The Queue: How did you discover Linux?

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Welcome to The Queue, a new Q&A column I'll be writing for Although typically I will be answering questions from readers, sometimes I'll switch that around and ask readers a question. With Linux turning 25 today, I thought it would be interesting to see how we all discovered the operating system. I'll start.

How I got into Linux

In the mid-1990s I worked for an ISP that used Unix almost exclusively. The "Unix way" just clicked and made a lot of sense to me. It wasn't long before I wanted to run something similar at home. The ISP used SCO (fairly ironic in retrospect), so home use really wasn't an option for licensing and cost reasons. Searching for an alternative quickly lead me to Linux. I purchased The Linux Bible from a local bookstore, so my first distro was Yggdrasil. Not long after, I purchased a book that came with Slackware, which was my daily distro for many years after. I like to tinker and understand how things work, so the fact that I could get an operating system that allowed me not only to see how things worked, but also to modify how things worked, enthralled me. It still does.

Interesting responses from LQ

I recently asked the question "How did you discover Linux?" over at, and here are a few of the more interesting responses:

  • beachboy2: The same way that a lot of people discovered it, via malware on Windows and regular daily truckloads of spam on email, all of which disappeared as soon as I switched to Linux (openSUSE initially).
  • M-Files: I originally was hired at Intel as an expert in win 3.51 installs and Intel hired me to make crash test dummys out of Windows, so they could create a crash resistant processor: P-6 Pentium pro - I was taught Linux - Red Hat 4.1 from the engineers to help create reliable system as a comparison that was very crash resistant...
  • thethinker: When I was an undergraduate student I did a summer research project in the Astronomy department, and all the computers ran Solaris (this is circa 2003). The next year, I switched groups and started using Debian.
  • jpollard: Worked on UNIX systems since 1985 (my first personal computer was a Motorola MVME-1000), HP/UX, a stint with VMS (second time), then various UNIX systems (Apollo, AIX, Tru64, SunOS). In 1991 started work with SunOS, UNICOS, IRIX... A co-worker mentioned it in 1992. As soon as SLS 1.2 (about 1992) was announced, started using it on a PC (which previously had DOS on it). Went through the floppy distribution til SLS 1.4 (after which it closed). Fortunately Slackware was up to 1.2 (1994) and I switched to that. Work started switching to PC based systems running Red Hat 3 - it was 3 or 4, don't clearly remember now - I was using Slackware specifically for network control/firewall use.
  • rrd: I was working in HP-UX, when someone posted a tip on the comp.os.hpux (I think) newsgroup about this kid, Linus Torvalds, and the Unix clone he was building from the ground up. I found an ftp site where I could download it, and I played with it on and off for several years as I watched it grow into what it is today.
  • notKlaatu: Find a tip on an OS X forum on how to play tetris "in the terminal" -> discover emacs -> read GPL in /usr/share/doc/emacs -> covert to Linux the next morning.

Now, it's your turn

So, how did YOU discover Linux? (Let me know in the comments.)

Fill The Queue

Lastly, what questions would you like to see answered in a future article? From questions on building and maintaining communities, to what you'd like to know about contributing to an open source project, to questions more technical in nature—submit your Linux and open source questions.

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Jeremy Garcia is the founder of  and an ardent but realistic open source advocate. Follow Jeremy on Twitter: @linuxquestions


Way back in the late nineties a bought a user guide (ROX maybe) to Fedora Core attached to which was an installation disk. I followed the installation instructions to the letter and was greeted with a console prompt. So far so good. I then shut the system down for the night. The next morning I booted up the system which would not progress further than the BIOS screen. I think the installer must have screwed up the MBR and at that time I did not yet know how to replace the MBR - being the complete Linux newbie that I was back then. I than called out a "computer engineer" who told me that the hard disk was kaput and needed replacing - which I agreed to at some cost and suffered data loss as well.

That put me off trying to get GNU/Linux up and running on my MS Windows (ME) box for at least the next two years. By shear co-incidence, I was searching on Google for info about dogs, when I noticed something that seemed strange among the search results - a reference to to Puppy Linux.

