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bytor 11-17-2004 12:46 PM

My Linux/Windows/Computer experience. First off I'm 44 and a former geek. I started with the relics, Vic-20, C-64, 8085 SDK, PC-XT, MS-DOS 3-6 & Build your own. I've programmed in assembly, C, Basic, and Dbase III. For serious work it was assembly, C with Dbase III for work. I never have grasped C++ or the Windows API, the drawback of self teaching I guess.
In 98 I tried Red Hat 5.2 on a PIII 333Mhz HP Pavilion. Trying to switch from Win 98SE to Linux on a full blown Windows box turned out to be the learning curve from hell! I never did get X to even work. I was GUI spoiled by that time and didn't want to be confined to the CLI. In 2000 I tried RH 7. X worked on install, sound, winmodem, and the epson printer didn't work. Just about zero for drivers for the windows based home/desktop systems. The Gnome 1.2 GUI was totally alien but at least the KDE 1.1 learning curve was easier. Back to Win 98SE. In 2003 I decided to get back to the "old ways". I built my own system again. I was tired of the Windows bloat code (bigger processor more memory bigger HD). Dropping $1500 on a new system every 2 years isn't in the cards or budget. This time I was a little more hardware savy when it came to Linux so the new system was built for Win XP with the concept of switching to Linux. Pentium 4 2.4 Ghz, 512Mb Memory, 40GB HD, tower case, 300 watt power supply, FCI VC19 motherboard, Viewsonic A70f monitor. I already had a ATI Radeon 9700 (PCI) graphics card for the HP (BTW it didn't work in the HP, but since I was looking at building a new system in the next couple of months keep it for the new system). The motherboard had a C-Media CM8738 sound chip on board, save a few bucks now, upgrade later. In mid 2003 I picked-up SuSE 8.1 Pro. Viola with Yast I was able to get this puppy up and running on the first shot with the exception of the Lexmark Z22 printer (damn win printer). 2004 tried the Suse 9.1 LiveCD loved the look so I bought SuSE 9.1 Pro. Installed like a charm (printer half-ass works, head alignment problems I think). For the average person though switching from Windows to Linux is still a pretty steep learning curve. The average Joe or Jane doesn't even know how to format a harddrive let alone dual-boot, partition, or install firefox using ./firefox in the console window. On the otherhand someone with computer knowledge could make the transition, and for the CS major Linux should be a breeze. My $0.02 worth (end of novel).

jaakkop 11-25-2004 02:02 PM

My winXP got all messed up so I just lost my mind when I realized that I'd have to install it for the 3rd time. Good thing that I got known to Linux. Linux really changed my life: It has made me more better with computers. I have been using Linux since I was 12 years old.

masinick 11-29-2004 03:57 PM

I first used GNU/Linux software in 1995. I have been a UNIX user (and administrator, software engineer) since 1982, and a programmer/software engineer since graduating from Michigan Tech in 1979. I did not own my own home computer until 1995 when I became interested in Linux. Instead, I used computers at work and convinced employers to give or loan me equipment to experiment with at home or use to connect to systems at work.

The promise of a UNIX-like system on a PC system is what attracted me to Linux. I had used PCs in the past and liked the user interfaces better than eighties vintage UNIX systems, but I did not like the lack of flexibility provided by the typical PC operating system. I saw Linux as a great opportunity for that to change.

I had already used quite a bit of GNU software on UNIX systems, so when I saw that GNU/Linux systems, especially the early ones, had mostly GNU software, I figured it would be familiar stuff. It was, only it seemed to be pretty snappy, extracting good interactive performance out of ordinary PC hardware.

I began in 1995 with what was probably a somewhat dated copy of Slackware 2.3, which I obtained out of a book co-authored by Patrick Volkerding, creator of Slackware. As I learned about Linux, its history, packaging, and background, I came to understand the concept of distributions, so I set out to purchase a computer from which I could test out multiple Linux systems, and for that matter, versions of BSD, Windows, and maybe even other systems.

As it turned out, I ended up testing mostly Linux systems, I even got a couple of small writing jobs reviewing the latest Linux distributions.

Over time, I developed a personal preference toward Debian GNU/Linux systems, both the free versions available directly from the Debian project and the various offshoot products and projects, most of which can be freely downloaded from the Internet, either as CD ISO images or as products you can load with a boot floppy and an FTP network connection.

I haven't counted how many different Linux distributions I've tested, but I've installed all of the major desktop systems, some of the lesser known ones, and a few special purpose ones. Though I've worked with servers for most of my professional career, in my home lab, I've been more interested in the developing base of desktop software rather than the already existing core of server software that's been around a long time.

As such, I've become particularly interested in the recent new breed of Live CD systems that can be initially loaded simply by booting from CD. These systems are a great way for anyone, beginner or experienced, to test out Linux software. Most of them can subsequently be installed on your hard drive, but only if you want to do so. For this reason they make ideal test platforms for someone wanting to dip their toes into the world of Linux software without necessarily touching or removing the Windows software that they are probably more comfortable and familiar with. I think they are a great way to introduce people to Linux, and I've been promoting Linux Live CDs everywhere.

