Though it seems like it to look at the way I am now, I haven’t been messing with Linux that long. Just now three years I guess. I remember asking Lamont something about it as we walked out of our last class before Christmas break. Somehow I got a copy of it on CD shortly after that and headed home.
I remember why I got a copy too. The Dell Optiplex that I had bought (the first computer I had purchased) wouldn’t run Windows 95 or 98 worth a damn, amazingly given its INTEL chipset. The onboard ATi graphics chipset wouldn’t work right and it kept crashing and rebooting. I had a beta copy of Windows2000 that worked sorta, but it still had the problems. I got tired of being in the middle of something only to have the thing crash and reboot. After several reinstalls, each one where I thought I had fixed it, I was ready for a change.
So heading home with my new Redhat 6.1 CD I fired up the install and blew away everything on the drive. I worked my way through the install guessing on a lot of it and hoping that stuff would work. It was a terrible install. Nothing like the first installs for Linux I am sure, but it was still bad. Nothing like todays installs either (unless you are talking about Debian and then it was a lot better). I rebooted and found a machine that worked. I left it up and tooled around in the menus looking for something to do. Not knowing shit about it I found little to do except play the games that came with it. I did find that it didn’t ever crash on me no matter how long I left it on. Well that was a good thing I guess. Still I didn’t know what to do with it since I had no programs to install, no idea what was on it, and no idea how to get to it. I had noticed that during the install Redhat was kind enough to show everything that it was installing and give a brief little summary of what that package was. So I went through a reinstall and made sure to watch the whole install trying to catch all the packages and what they were supposed to do. This time I learned enough to promptly break everything beyond repair by me. So, I reinstalled it and broke it again. This process repeated for several weeks, with various excursions back into W2k Beta when I was tired of messing with it. Slowly you learn to use it and to find that there is some really cool stuff out there.
Now I use Linux exclusively as a desktop, no Windows here. There was an interesting road from one to the other, but I think that I am happy with the walk.