Puppy? Linux? - what could puppies conceivably have to do with GNU/Linux. It then took me less than ten minutes to download and burn the ISO to CD (following all the instructions). I then booted the live CD straight to the desktop. I must have taken another 20 minutes to research how to get online with Puppy. As soon as I saw the browser (Seamonkey) was functioning, I knew instinctively that the end of my Microsoft days was nigh. I have never gone back to MS windows since that fateful day.

My brother was a staunch MS fan for years and didn't want to know about going over to GNU/Linux. After another ten years had elapsed, he too eventually caved in - after trying Puppy for himself. He too has now become a Linux developer and builds his own variants of GNU/Linux. He has also given up MS entirely

I downloaded kernel 2.0 in 1997 via BBS from Brazil and later bought a book with Red Hat 4.2 CD. Later moved to Slackware and I maintain some boxes running it.

It was 2009 and I'd been fighting a month-long war of attrition with my Windows XP install. Everyday it would ask if I wanted to install 'Windows Genuine Advantage' (of seemingly on advantage to me) and everyday I would say no. Then one morning I needed to print out something for work, but I couldn't because by some sneaky way, it had just started updating and installing WGA. I was so annoyed I went into working ranting about Windows and asking whether I should switch to mac (most doctors I knew used macs). My senior told me to look up ubuntu, and I installed it that evening (9.04). I never realised how my laptop was never truly my own until that point.

I started to get fed up with the boring OS that is Windows. At the time it was windows XP. I thought to myself, XP is not a server OS, why am I using this? I look into ubuntu and my linux days started. After that moment I used Ubuntu back and forth, but one day maybe 4 years ago I said to myself, Adam, you can do this, do the switch, don't ever look back!. I did and here we are. I use linux 100% in my private life, and I've even started turning over people to Linux (especielly Linux Mint) so we'll see how that process goes.

I believe that it was in 1995 when I purchased Slackware 2.0.1 on CDs, and installed them onto my Amiga system. I recall starting X-windows and then running Netscape (?). I was intrigued! Subsequently, I went from Slackware, through some iterations of Red Hat (5.1 to 9), then Fedora (1 to 10). In 2007 I starting looking for an 'easier' Linux for my mother, and opted for Mint Linux (6). I was so impressed that I flipped to it myself in 2008, and have run it ever since -- liking Linux Mint Debian Edition the most :)

It wasn't until January 2014 when I started my Master's in Cybersecurity and Computer Forensics at Utica College. We had to install Ubuntu to run some stuff in addition to the Windows forensics. I really liked how easy it was. I was running a cheap Asus Windows7 laptop for class and got so frustrated with it I replaced it with Ubuntu. Now my cheap laptop is Linux-only and I'm using Scribus and GIMP, etc. in addition to some of the forensics apps. I also just found out that I share a birthday with Linux, which is really cool. Of course, I don't turn 25 today, but I did once! So, in addition to Elvis Costello, Sean Connery, Billy Ray Cyrus I can add Linux to group birthday cake. Now, how cool is that!

A friend of mine kept telling me about it and I eventually installed Red Hat 8.0 because that is what my friend was using and I figured I was going to bug the heck out of him with questions so I best use something he's familiar with.

At the time my Windows computer was getting long in the tooth and Apples were out of my price range so figured Linux may just save me and give me something good to use.

I played with slack alongside os/2 & windows95. When windows Me came out, i switched to linux full time for my surfing. I was tired of crappy & slow. The lightweight distros are the most fun. I still use windows, but only because of business software that won't port to linux. Linux has been my primary OS since 2000. Happy burfday, Linux !

I had been playing around with computers for some time and found it via a friend that was a computer guru back in high school so it was around 1995ish. Played with it and said "nope". Wasn't until maybe 2009 when I picked it up again and used Ubuntu off and on. When Unity DE came out, that ended Linux until about almost 3 years ago now when I was reintroduced to Linux from my mentor. played with Ubuntu and Mint for about a years and have been fully Linux for a solid 2 years. If it weren't for my work place, I would be total Linux.

