My first 10 years with Linux (Linux.com)
Posted Oct 17, 2006 12:22 UTC (Tue) by N0NB
Parent article: My first 10 years with Linux (Linux.com)
It's been 10 years already? Yes it has.
I can say that I've been learning Linux/UNIX for a decade. Believe it or not, my interest was piqued because of a spam post to the alt.music.defleppard group I was subscribed to at the time!
In Sept of '96 I installed Slackware 3.0 off of a loaned CD, but I didn't install X as I didn't have the space. I think I had something like 50 MB free on a partition at the time.
In November of '96 I picked up a copy of the Slackware '96 four CD set at the local music store and installed that over the 3.0 install. I even braved downloading, compiling, and installing a later 2.0 kernel at this time! I think I freed up enough space from my Windows 3.11 install to put Slack '96 on a 150 MB partition! I even shoe-horned X into there.
In early '97 I bought a 1.2 GB hard drive (this was on a 486DX/100 based machine with 12 MB of RAM) and could finally expand the scope of my Linux activities. I wrote my web pages in Linux as Win 3.11 presented too many limitations. By the time I finally got a copy of Win '95 installed in July of '97 I was probably using Linux 40% of the time.
In early '98 I get fed up with Win '95 for some reason (I can't remember exactly why) and decided to go with Linux full time. Other than using Xcel for a tax spreadsheet that spring, I only booted into Win '95 to try and figured out what my then ISP was doing to break the PPP connection.
1998 was the year Linux really stepped out into the spotlight. New sites dedicated to promoting Linux discussion and news appeared. Netscape made news by "open sourcing" their Mozilla browser although it would be 1 1/2 years and a complete rewrite before I was able to use it on a daily basis (around M17 or M18). Star Office became a free download so that solved my need for MS Office and booting into Win '95. By the end of 1998 being able to live on Linux full time was much easier than it had been scant months earlier.
In September of '99 I did my first install of Debian on a leftover laptop (Thinkpad 760 ED) and it all went well except to this day the built in MWave modem and sound are unsupported. The years brought new hardware and the developers have kept pace. These days I hardly worry about hardware compatibility. Over the past several years I have bought a USB digital camera, USB flatbed scanner, USB external CD writer/DVD player, a couple of USB memory sticks and a USB 2.0 card for my desktop machine and it has all "just worked".
I've gone back to using Slackware on a different partition on my T23 laptop for certain development work. Meanwhile, Debian Sid is my primary install on both my laptop and desktop machines. I have used the Live CDs from Knoppix, Kanotix, and Mepis to do various things and have experimented with Slax and other live CDs.
The polish and capability of Free Software now far exceeds anything I could have imagined a decade ago. My thanks to the developers and everyone else that has made this possible. The fun things are still happening here in the Linux Community and I look forward to what the second decade of my involvement with Linux and Free Software brings. It will continue to be fun.
- Nate >>
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