Tell us your Linux story


I am going to ignore my entire tandy/commodore/apple][/windows3.x period.( other than this line). :wink:
In 1998 remotely accessing an AT&T Sys V account was required for C class in college. Still have my Sobel book. I hated fighting with windows using hyperterm to telnet in to school for lab work and voiced this sentiment to my instructor. He suggested Linux. My first Linux was Red Hat stayed with it until I had too many scripts written to work around bugs in rpm and jumped to Debian in 03/04? The last windows install for me was in 01, running Windows 2k in VMWare Workstation to play Deus Ex. I have only used windows occasionally at work, which is rare, I work in field service for heavy industrial. I went distro hopping, people used to joke that I changed distros at least daily. It was true enough to be funny. I would often have 3+ distros installed at once. Constant tinkering.
By 2008 I was still distro hopping, using Kubuntu (hardy heron) for 2 of my childrens computers. Primarily using Debian, still multi-booting to play with other distros. In 2011 I came back to Arch Linux and have been there ever since.


Would this have included any graphics work (cad/cam, solid modeling)?


Nope, @oldgeek, I install, rebuild, upgrade, and calibrate critical process control valves for Co-gen power facilities.* That is I did before the car accident last year. All of my Linux stuff is hobby or sidelight. I built and administered some servers for a maritime security firm I was operations manager for a decade ago because they wouldn’t pay to have it done and I needed the services.

* simple terms, I work on the big throttle, bypass and start up valves for steam driven electricity generating facilities like this one in Texas. I work in the penthouse a lot.


Always air conditioned, right? :smile:


Not always but there were 20° days when it rained up. :smiley:
Definitely earned my pay in the ArkLATex.


Well I guess I should chime in. I got started with Linux around 98’. I bought the classic 7 CD SUSE in a box at Barnes & Noble. Played around with Redhat in the red carpet day’s and settled on Slackware.

I broke away from computers due to multiple deployments with the military. By 2004 I had not touched Linux in 2-3 years. From 2004 to 2013 I was on and off with Mac, Windows, and Linux finally settling back to Linux as my sole OS this year. I distro hopped quite a bit and finally have settles on elementary OS. I’m quite comfortable here and don’t plan on going anywhere soon.


my windows laptops hard drive broke so i brought it to a repair shop the guy wanted me to spend too much for a new hard drive i also lost the windows 7 activation code so i bought a new hard drive off of amazon and just decided to not go through the whole windows 7 torrent and find a code online or something nonsense so i just went with ubuntu thought it was ok and decided to try a few other versions and now im on mint. really loving the linux freedom and i cant see myself going back for a long time. im a newbie and had no idea how to use the terminal or anything im still struggling a little bit the learning curve is still a bit steep for me but im getting there


Rock and roll, dude-man!


In around '97/'98 when I was 18 and doing A-Levels in school our Comp-Sci teacher was toying with Linux as a mail server and gave a few of us access to it. Soon afterwards I got a copy of Slackware to play with and over the next couple of years progressed to RedHat Linux (before RedHat Linux turned into Fedora). Windows 2000 was the last Windows version I used as a primary desktop OS.

Around 2003 I somehow ended up running a LUG in North Wales and through that I got a job installing and maintaining a bunch of Linux servers for an ISP. I moved on (and away from Wales) to work for MySQL, Rackspace and HP, all working on Linux (although I did some AIX for MySQL).

I have used Ubuntu a lot, I’m not a fan of Unity (sorry!) and haven’t liked some of the other internal directions it took so I keep going back to Fedora, that is not to say Ubuntu is bad but in the Pepsi/Coke debate I took the side that I think tastes better. I typically run Ubuntu on servers and Fedora on desktops. My development workstation which I spend most of my working day on runs Fedora, I have a laptop for Ubuntuish testing running Mint and the machine I am typing this on is a Macbook Pro. There is a long explanation of how I got into Macs, but that is for another day.


My intro to Linux is probably a little unusual here. Because I grew up (I’m from '96) at a time when having a PC with Windows XP on it was very normal, and because I did not have a TV, I spent a lot of time as a kid discovering the possibilities of PC’s.

I remember that when I was like 11y old, a 15y old kid at a vacation camp told me that “Linux is like Windows, but for real hackers.” I didn’t think too much of it then, since I was too busy playing MMORPG’s. Yet a few years later, I found out what open-source software was because of VLC (if I’m not mistaken).
I was researching something about this when I accidentally bumped on an Ubuntu-related article. So, I looked it up, at the time that 11.04 Natty Narwhal was just released. That’s right. I was very impressed by this totally-awesome looking, new, different thing called “Unity” (which is funny, because now I know that not everyone wa (hi Bryan)leased with it (hi Bryan)).