Back in 1993 I in University, running Windows 3.1 and trying to print and download (SLIP Internet connection via my 1200 baud modem) and my 486 SX PC ground to about 10%, instead of anice 50/50.

I stumbled across a MOO, an Object Oriented MUD (Multi-User-Dungeon) run by a bunch of students from Northeastern University. They pointed me at Slackware, which I spent a weekend downloading onto 3.5" floppies.

It took me 2 weeks to get X-Windows up and multiple re-installations of the OS before I stopped blowing it up, but I never looked back.

Thank god for Walnut Creek CDROM!

I learned Unix/C/vi on ATT 3B2s in college. My first boss hired me because "I you learned vi on your own, I can teach you anything". I was at second job in 91-92 when my mentor came to me and said "I found this neat thing called linux, lets install it and play with it. A year later, I installed a 0.9 version on a 386 I built at home. Ive gone from Slackware to Suse to Centos to Ubuntu. I tried to assimilate my kids to no avail with Tux Racer. Today, my kids all have Windows laptops, but I have Mint 17 on my laptop, Mythubuntu as a media center, and an HP server running Centos 7/KVM loaded with several distros of Linux

Friend turned me onto Linux after ranting about windows, and absolutely not wanting a MAC. (I wanted to be one of the truly cool kids, like the original college alternative radio). I switched about eight years ago, and haven't missed it at all. Long live Linux! Thank you, Linus; and thank you to all the hard working people who work on the distros for us to DL and install!

Having used Unix for much of my undergrad and grad time at Michigan, in mid 90's, I found Win 95/NT sad and cartoonish. I dabbled with Linux off and on from late 90's to 2000's, but could never integrated it my work flow or personal computing. Besides, WinXP was okay. Finally in 2005, I found a hook into Linux...MythTV.

Still, for a few years, I kept using WinXP. The death-knell for Win, however, was when MS starting to kill support for WinXP and software developers stopped supporting 32-bit (i.e. WinXP). Ironically, unlike most, I like Win8/10's touch-based UI concept. And indeed, I was rooting for it, but with the dominance of iOS and Android-based phone/tablet, the touch feature of Win now seem gimmicky, with a few exceptions.

I had even tried MacOS for a few years; and while it's gui is marginally more polished than Linux, it too was tedious with the iTunes and iOS integration.

But now I'm full on Linux--no dual-booting, and loving it!

Can't wait to buy Civ IV for Linux! I almost soiled my pants when first read that the publishers are developing for Linux.

I decided to get a 2 year degree in Computer Information Systems after being out of work for a while, since I'd always been good in that subject. That was in 1997. At school, I was introduced to Linux (the professor that first mentioned it, called it a "poor man's Unix"). We each got a computer department email account on a Red Hat server (I think it had Red Hat 5 at first) which we had to telnet into and use Pine to access. Of course, more than Pine was available through the command line, and the professor that ran the server showed us Emacs and vi. When playing with Emacs, I ran across the GPL and read it. I read more about Free software, and found it very interesting. Also, in one class, we had to install Slackware 4 as an exercise (though they didn't have us try to get X running).

After I finished my degree and got my first computer job in 1999, I of course acquired a new computer and soon acquired a copy of Linux Mandrake 6. I thought that was a great distribution for beginners at the time, but I tried out others and eventually settled on Slackware (which had jumped from 4 to 7 at the time) for just about everything at home.

