 44

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During 2006/7 I tried (don't remember versions):
  • Suse
  • ASPLinux
  • Fedora
  • ASPLinux(again)
  • Suse (again)
  • Fedora (again)
  • ASPLinux(again)
  • Mandriva
  • Fedora (again)
  • Slackware 10 (failed to even boot)

After that switched to Slackware (11,12,13).
Old 09-10-2009, 10:00 AM   #11
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My first Linux was Red Hat 4.2. I installed it in fall 1997. Just after the installation I ran it and I saw login prompt. I stared at it for a few minutes and finally I recalled I have to put login root as well as my password. The first command I typed was man man. After three days of Linux usage I successfully configured and compiled the kernel. I improved my system each day. After one year I finished to configure all services.

My first Slackware was 7.1. I installed it in winter 2000. Since that time I use Slackware exclusively -- at home and at work. I customized my system for all those years. I wrote a bunch of scripts to install and to configure all the services. In 2003 I described an early version of some of these scripts in 91 issue of LinuxGazette: Installing Slackware and Making It Secure.

I install each new version of Slackware. Thanks to my scripts I'm able to configure the system in a minute. Than I usually have to resolve some new problems. I skipped only one Slackware version -- 12.0. I didn't like 2.6.x series kernels and 2.4.x series kernels didn't work with Slackware 12.0.

In 2008 I registered as newbie. I helped some people and a lot of people helped me. Reading different threads I gained a lot of useful knowledge. Thanks to it my system is now better than whenever before.

I'm an active member of FLOSS community. For five years I was an editor of Linux-oriented Polish-language quarterly magazine. I wrote a few Open Source programs including anti-spam Perl mail filter testmail and useful set of macros for called ooo-macro (English-language version) and ooo-makro (Polish-language version). All these packages are accessible through From time to time I submit some bugs that I find in different applications -- first of all in I'm also the maintainer of a dozen or so of SlackBuilds -- mostly dockable applications for lightweight window manager Window Maker. If you'd like to see my desktop look here: This is my Slackware desktop....

Last edited by w1k0; 09-10-2009 at 03:40 PM. Reason: update
Old 09-10-2009, 11:04 AM   #12
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I had oodles of failed attempts at running various Red Hat and Corel (?) Linux versions around 2000. My first Linux workstation that I could actually use was Suse 9.1 Personal -- that was in November 2004.
Old 09-10-2009, 01:36 PM   #13
Valery Reznic
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I began work with Linux in 1995. It was some early version of Slackware.
Then shortly after that it was repaced by RedHat 3.0.3 (LinuxPro 4 from WorkGroup Solution)

Recently I had a fun to install this RedHat 3.0.3 under Qemu and make it communicate with a host system. RedHat 3.0.3 mounted NFS exported directory on the host and open display on host.

I can't believe myself when I first installed this ancient Linux and then made it talk to the host (Fedora 10)
Old 09-10-2009, 11:40 PM   #14
Registered: Oct 2003
Location: Mississauga, ON
Distribution: Ubuntu 9.04
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I first installed Red Hat Linux 9 in 2003, and joined Linuxquestions around this time. Then I tried various other distros: Mandrake, SuSE, Fedora Core. I then lost interest in spending hours recompiling things from the command line and stopped until I installed Ubuntu Breezy Badger in 2006. I've been using Ubuntu Linux on and off for the past 3 years but I spend most of my time with Mac OS X. I have Windows Vista as well but I only boot into it when I need to use Windows-only programs, because it takes forever to boot up and can never remember my monitor settings. At least with Linux I can back up my xorg.conf file.

Last edited by vincebs; 09-10-2009 at 11:43 PM.
Old 09-11-2009, 01:22 AM   #15
Registered: Apr 2008
Location: UK
Distribution: openSUSE, Fedora
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I dabbled with SuSE 7.1, then Mepis 3.3.1, skipped a Mepis release or two and have been using M6, 7 and 8 on my main machine throughout those releases.

Hope that gives some clue to the time line.


beginner, debian, story

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