I tried 11.04 (and subsequent releases of Ubuntu) a few times on my laptop. I liked it, but I always switched back to Windows because of gaming. I kept following some Linux news though. Until two years ago, when my laptop broke and I had to temporarily use a Pentium 4 desktop with Windows XP. I threw Arch with XFCE on it, and I enjoyed my time hacking around (I loved solving the numerous problems by searching through forum threads :smile:) Also, the Humble Bundle and the arrival of Steam on Linux meant a lot for me, since I like a little (indie) game or two.

Now I have been using a generously gifted first-gen i7 desktop with a dual boot for half a year and I love it! I started off with Arch + Gnome Shell, pretty, but sloooow, so Ubuntu 14.04 is sharing disk space with Windows 7 atm. I use Ubuntu for almost everything I do on a PC (including photo processing in Darktable), I only have Windows to steadily play my way through some must-have gaming titles. I could certainly live without that, but you know, Windows was already installed, so why dump it? :slight_smile:

I’ll probably switch to Mint + MATE in the near future because of the speed, or elementary OS Freya when it comes out.

Btw, I was also given a Raspberry Pi as a birthday present by friends previous year (best present evaaah!). I played around with it and actually used it a while as a webserver, Mumble server and DVB-t server. It taught me some basic networking & server skills that I also use now on my family’s Linux-driven NAS/miniserver.


Somewhere around 1998 I was generally interested in OSes (still am), and a friend suggested I should check Linux out. I bought a book like SAMS 24 hours or something that had RHL in it. I think it was v 5. I remember feeling like it was a pretty daunting task at the time – especially compared to now. Unfortunately, my PCI modem wouldn’t work, and I was completely cut off from the internet so long as Linux was running. I dual booted for a bit, but until I got broadband a couple of years later I wouldn’t really be a Linux user.

A couple of years later, I had a crappy laptop I would put Debian on, but I didn’t realize there was such a thing as package managers. I would tell the installer to pretty much install everything. There was a ncurses selection util, and I would just tick boxes. Took forever to install it all, and if I didn’t get something I wanted, I would start all over again. If only I could go back in time and tell me.


Back in 2006, I was starting grad school, and purchased my first PC, a desktop I purchased with my own money (1st paycheck as TA). Until then, all I had were computers purchased by my parents. This desktop computer came with XP, but a friend gave me a CD ROM of Ubuntu 6.06 that he just received in the mail. He helped me with the partitioning of the hard drive, and we installed Ubuntu in dual boot. I test it frequently, keeping XP as my main OS. I kept upgrading it to the later versions, and using it more and more, until eventually did the switch a couple of years later, with the 8.04. Almost every computer I touched after that, regardless of the owner, ended up with extra partitions and Ubuntu installed, just for test. I was carrying around all the time a CD case with at least the 2 latest Ubuntu version burned in a CD, plus systemresccd to create the partitions to install it. Most people like it. But there was always this something that stopped them from using it or even keeping it installed. Games, proprietary software, or simply laziness. A cousin told me: “I got rid of the partition because I ran out of space on my hard drive”. I guess that happens when porn becomes HD.

Anyway, when Ubuntu switched to purple, I disliked it, and when Unity came up, I skipped that upgrade, and started looking for options. Tried a bunch of stuff, but decided to install LMDE due to its rolling distro promise. When they failed to deliver this promise, I tried Arch, and stick to it. Been running the same installation since 3 years ago. I use Fedora at work, RHEL on a server, but my personal machines run Arch.

I still have a partition with Win7 on my laptop, but I only use it to put stuff in my iPod (something I haven’t done in awhile, since I stream most of my music nowdays), and ironically, to create LinuxLive USB keys, because sometimes UNetbootin gives me issues. But since I installed Arch Linux, I haven’t created another USB Live keys. Probably I’ll do it soon, to install Linux in my sister computer, again. She still uses my first PC, after several hardware upgrades. I gave it to her when I move out of my country, with Ubuntu installed (without Unity) and she loved it. Then, I installed LMDE in my next trip, and she used for a couple of years without major issues. After a recent hardware failure, the technician wiped the HD and put Win7, just because he couldn’t find the Start button. She’s been asking for Linux since then. “I hate Windows”, she tells me on the phone. I guess it’s genetic…


Back in 2001-2002 a friend gave me an ISO of Slackware 7.1 . Used slackware until I buy a laptop where debian for a while then ubuntu was the best distros for the hardware ; or I got older and got tired of compile my kernel and software to be up to date . :). I struggled with “Unity” but now we get along . Now I’m on Ubuntu 14.04 at work , at home , at my wife’s laptop , my server , my friends .