I also pieced together a machine from disparate parts at work (it turned out to have a Pentium 266 MHz processor with 96 MB of RAM and two hard drives of 8 GB and 6 GB) which I ran Debian Potato on. The Debian machine turned out to be the way I burned CDs for people at the office. This was because the only CD burner in the place was a 2x parallel port CD burner, and when I used it on my Windows NT 4 workstation, it would only burn one CD between reboots before turning out only coasters. Also, I couldn't use the NT machine for anything else at all during the burn process, or the disc would end up a coaster. On the Debian machine I could turn out disc after disc without reboots, and run seemingly anything I wanted (though mostly it was just Mozilla that I ran) without disturbing the burn process. This was despite the NT machine being first a Pentium II 333 MHz (though with only 32 MB of RAM) and later a Pentium III 500 MHz machine (with 128 MB of RAM) while the Debian machine was a Pentium 266 MHz machine (eventually with 96 MB of RAM, but not at first).

I've gotten lazy through the years and now use variations on Ubuntu, Debian, and Salix OS instead of regular Slackware.

I had windows 95 and kept getting the blue screen of death. While it was working, I Googled computer operating systems and found Linux (along with OS2, BeOS, etc.) and downloaded Suse and was hooked.

My teacher in college gave the class a Live CD of KNOPPIX back in early 2007.

It was in 1996 when I was the Server & LAN admin where I worked and we were to install a firewall to our new internet connection and the consultant configured the Linux based firewall before my eyes. All terminal and I was so impressed, this is the coolest thing I've seen type thing. I loaded up some Red Hat version on a test computer at home after that and things progressed (slowly) from there through several distributions. It wasn't until Ubuntu was released that I would take the leap to use Linux as my main OS.

Reading the answers I'm a newbie here!

A friend talk about Linux and openSUSE long time ago, so in 2010 I installed my first GNU/Linux distro that was openSUSE 11.2, and I felt in love!!

I'm still openSUSE user, now with Leap 42.2 and Tumbleweed in my laptop, and I still in love with GNU/Linux and free software community.
Now I collaborate in some projects doing translations, spreading the word, etc...
I discovered a great world and people behind the software!!

Happy hacking and have a lot of fun !!

I did a search of "other operating systems than Windows" as I was frustrated wtih Windows XP and Windows Vista .The search inlcuded DistroWatch.

I orginally chose Xandros. That was a mistake that almost kept me from using LInux. and I liked Windows 7. I then heard about PC Linux and fooled with that on CD's. Then I installed Zorin to an old tower.

Window 8 made me determined to give up Windows for good. I then used the orginal Solus until Ikey closed it down. Then Point Linux which was good but is not very active in either development of the forum.. Now I dual boot Debian Mate Jessie and Ubuntu Mate LTS and am very happy. with both. I love the Mate desktop and found staying with more established Distros can save you a lot of headaches in the long run.

My college had pirated copies of WIndows on all computers a couple of years ago. The college supposedly got a notice that it'd be fined if the systems don't turn out to be using a genuine Windows version. Consequently, Ubuntu was installed on the entire systems throughout the college. This led me to my first interaction with Linux!

I worked on unix as a print que operator in the 90's, at home i was still using msdos, then at some point i bought a full duplex sound card and it turned out only to work in windows... So then i switched to 98, just for the soundcard. I got fed up with how slow my computer became with all them processes i never asked for, i was happy with msdos before... Then at some point i got my hands on a knoppix cdrom, installed it and found out that it was not supporting my hardware fully... tinkered with that for some time, but decided to move back to 98. In 2001 xp came out and i tried that. At some point i got wise to the ways of M$ and how they are hand in glove with the hardware manufacturers: You buy a pc and it has the newest windows on it, M$ gives you updates that make it dead slow, so you buy a new pc... and whats on there? the new windows... So to get out of this "pigs cycle" i decided to try linux once more. I was quite surprised at how it had progressed. At first i did a dual install XP/linux, but when i started XP again, my virusscanner started bitching at me for not updating for 90 days! Then I thought: if i can do without windows for 90 days, i can do without for a 180, and if i can do without it for 180 days, i can do without forever, so i wiped my winxp partititon (i could use that space!) and never looked back, ever...

