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My Linux Story

I have never blogged about my story to the Linux world, and I thought now would be an appropriate time, seeing as though I haven't blogged in over a week, and I know that Planet Utah misses me (I promise to be more faithful).

My Linux story actually goes a long way back when I was about 12 or so. When I was in grade 7, I had a technology class that was the bomb. My mother hated it as she thought that technology was only a fad and wanted me to be more well rounded. However, much to my pleading, I was alowed to take it.

My teacher was a Big Time nerd, and I thought that I was too cool for him, yet, here I was taking the class. He was one of those guys with pocket protectors, duct tape on his glasses, penny loafers and suspenders. I kid you not. I think he also did drafting professionally outside of his teaching. He was not married.

At any rate, there were IBM computers all over the classroom that ran AIX. Yes, AIX. Not DOS. We would spend our time in the class doing engineering stuff, like measuring sound and light, desining labels for companies and other things. Typical geek crap all of which we were using these AIX machines. To tell you the truth, I don't remember a lot that we did, but I do remember thinking how cool AIX was.

During my mission, my parents got their first computer. So when I got home, it was a lot of fun to play with. Unfortunately, it was a Windows box, and it didn't bring the same excitement that AIX did when I was in Junior High School. I longed for that, so I began looking for ways that I could play with AIX. Of course, I stumbled upon Linux.

My parents wouldn't let me install it on their computer, so I had to wait until I got my own. And when I did, which was after I got married, the first distro I attempted was Slackware. My new computer was a laptop. A Slackware install on a laptop by a newbie somewhere around 1999. Yeah. Needless to say, I was frustrated and upset, and Linux left a very bad taste in my mouth.

But I didn't give up. Seeing RedHat being sold at Staples for like $60, I thought that I would give RedHat 9 a try on my laptop. The install went better than Slackware did, however it was far from perfect. I had to manually configure the display (resolution, driver, horizontal and vertical refresh rates, color depth, etc.), the Synaptics touchpad, ACPI, wireless, the keyboard and just about everything else. It was good practice, and I own most of what I have learned to that experience.

But to put it bluntly, RedHat sucked, for a number of reasons. I needed something better. So, I saw Mandrake, and decided to give the latest version 9.2 a try. It was a step in the right direction, and I hung on to it until 10.0, but the fact that I had to keep track of my dependancies and different versions of software kept me from using it.

I tried a number of other distributions at this point, all on my laptop, including SuSE, Gentoo, Knoppix, Security Auditor, and a ton of obscure-no-one-has-ever-heard-of distros. They all came up short. The biggest thing for me was hardware recognition, wireless support, bleeding edge software and resolving dependancies. A friend recommended Debian, but Ubuntu was the distro that grabbed my attention.

I joined the Ubuntu bandwagon the day Warty Warthog 4.10 was released (thanks to Tristan for presenting it at a LUG meeting). I loved it. The hardware recog was astounding, apt-get solved all of my dependancy woes and it was almost bleeding edge. Wireless still didn't work (later I found that I have the dreaded Broadcom driver) but at this point, I didn't care. And the fact that it had a rolling release every 6 months was the straw that broke the camels back (Debian at this point had not released Sarge (it had been about what, 3 years since the last stable release?)).

Ever since, I have been an Ubuntu man. I don't ever plan on changing either. I know many people who change distros as often as they change their underwear, and I was one of them. But I found the distro that suited my every need. I firmly believe also that Ubuntu will solve just about everyone else's needs as well. It is user-friendly enough for the newbie, including your grandma, yet the hardcore elite will find that their apettite for optimised config files will be satisfied. Ubuntu is the Linux for human beings.

For those unaware, Ubuntu just released their Long Term Support (LTS) version Dapper Drake 6.06. It is rock solid, very polished and quite snappy. I love it. It will give any other distro a run for their money.

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