In 1997 was the hear I first year and saw this new thing called Linux. The guy that was using it had to install it from about 20 1.44" diskettes and when he was finished he had something resembling MS-DOS that I was still using (this whole Windows 95 thing will never catch on… GUI pffft!!). He told me how awesome it was and I ignored him and played a game he couldn’t (then again, he didn’t want to).

Jump ahead about a year and a half and I got access to the Internet and more time than I should have and in my meanderings I discovered Linux again. a 46mb download later and I was busy installing Peanut Linux on my PC. Through lots of browsing and swearing and dependency hell (resolved with a trusty pen and paper) I finally had it installed, networking and internet working, GUI up and running and even sound (something that a few years later would prove to be more difficult). After playing a bit I turned back to Windows 98 (so this Windows thing was sticking around) and played some games.

Jump many years on and again I got access to some Internet (yes, inbetween the idea of the Internet was just an expensive dream) and I heard of Ubuntu and they where willing to ship there disks to me free of charge… WAIT WAT? So after a few weeks I had my grubby paws on some Ubuntu 6.06 CD’s and running the Live CD blew my mind. I was using an operating system and I didn’t even install it.

Sadly as I didn’t have Internet at home or ready access anywhere else I never really used Ubuntu. I later found a local PC Store owner that was dabbling with Linux and got 4 DVD’s with Mandriva on it. I though KDE looked awesome but again without the Internet the experience was lacking. I was still firmly routed to Windows and my pirated XP machine worked very well to play games.

So, when I finally got out of my home country and got access to broadband I again started to dabble with Linux, a natural choice to start with in 2009-2010 was Ubuntu (and lets face it, the perfect 10 Maverick Meerkat could very well be the best OS that there ever was). Unfortunately since then I have fallen into a unending cycle looking for the “one” OS/Distro and I have been distro hopping like something silly. No seriously, I have on a bad day (normally after coming of off (or is that off of) night shift gone through literally 4 different installs, updates, theming and discards. I have installed distro’s more than I have actually used distro’s >.<

So now I am on Ubuntu 14.04 (again) and I am pretty sure by this time next week I won’t be.

PS - Any suggestions what I should install?

PPS - Just kidding. But seriously if you feel I am missing out on the ultimate experience let me know!



@nlsthzn it seems that you’re looking for Arch Linux. Only that you don’t know it yet, my young Padawan. The Linux Force is strong in you. Dive into the swamps of Dagobah. Install Arch Linux. You will emerge as a Linux Jedi

Edit: Just check Arch Linux wiki. One of the best documentation for any distro out there. Read the Beginner’s install guide (take no offense from the name), and see if it is for you. No graphical wizard, just plain commands. You end up with the same command prompt your friend did in 1997. And then you could install almost any graphical interface (Unity support is not yet complete)


Oh my God.




A proper fossil, right there. :slight_smile:


Indeed. Not sure that I’ve ever heard of anyone surviving to such a ripe old age before…


My first computer was an Amiga 500 and I was very much an Amiga fan all the time. I was into the Public Domain scene, did some programming and was really attracted to many concepts like BOOPSI and ARexx.

When Commodore finally died, I bought my first PC which was a 486 at the time. I could run Windows 95, which was sufficiently to use, but felt like a huge drop in productivity, compared to my Amiga environment. Yes, the machine was incredibly faster, but the rest just felt weird.

My bother was experimenting with SUSE at the time and I bought my first copy of SUSE in 1997. Felt much more at home there than in the PC world. But the annoyances of hardware support made me switch to Mac OS X in 2003. There was a Unix-y system the would work and do not have so much annoying hardware problems. I spent quite some time on getting to the free software I was used to on Mac OS X via X11. For instance, I would build the whole KDE SC just to have Kile.

Forward to 2010 when I decided that Apple had taken enough of my time and money and I switched back to Linux as my system of choice. I was running Ubuntu at the time, but I grew somewhat unsatisfied with that. Now, I am a Mageia user for two years now and very happy with it.


That was awesome and sad at the same time. Now I’m also feeling old. Thanks @neuro

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