It was back in 2005 when my friend bought a magazine called "PC expert" which came with a copy of Knoppix 3.something i think. KDE 3, xp-ish look, few cool games later and I was hooked onto that OS and tried to find a way to install it on my PC. Failed, of course, lol. Then, about a year later I heard that Mandrake (8?) was out from my other friend and went to local PC store to ask around about it. Some dude working there burned me few CDs of Mandrake with KDE3 (and when I got home I've tried to run it live like Knoppix. If I recall right, it wasn't live CDs it was just installation CDs. As I failed to install it, I forgot about it for a year or so. Then came Ubuntu 7.04 and my cousin told me about it like "cmon, just try it. It's so cool" and I did try it. Downloaded it, burned it, booted it, saw it was ugly and shut it down. Few months later, same cousin called and said like: yeah, dude, new ubuntu is here! It's even more awesome" and again I did dl, burn, boot and shut down. I couldn't belive that someone can use something that ugly and with that awful orange color. Then, googleing about ubuntu 8.04 I found about kubuntu. Kubuntu came with KDE3, and my love for Linux came back once again.. until kubuntu 8.10 which came with KDE4. It was horrible to me. That day I booted up ubuntu 8.04 again.. and decided to see what's with that ugly looking gnome.. until I found out about theme changing.. and all I did was exchanging the values of red and blue.. and I was happy with the result! When I removed all from upper panel and removed the panel itself, I was hooked to gnome.. until unity. Then, thank God, came Mate, Linux Mint and defective HDD which has forced me to try to install Arch Linux. And interesanting thing was and still is, Arch works just fine with that HDD (it has no bad sectors, but on Mint it had some defections in ext4 filesystem on two different installs and Arch Linux on that same fs works just fine. Go figure). Up to date, I'm happy linux-only user at home and dual-boot at work.

I first heard of Linux among all the discussion after Netscape announced their intention to open-source their browser (1998). Then I was a senior in high school (1998-1999) about to go off to college 4 hours away. We had Windows 95 at home which was constantly crashing and corrupting programs to where I had to re-install them. My family needed constant help from me and were getting more and more afraid of using the computer. I realized that I couldn't go off to college and leave them with horrible Windows, otherwise I'd turn into telephone tech support at college. I knew I had to find something better, so I turned to Linux (RedHat 5.2 initially, then Linux-Mandrake 6.1 in the fall of 1999) and we haven't looked back since.

I was a college student in 2007 and a bought a laptop (with WIndows Vista): I bought some licences (Antivirus, Office and others) but, on the next year I saw that it would be expensive to use Windows because of the licences and didn't want to use cracked softwares and plus, my computer performance was poor with Vista. I searched in the internet for a solution and found Ubuntu 8.04 and have been using since then

In 1997/8 a friend in comp. sci. suggested I look at linux as a solution for documentation automation problems I had with MS. I bought a book on Caldera Linux ('memba them?), I tried it out, got it working, and decided that it was too much work for the return. In 2002 I tried again with a Knoppix disk and from there to Slackware (via VectorLinux), and stayed with them until 2007. Impressed with the social contract at Debian, I switched and have remained since. But I dropped my Windows partition in 2002 and haven't looked back.

