How old were you when you first started using Linux?

Old or young: New Linux users come in all ages.
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Some folks grew up on Linux. But for most of us, we started using it later in life.

Whether you switched from another operating system, or are one of the lucky few who knew no OS before it, all of us were beginners at some point.

How old were you when you started using Linux? Do you remember that time clearly, or is it so far in the past that it's but a faint memory?

Regardless of the answer, let us know when it was, and maybe, a bit about what that experience has meant to you.

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28 Comments

I started working in Unix systems (SCO, AIX and HP/UX) in the late 1980s and first installed Linux (Redhat) in the late 1990s. I didn't have a home PC until 2002, on which I naturally installed Linux. I have no great love for computers; they are a tool, nothing more. When I decided to get a home box, I wanted to keep the cost down and a bunch of parts and no o/s was the cheapest option.

Does not have much sense without the age. I've started with 28 with Linux Suse 6.2 (1999)

The question in the headline asks something completely different than the question in the poll.

I was in my twenties, in the early 1990s, when I did "my first Linux install" (an early SuSE Linux). I gave it up soon, continuing to use OS/2 (later its eComStation refresh) for serious stuff and Windows for games, and moving to Windows exclusively on the desktop a decade later when holding on to OS/2 on the desktop had finally ceased being a viable option.

But I was in my fifties when I actually "started using Linux". That was a year ago, when I finally couldn't avoid the tedious task of decommisioning my last active production server that still ran on OS/2 (eComStation) and building a Linux machine to do its work. Because of Windows 10 and my dislike of it that went even deeper than my general dislike of virtually anything from Microsoft I so far had had something to do with, I decided to try Linux at the same time, too. A few months later, I've moved virtually everything to Linux at my home & home office, and the only thing I ask myself is why I didn't try that earlier.

In my job, though, unfortunately it's still mostly Windows on the desktop, while the software I write usually runs on Linux servers.

My first install of Linux was in my 20's. Needed to learn Linux for my degree. After that I was working at MS shops and never had a use for Linux. About 10 years ago I had to do some admin work on a SLES install and have been working with Linux systems since. Been completely MS free for nearly 6 years now. My wife's laptop was the last machine that had a Windows install.

It was 1992. I was used to the command line, having used CP/M, CCP/M, CP/M86, Eunice (NCR Unix) and PCDOS for many years. Having learned to touch type twenty years earlier, I was not comfortable moving my hands away from the keyboard, so I was looking for an alternative to Microsoft's awkward new GUI. MINIX was too limited in scope, and Dr. Tanenbaum was determined to keep it that way. Then I found the Soft Landing Systems distribution. It took several days to download all of the diskette files I needed, but it was well worth it. Their 1.02 release contained kernel 0.99PL12. After they folded their tent, the switch to Slackware was seamless. I have never looked back, nor have I found reason to try any others. I later had opportunities to work with Red Hat and CentOS at work, but they felt disjointed and difficult to maintain. I currently use Slackware 14.2 with XFCE, and am still not comfortable moving my hands from the keyboard. I normally have about a dozen terminal windows running and JOE is my favorite editor.

My first UNIX experience was in college, probably around 1988/89. The systems there were a mix of DEC Ultrix (running on VAX hardware) and SunOS.

My first experience with Linux itself would be some time around 1996. I think that was Red Hat Linux 3. I wasn't very impressed with it at the time - I much preferred working with my SunOS/Solaris systems.

Needless to say, Linux is far far better today than it was then.

My first round with Linux was back in 2008 and I was 46 years old. Then came Windows 10 and I got lured back to windows for three years, but came back beginning of this year and cant understand why I stopped using Linux, W10 wasnt really worth it.

I was well over 30 when I first installed Slackware Linux with kernel 0.99pl13 in the fall of 1993 after using Solaris for about 3 years and Xenix since about 1985. It came on a bunch of floppies and I used dial-up to get it. I had to hack the kernel to get sound working.....

My first Linux experiences were when I was a young teenager wrangling with Slackware floppies around 1994-95, before I discovered SuSE and then Red Hat. It changed everything and opened up a whole new world of computing for me.

Hello.
I gave Linux a first try in 2001 when I was 26 years old. I bought a SUSE Linux CD, because I was bored from Windows. The most things worked fine, with exception of the internet connection via AOL DSL. Though I switched back to windows.

1,5 Years ago I was really fed up with the short battery power (1,5h) of my mobile CAD-Workstation (HP 8540W) on work. I was looking for a cheap, robust solution for the use on construction sites, under heavy and dusty conditions. As next I stepped in our stock where every old computer were stored and I found two Lenovo Thinkpad T61 with dead batteries. I bought a new battery and a 256GB SSD.

The only thing I was missing now was an operating system and I remembered Linux. After some reading in the internet I was ready to give Linux Mint a try. EVERYTHING worked well after the installation by USB Flash Drive and that T61 quick became my daily driver on construction site, in customer discussion and when I had to give a talk on a summit or trade fair.

Cheers

Karsten

First started using Linux regularly in my early 40s because I had an aging MacBook Pro and couldn’t justify the expense of a new one when the roughly equivalent XPS13 Developer Edition was so much cheaper. For the things I do—NodeJS, MongoDB, React, Docker, Redis—Arch Linux just works. With so many usable desktop distributions to choose from and native support for all the tools one might need, I can’t see why young web developers don’t start with Linux more often.

