How long is your open source story? Did it just begin within the last year? Or have you been a member of the community since before it was called "open source"? We asked our writers to share how long they have been interested in open source. Here are eight stories of how they got started.
"Since the days of comp.sources.unix and comp.sources.games on Usenet, in the mid-1980s. I learned a lot trying to port various games and utilities from whatever they were written for to Ultrix on our VAX." —Ethan Dicks
"My first memory of exposure to open source is learning how to use GNU Emacs in the late 80s and then quickly the GNU compiler toolchain. My operating systems professor had us modify the Minix process scheduler since it was one of the few source distributions of an operating system that would run on the hardware available to us, the AT&T 3B. It wasn't until I left school and began working that I became interested in Linux. I built a 586 class PC and installed the Yggdrasil distribution and learned how to download, build and install Linux kernels and device drivers. Checking Wikipedia, Yggdrasil hasn't been updated since 1995 :)" —Erik O'Shaughnessy
"1993 with the first release of Slackware Linux." —Sarah Thornton
"Since using NCSA Mosaic in 1994, while not strictly open source, they did distribute source." —Brian J. Atkisson
"Since around 1997, when a colleague introduced me to Linux via Squid. I'd sort of noticed open source before then, but hadn't really grokked it. He did a great job of convincing me to pay more attention, and I started running Linux as my main desktop pretty soon after. It helped that The Evil Empire[tm] was in full swing, and I didn't like what they were up to, so open source felt like home pretty quickly. It was also great to be able to play with kernel changes as they were released and see if they worked on my hardware (which they did—sometimes)." —Mike Bursell
"About 15 years now. I started using it during my teenage years as a way to rebel against the monopoly of closed-source offerings back in the day." —Eric Burgueño
"12 years! Since I discovered Koha." —Nicole Baratta
"I've been interested and involved with open source for around 2 years now." —Andrew Euredjian
We want to hear from you now. How long have you been interested in open source? Take our poll and share your story in the comments.