I was happily, blissfully running Windows XP and wondering how life could be any better when I discovered Linux. I had left a backup running on my XP desktop PC, and came back after making a cup of tea to see (GAWD NOOOOO!!!!!) a B.S.O.D. Needless to say something had gone terribly wrong as I didn't even have "half" a backup, just a corrupt backup and a system that wouldn't boot period. It was at that moment that I vowed to NEVER let a company ruin my life by giving my sub-par software, EVER again. At first i was thinking to move towards Apple, but after glimpsing their "entry level" items PRICING!? I knew that was completely out. So when I went to my browser and typed in "computer operating systems" I saw a link for Unix, and clicked on it....while reading up on it, (and thinking to myself that this stuff was too complicated and that I might have to just go back o Windows like a contrite lover!) I saw in one of the side links on the page something called Linux, I figured since I was on a fact-finding mission I would check it out. I was taken to a web site that had all manner of links for other versions of this thing called Linux. After doing more reading (I was drawn to something called "Fedora"....they were up to version 12, getting ready to move to 13!) I made the concrete decision to install it on my desktop. Mind you I had NO IDEA what I was doing, but I soldiered forward, I can only say thank goodness that I didn't have anything on my hard drive that wasn't either already saved elsewhere, or that wasn't valuable. I must have formatted that thing maybe 9 times before I finally figured out what I was doing. I had installed a working copy of Fedora Linux version 13 (I think it was called Goddard?...or that might have been 14 not sure!) and everything WORKED!. I was elated, because I had no FORMAL training for it whatsoever! It came as a shock to me later on when I did more reading and others would say that Fedora was "cutting edge" and shouldn't be considered a good starting point for someone new to Linux. Since then I've tried Ubuntu...CEntOS.....openSuSE...and a host of other versions of Linux and I've settled on just a few for my daily machines and needs: Fedora (my main PC from all those years ago....still humming along, with RAM upgrades, a newer and larger hard drive (2TB).....Ubuntu...(for my laptop that travels with me)......openSuSE..(on my "Trying To Teach Myself Programming" laptop) and Linux Mint (for the Apple iMac someone gave me!!) as far as I'm concerned? The only way I would ever use Microsoft's' Windows OS ever again? under duress and at gunpoint!...LoL!~

My first use of Linux was in 2003 in my freshman 'intro to computers' class. Ironically, it was a Red Hat distro. I became comfortable enough with these systems and a Sun system to get normal work done over the semester.
I made the actual switch in late 2009 when I was able to breath life back into my old Laptop that I bought back in 2003 for college (see above). It had WinXP, but was just old enough that you couldnt boot from USB. Over time the CD drive quit working, so when Windows inevitably died, so did any way of reinstalling an OS to the computer. After sitting in a closet for a few years, I stumbled across Puppy and Knoppix live distros. I decided to take the hard drive out my old laptop, put it in my current one, install Linux (gOS, based on Ubuntu 8.04), and put it back in the original laptop. IT BOOTED! I was then hooked, and have been primarily using Ubuntu, with Fedora as a strong second (maybe becoming #1 in my eyes soon), ever since.

First computing was at college in 1957 on a country house sized computer (assembly level coding!) then nothing for 10 or so years, then company trying our IBM big computer, then a BBC Micro, then a second (maybe third) hand IBM running MS DOS, then a bunch of second hand IBMs running Windows 3 and 3.1, but I was travelling on work into Soviet Union, their computers had IBM but cryllic keyboards and i could not write instruction for my machinery on them for customers, so found a 'Live Linux' distribution called Knoppix, (a Welsh small shop with magazine Knoppix on one floppy!). Tried, found I could use it on Soviet's computers with a UK keyboard overlay and then I was in business in English on another's computer. It worked a charm, except the occasional Soviet security guys wanting to know why I was sabotaging their computers ( interesting inside Soviet cells under interrogation) eventually got them to understand and OK thereafter. Since then house is Linux (OpenSUSE, Linux Mint) Knoppix still travels (albeit not a floppy!); work is unfortunately tied down to MS (but with some Multi-OS stuff for my use LibreOffice etc. on top on my machine).
I have now found different OSs in Linux for different purposes. A lot of elderly (like me!) folk with MS Vista I am converting to Linux to avoid buying new computer or 'being European using this a non-private MS windows 10 on a new computer. Now I do not feel I am an 'odd ball' using Linux, eventhe octogenarians know of it.

First encountered linux in the linux v. minix discussions online. I was setting up a DNS server at my old job and didn't want to have to justify a Sun workstation, so I downloaded a couple dozen floppies' worth of SLS (with a .99 kernel!) and grabbed a 486 machine and built a nameserver. With occasional software updates that 486 ran for at least 10 years.