My favorite every day system is a Debian GNU/Linux system called Libranet. Libra Systems, a small company in North Vancouver, BC, Canada, produces Libranet. The software provides an easy method to install and configure Debian Linux software packages, so it really accelerates getting into both Linux in general and Debian in particular. I like Libranet because it simplfies installation, configuration, and packaging, yet it doesn't hack or replace anything that is a core feature of a Debian-based system. That means that it is flexible, maintainable, stable, and secure, and it is very inexpensive to maintain, requiring only Internet access.

Another Debian based system that I really like is one that's built for a more specific purpose - SimplyMEPIS. The role of this software is to provide an effective desktop system that's stable, trivial to install, and a gentle step from Windows over to Linux software. This is one of those systems that uses the Live CD installation approach that I've become fond of. While MEPIS gets its technology from the Knoppix Live CD project and the overall Debian Linux project, the focus of this one is simplicity and desktop usability. While developers might look for something else, the casual desktop user would be hard pressed to find an easier, more flexible way to get into using Linux on the desktop.

I use and recommend both Libranet and MEPIS. They have climbed to the top of my personal favorites list.

yangwuking 12-02-2004 11:44 PM

There are two os in my computer
always, i choose linux
in linux ,i find myself

drowbot 12-16-2004 04:52 PM

I have only been using Linux for a few months. I had been curious about it for awhile, but I didn't give it a whole-hearted try until my WinXP Pro crashed....again. After going through the WinXP install for the millionth time, I found myself once again battling the OS to get all of my apps installed, get my ATI driver working properly, adjusting the settings to what I wanted and not what ol' Billy Boy thought I wanted, etc...
I'd had the Slackware 10 ISO's sitting on my hard drive for awhile at this point, gathering dust. So I decided to fire up Nero and burn them. That was in October and I have booted into Windows a grand total of 2 times since then. I briefly tried Fedora Core 2, but found it a little too "Windowy" for my tastes. Then I stumbled upon the LFS (Linux From Scratch) website and did the 5.1 install. I like this a lot better. I have total control over my system and it has been an amazing learning experience. I now run LFS 6.0 and there is not a trace of M$ on my machine. :)

CluelessSteve 12-21-2004 02:47 PM

"As soon as I can get java to run on my mandrake 10 machines I hope to leave windows where it belongs. "

On Mandrake 10.1 Official, the only thing I had to do to get Java to run on my machine was insert a line setting the path in the .bashrc file.

Java definitely runs on Mandrake--I'm using software that requires java to run.

Nerox 12-29-2004 05:04 AM

I started thinking when i began to use Linux. It's clear that Linux is the best system in order to learn programming.

vladimir@ares 12-30-2004 02:10 PM

i'm just trying, but it's damn hard :p

_UnPrEdictAbLe_ 01-07-2005 04:36 AM

Ohhh.. ohh.. great replies guys.. well i am now started loving linux completely..

i had great expectations with Fedore Core 3.. but well. it seems there a lot of bugs in it.. i will wait until people test it and say that it is good.... till then i will continue with FC2... strange but i dont seem to get used to other distros... coz i am now used to the familiar REDHAT BASED environment.


killfire 02-01-2005 03:21 PM


Originally posted by _UnPrEdictAbLe_
Ohhh.. ohh.. great replies guys.. well i am now started loving linux completely..

i had great expectations with Fedore Core 3.. but well. it seems there a lot of bugs in it.. i will wait until people test it and say that it is good.... till then i will continue with FC2... strange but i dont seem to get used to other distros... coz i am now used to the familiar REDHAT BASED environment.


if you are having speed issues (you mentioned it earlier) it could be partially due to redhat (or fedora, whatever).

it has lots of services running by default, services that you may or may not have asked to have running. this can slow it down significantly.

also, the os itself is not as clean as some, and rpms have their own inherent problems.

granted, i havent tried redhat for years, but if you want a huges speed boost just try out a slackware / fluxbox combo. it flys on my computer, and that a pentium 2 366mhz with 128 mb ram. really, it goes fast.

so first i would suggest a faster de that kde, maybe xfce if you want to stay full featured, or if you want just raw speed, check out fluxbox.

in regards to linux changing my life, well, it has changed my entire outlook on computers, has hightened my ability, and has showed me that computers can do a lot more than they usualy are used for, and that they can be a lot faster than they usually are (to cite my pentium 2 366 mhz box, it is faster than my ibook 800mhz with 640 mb ram running macosx 10.3)...

and im about to build a computer that will be pure linux, nothing but the best, slackware :)


deviant03 02-02-2005 02:54 PM

I had my box locked down in "paranoid mode", firewall, anti spyware-adware-virus-spam and took almost every precaution but somehow I still managed to get a virus. Got fed up with windows, tried Mandrake, Fedora and now Suse. Once I got hibernate and all the other power management features to work in Linux I uninstalled windows and never looked back :)

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