My Linux Story – What’s Yours?
Many people who use Linux didn’t start that way. The norm for a lot of people is to get into technology, work their way up, get bored of Windows and look for something better.
I’m really interested to hear how people started using Linux, what their distro of choice is and why. I was discussing why I prefer Ubuntu to anything else with a colleague a few weeks ago (he incidentally prefers Fedora). It was a very interesting conversation that I would like to share with you guys. So here’s my Linux story, I look forward to reading yours too…
The early days
My introduction to computing was an Amiga 1200. With it’s huge 2MB (yes that’s megabytes – not gigabytes) of RAM, 33MHz CPU, no hard drive and it’s 3.5″ floppy disk drive; it was certainly no powerhouse but I loved it nevertheless.
The Amiga 1200 was my first “real” computer and I have fond memories of having blue floppy disks all over my bedroom. There was literally hundreds of the things as many games like Monkey Island were spread across an average of 5-10 floppy disks, and I had hundreds of games!
However, back in the early nineties, Windows was all the rage and I was desperate to get my hands on a Windows machine. After accidentally blowing my Amiga 1200 up by dismantling it and “poking around” with a screwdriver whilst it was still plugged in, my grandparents took the plunge and bought me a PC.
I now had my first PC. It ran Windows 95, had a 500MB (again, that’s megabytes, not gigabytes) hard drive and 64MB of RAM. It was a huge upgrade from my Amiga 1200 and I thought I was the bee’s knee’s.
However, my world quickly came crashing down when I realised that I couldn’t install Championship Manager ’98 as the hard drive wasn’t big enough. The game on it’s own required 600MB of space and I only had around 200MB to play with. It’s ok though because I compressed the partition to make more space (anyone else remember those days?).
Fast forward a few years and I had upgraded to a new 800MHz PC with 128MB RAM and a 20GB hard drive (self-built I might add). I had now hit the big time, and this is where my love for all thing computing really took off. You see, I still had my trusty first PC and I used that to play around with. I could strip it down, work out which components did what job and basically experiment, of course I learnt my lesson and kept it unplugged this time. I loved it!
Welcome to adulthood…
Keeping things short, I left college after studying IT (of course) then joined the British Army where my trade was also IT. All my experience was on Windows based machines which I knew inside-out. But being a true geek I always wanted to learn more; so I started to look around and soon learnt about Ubuntu. I downloaded the ISO and played around with it. This was back in 2008 when Ubuntu was a shadow of what it is now. I just couldn’t take to it, it seemed clunky, awkward and basically not a patch on the Windows XP machine I was running at the time (IMHO of course).
Fast forward two years and I decided to give Ubuntu another try on 10.04 Lucid Lynx – oh what a joy it was! I instantly fell in love with it, brown had been replaced with purple and the system felt so fast and stable – I still think that Lucid is the best version of Ubuntu ever released.
I started off dual booting with Windows, I then replaced Windows on all my home machines and soon after I replaced Windows 7 on my work machine with Ubuntu 10.10. This is when I really learnt a lot about Ubuntu, Linux and the open source community as I was spending 40 hours+ a week using it.
Oh Ubuntu where have you been?
Since then I’ve used many different Linux Distributions, everything from XFCE, Suse, Fedora, PinguyOS, PCLinuxOS, Mint, and many more. But none could compare to stock Ubuntu for me and I just kept coming back. Now I use stock Ubuntu 12.04 with the Unity interface and I find it a joy to use. I still use Windows a lot in my job (I have a new job that requires a Windows machine) and it will always have a special place in my heart as the operating system that started my love of computing, but Ubuntu/Linux has so much more to offer. That’s why I’ve stuck with it.
I love Linux, I love what it stands for and I love the sheer amount of things you can do with it. I am a very proud and active member of the open source community. I try to use and support open source technologies where possible. For example, this website is based on WordPress which is an open source web CMS (Content Management System) and instead of Dropbx, I use OwnCloud, again an open source cloud syncing tool. If you are thinking about dipping your toe into the proverbial Linux pond, I absolutely urge you to dive right in! You really won’t regret it.
In a nutshell guys that’s my rise through technology and why I am a very proud Linux user. What’s your story? I’d love to hear it in the comments section…
P.S. Yours doesn’t need to be as long as my Linux story! :)