When I was a young girl, I remember my dad showing me Linux on his computer.
He was showing me what was known then as Red Hat Linux—it was a fresh version of Colgate 4.0 from Best Buy. At that time, I was familiar with Windows 95 and knew how to use a computer, but Linux was new to me. It looked like a bunch of code and too technical. So, it was many years later, in January of 2009, that I finally made the switch.
This is my Linux story.
The worn out laptop I was using kept getting viruses. My resistance to getting a new one had been due to my college professor demanding I write my papers using only Microsoft Word. Yet the constant crashing was causing too much stress, so I finally said "Yes" to my dad and "Yes" to Linux.
My dad offered to set my laptop up so that it would dual boot two operating systems, Fedora 9 (Linux) and Windows. Over time, I found myself using Windows less and Fedora 9 (aka Sulphur) more. As I wrote my college papers on Open Office instead of Microsoft Word, I truly believed my professor wouldn't be able to tell the difference, and why should she care as long as it was a great paper?
Unfortunately, what seemed to be more important was that my paper was formatted a particular way. I was told to use a certain font family, style, and size along with margins set to Modern Language Association standards. That's all well and good, but shouldn't we be focused on the writing? First, my professor complained about the size. And, the margins were off. When my papers came back with a lot of red pen corrections for formatting, I revealed that I used Open Office to write it. Bad move. She told me to go back to Microsoft Word. Of course, I didn't.
Since then, I've fallen for Linux. My dad taught me how to load packages. And, once I deleted an important folder and my system crashed! But all was not lost. When you get involved with your computer, mistakes will happen, but that's ok. It's fun, because when I find a program I want to install, I get the package and test it out. If I don't like it, I promptly uninstall the package and move on. I love how there are always new programs to go out and try, and most of them are free.
GIMP (Gnu Image Manipulation Program) is has been and is still my favorite program in the Linux family. I am learning how to use it with Open Office's Impress to design presentations, cards, book covers, and more! It's funny, I actually learned how to use GIMP before I learned how to use Photoshop. Usually it's the other way around with people because they are more familiar with the proprietary programs than the free and open source ones. Go figure.
Things I love about using Linux
I don't have to worry about getting a computer virus. Which, as you'll recall, is why I turned to Linux in the first place. My laptop was crashing at an unprecedented rate.
I don't have to pay for upgrades to my system.
Linux programming is efficient and runs on the smallest devices while maintaining lightning speed.
My Linux rig
Right now, I'm running Fedora 20 (aka Heisenbug). It is impressive and has a fluidity that is clearly touch screen ready. The transformation and evolution Linux has achieved over the years is beautiful to see—and much different from what my dad showed me when I was a little kid.
My dad now teaches his friends and others how to install and use Linux. At a recent lunch and learn meeting where he works, he also explained open source software to his coworkers.
We need more meetings like these, where we can invite friends and others to learn about Linux and open source in a comfortable setting. My dad and I believe that if more businesses understood the benefits of Linux, they would implement it in their offices and then hire more Linux users who are familiar with it too. Cost savings from not having to constantly upgrade equipment and programs might even mean more raises!
Sharing my Linux story is my way of giving back to the open source community that has given so much to me. Open source has given me the freedom to expand my future and create my legacy.