When I moved to my current job in 1996 I had two computers - a shiny new PPro 200 with NT4, and a pieces-parts 486 I scrounged, running first Red Hat 4.2, then Mandrake. Noticed that the 486 running linux was snappier than the PPro, and while I had to reboot the NT machine anywhere from weekly to daily, I never had to reboot the linux box unless I was installing new kernel drivers for hardware upgrades. After a few months I moved linux onto the PPro and have run linux almost exclusively ever since, at work and at home. I settled on Xubuntu several years ago and it's my goto distro for everything. If I have to do anything with Windows I light up a VirtualBox VM. I'm also looking into the (technincally challenging and legally fraught) notion of a MacOS VM. Then I can do all my multiplatform VPN testing on my linux box.

Way back I was toying at work with PC as routers to Internet with OpenBSD, 12 floppys that a friend downloded at the college. ( We have 2400bps connection ) Then in the office a partner come with a Yggdrasil floppy an I get facinated as the huge amount of software that came bundled.
Since then I have dual boot with Win til 98 and just Linux after. Red Hat 5 to Fedora 7 and Ubuntu now.

Burning vinyl to CD to preserve it. Had a "beefy" Win XP pc that messed up the burn if I tried to do anything else on the pc at the same time. Had an older much less capable box w/o a Win license so decided to try record and burn on that. Worked wonderfully. Could record a side while creating tracks from an earlier recording with Audacity and while burning an album recorded and edited earlier. MULTITASKING for real.

Started using the Linux box for web browsing/email at the same time doing the record/edit/burn of my albums. Never any bad burns on the CDs. I was sold. Linux from then on.

My very first time was with a book which included a cd to install Ygradsil. I couldn't make much with it. but in 1998 i tried Red Hat and later on a finnish distro BEST which worked very well

Started to use UNIX in the 1980's - before I stated to use MS-DOS!!! In the early 1990's I set up a SCO UNIX server with a few hundred terminals attached to it (MS-DOS machines with terminal emulation software).

Linux was the obvious next step.

Eventually set up a SLES (Suse Linux Enterprise Server) to replace Windows Servers. Administration dropped from mountain size down to mole hill size.

I have also used, and still use, Linux (Puppy and other live CD's) to recover problematic Windows PC's and solve Windows problems.

CD/DVD burning is still done using Linux and k3b.

At school, studying computer science, we used the book on Minix from A.Tanenbaum. At my first job I programmed on unix computers (Dec ultrix and SunOS at the time). At home with my first computer I found Linux as an alternative for minix. I recall a single CD-rom with 4 or 5 distributions on it: all floppy-images to be written and used for installation. One of them was slackware. Folling distributions included Debian, RedHat, Suse, Gentoo (on HP-UX hardware), Ubuntu, Fedora, CentOS, PyOS and the linux variants in switches, nas-devices, phones and such.

Played with it off and on over the years, but it was two years ago when my Windows machine just got to be tooooo dang slow. Switched to Fedora and have had speedy fun times since then!

In 1995 I started working at an It company. The workd back then was mostly
msdos and win 3.11, some OS2 and Novell servers. In early '96 we became a point
of presence for an internet provider. This would allow users to dail in at
local distance phone cost.

The guy from the provider, who was Alex, showed me the equipment that included
about 20 or so modems, something called a Gandalf router, and the server he had
installed that was running something that was called Linux. I knew of the
existence of Unix and its derivatives, and had wanted to explore them since
college but none where accessible to me.

At school I had used Apple-II and msdos and later we had a VAX running VMS at
the college, but no unix. Om my Atari ST there was some thing called MINT and
MINIX but these where too limited or too hard to get running. Alex had told me
that Linux was free and that I should give it a try. So with the internet access
we now had at work I started searching and reading about it. At some point a few
weeks later I managed to get a decommissioned compaq prolinea at work and set it
up with what I knew and what it was capable of running: msdos 6.22 and windows
3.11. But that linux thing kept bugging me.