J'ai découvert Linux par curiosité, en 2016, en tapant Ubuntu dans la barre de recherche Google...car j'y avais vaguement entendu parler. J'avais voulu le tester sur mon Lenovo g5070 qui était préinstallé Windows 8. j'étais surtout motivé par le dualboot qui a mal tourné d'ailleurs !. J'ai par la suite formaté mon disque dur pour installer exclusivement Ubuntu en dualboot avec Linux mint. Aujourd'hui, je suis heureux de dualbooter fedora 29 et Ubuntu 18.04 sur mon Bureau HP 280 G2 et fedora 29 avec windows 10 sur mon Lenovo V110 que j'utilise pour mon travail à l'école. Mon environnement de bureau préféré est Gnome 3.3

I didn't start until I was 31, but then again, I'm 60. You do the math..

Mine is a bit of a mixed answer:

My dad is a software engineer (who helped Stallman port emacs to SysV) and used what I now understand was Red Hat back in the mid-90s. I used that, and Windows, back then for web browsing and other basic tasks. Of course I didn't know what I was working with. I just new it's what my dad used.

Fast forward to ~2013 and I hear about Linux for what I thought was the first time. There I started experimenting w/ Kubuntu, Zorin, and Ubuntu.

I found my workstation OS in Mint and server in CentOS later and haven't looked back since.

My first taste of Linux was back in 2010 when I was 12-year-old and 4th grade of elementary school.

And then I tried Fedora.

My intro. to Linux was when I was in my 17, I started out with Red Hat, followed by ubuntu, Lubuntu, Open Suse. And currently I am a web developer using Manjaro Linux.

I was about 24 when I first attempted a Linux install. I believe this was Red Hat 4.2 that I had got off the cover of a book purchased at Barnes & Noble. The back-old-days when you had to get creative because nobody had broadband where I lived. Certainly makes me appreciate how far things have come in the last 20 odd years.

The first time I had used Linux was when I was trying to recover a music player with rockbox (a custom music firmware). I was 15 at the time and I had to use Ubuntu 16.04. It a crazy experience using the terminal, after doing that I got into distro hoping after awhile I settled on Ubuntu MATE on my secondary computer. The other will always be windows until ReactOS can run on my hardware perfectly.

I started using Red Hat somewhere in 1995/96!

Why not make the poll interesting? What about the over-60's and us over-70's?

My first experience was technically a DEC Vax (VT100) system in '89-93 but I didn't know anything about OS's and such (I was studying flight operations and accounting). I used it for schoolwork and the occasional game of Conquest, including one time when everybody playing was in the same class and none of us wanted to be the first one to leave the game for class.

I know when I installed Red Hat Linux 8.0 because the day after I emailed a friend of mine to say I did it. It was "Thanksgiving Eve", or the night before Thanksgiving in 2003 and we had 2 children at the time (one 6 months old). He was instrumental in pulling me to the dark side and I picked RH so we would be on the same system when I had (many) questions.

We were running Windows XP at the time and it was in need of an upgrade. I couldn't afford a Mac at the time and wanted something new and up-to-date. Linux gave me that breath of fresh air!

Funny thing is, too, that the computer I installed it on then was the last computer I purchased new for myself to use (bought in 2000). So that computer saw me to the start of my Linux "career" which opened the door for all of the second hand computers since that time!

Wow, so it was 15 years ago?! A lot has changed since then!

I had already been a NetWare admin for almost 8 years when I first tried out Linux. Had Slackware on a Pentium 133 laptop, all of 32G of memory. Don't remember the Slack version (1996), but it was kernel 2.0.0 (it would actually fail with 2.0.27, after a long compile).
Dabbled in different versions, different distros, until finally making it my primary OS in 2001. These days have Mint on my home systems, and of course RHEL7 on my work machine.

My first experience with Linux was as a 15 year old trying to set up a Minecraft server on a CentOS 6 server to save money after using a shared hosting provider. I remember the feeling of logging into the server for the first time over SSH without really knowing how to work in the command line. A lot has changed since then. :-)

It was 2003 when I got introduced to Linux from a room mate. He is a satellite dish repairman and they are using Red Hat 2.1 that time. I got curious and asked for a copy. From then on, I got interest on using Linux. Its just hard during that time to use hardware since you need to manually configure initialization files. I remember putting a network card on my PC to get online but never successful. Also, installing new software that time is not a easy.

I also printed the whole Linux Fundamentals (not sure if this is the one from 2003) and started reading about it.

From then on I tried Ubuntu, PCLinux, Peppermint and other distros.

Hi,
I gave Linux my first try in 1994/95 with Debian pre-1.1 version, when i bought my first Intel PC after my Atari ST and Falcon period. So i am one of those guys who have struggled with hardware compatibility for a while !
Now it is a piece of cake ?

In 1993, I moved from NJ to Oklahoma to take graduate classes in physics. I wanted to learn UNIX but, for some reason ;-) , the staff in the computer lab wouldn't give me a login account. In '94, I heard about Linux on a BBS (I ran a WWIV board on OS/2 in those days - Misty Mountain in OKC) and it took me a week to download Slackware with kernel 0.95 via FTP onto 70+ 3.5" floppies using my 14.4 modem. It crashed immediately. Kernel Panic became a constant companion. A few weeks later, I finally got Slackware with kernel 0.99 running on my 386 with either 16 or 32 MB of RAM. I was 34 years old.

Since 2001, I use Linux on all my boxen, with an occasional foray into BSD Land. The only time I ever boot Windows is for pentesting. I'd love to find a set of OS/2 Warp floppies, or a CD. I want the Warp branding, not eComStation. Nostalgia. Ah, Youth! Pass the bottle.

24 or 25 years old, my first install was Yggdrasil LGX (Linux/GNU/X). I bought it as a pack, called something like "6 feet of Linux", which also came with TSX, sunsite and some other discs. I don't remember much about it, other than having to compile everything I wanted to use. X11R4? Compile it. twm? Compile it. On my old 386 nothing was fast, but I sure enjoyed running at home something similar to what I'd been using for years at work.

First time used turbolinux in late 90's. today use only MS OS with opensource software included.

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