A few weeks later I found something called Walnut creek and you could order cd's
from them that had Linux distributions on them. Back then downloading a
distibution was not as easy as now; dial up was slow and we paid for every
connected minute. so I ordered a box of 6 cd's and waited for it to arrive. The
waiting took 6 weeks. Then I sent them an email to inform that my purchase had
never arrived so they sent me an new one for free. That one arrive a week
later. I also bought a stack of floppies and started making the installation
disks from the a progam on one of the cd's.

I took me the best part of the next Sunday morning to install my first Slackware
but by noon I had a system running with X, netscape and dialup networking. That
day my world changed. Later I started running Red Hat 4 and 5 and I got a
RHCE. Eacht IT job I've had since involved Linux and I've never used windows for
any of my personal computing since.

I want to say it was 1993, and the Web hadn't hit campus yet. The UNIX lab was the only place running TCP/IP (the rest of the campus was Novell IPX and DECnet for VAX access), and the only place that we could use Mosaic. Downloading httpd source from WUSTL and compiling it on those boxes gave me a sense of what was possible; I think the *nix guru on staff pointed me to Linux. I remember taking Slackware home on a stack of 3.5" floppies, and praying that my monitor wouldn't blow if I put in the wrong parameters to get X running (that may have been a myth, but I didn't know better). Next came RedHat (shink-wrapped!), and then Debian, which has been my preferred OS since the slink/potato era.

Just backing to my first job, I occasionally used a Solaris workstation, maybe 2.6 sunos if i remember correctly, and the cool feeling of typing command in the console is fantastic, and then just google for solaris alternative pc unix system (google not blocked in china in 2002), and also thanks for vmware workstation, I can run my own redhat 7.x on my own PIII pc. actually i do nothing more than just installed it and see.... that's the first touch to Linux. after that , I used linux in my daily work helping people install linux on IBM pc server Netfinity, also it bring me some money( $30)by writing some linux guide for development works. so now linux is part of my life and work, and even life style.

I heard about Linux in 1993 and I drove down to a public domain software distributer the next day. I collected 25 floppies with SLS Linux using the 0.99pl13 kernel and installed it onto my first linux machine. This machine got a hardware upgrade in 1999 and is still running. Nowadays even my wife is running Linux.

Purely by luck I was introduced to Linux in 2012 by a friends father who shared my interest in computers. I began using Ubuntu and haven't looked back. Recently I've been playing with Raspberry PI's and Ubuntu MATE. Requiring a minimal amount of resources it breathes new life in to machines which may of ended in landfill.

Great article, thank you linux, open sources and enthusiasts for paving the road.

As a student at The Bronx High School of Science in the early 90's, I discovered we had access to this thing called the "Internet".

Access was through various terminals throughout the school, mostly IBM X Stations. Our servers themselves ran IBM's AIX and so through this I discovered this new, challenging operating system called UNIX. (yet familiar, as at the time, MS-DOS was the dominant PC OS).

Soon after I learned of Slackware from a fellow computer geek. I started using GNU/Linux as was hooked. Have used it in one form or another (with the exception of a brief hiatus to try FreeBSD) ever since... now over 20 years!

As software and hardware production dried up for my ATARI Falcon 030 in 1999, I decided to seek for a way forward to do my computing. MINT was pretty strong for the ATARIs and many people doing nice stuff had that. Learned that Linux was, and that there were many distributions available. Looked for an user-friendly one and finally bought a boxed copy of MANDRAKE Linux in a local supermarket, and here I am currently on UBUNTU, and looking to stay with it at leas for the years to come.

I remember hearing about Linux in my last year of University but I first tried it out playing with mkLinux on early 601 based PowerPC based Macs. I still love the fact I first ran Linux on an architecture other than x86. A couple of years later all our companies critical infrastructure and development tooling ran under Linux, and this was still in the 90s.

I've always loved the fact that Linux, and Open Source, provided a great way to solve end customer problems without the typical wait associated with proprietary technologies.

Today I'm thankful that for well over 10 years my primary work environment has been Linux based, and my personal home environment for well over 15 years.

Reading posts on The Rune Stone BBS in high school. Eventually, I got ahold of a free shell account.

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