A Brief History of My Life on Linux: Part I

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[caption id="" align="alignright" width="265" caption="I love Tux, he's so cuddly! Where's your cute and cuddly mascot Microsoft? Please don't tell me it's a paper clip! "]Tux, as originally drawn by Larry Ewing[/caption]


This is the first story in a short series about my experiences with Linux.


I just realized today while wandering around the website archives that I have never really written a summary of my experience on Linux. The whole story is there in my archives but who really is going to read through all that?


So here it goes... this is my story:


Sometime in 2005 I discovered a set of Mandrake CDs in my (now ex) boyfriend's stuff. Curious, I inquired about this Mandrake program was. My boyfriend told me it was Linux, explained that Linux was a kernel bundled with a bunch of FOSS, and also mentioned he wanted to learn it but was unable to figure out how to install it. Well after reading up some on Mandrake online I got thoroughly interested, especially when several of my geekster friends mentioned that I would probably love the freedom of customization in it (I was known for tearing my Windows XP install apart just so I could find new ways to configure it). So I popped the disc in and started trying to figure out how to install it. With a stroke of luck and a little background knowledge of partitioning from Windows XP, I managed to successfully install Mandrake.


I thought my boyfriend at the time would be enthralled I finally figured out the install but no, he was pretty mad. That's another story for another time, though. ;)


It was a very, very painful learning curve. Mandrake was more user friendly than most distributions but I think Linux as a whole was still in the early days of developing GUI based configuration tools. I remember one of the hardest times I had was figuring out how repositories worked and getting the repositories I needed to update my software. I also remember I had a lot of difficulty understanding that a missing GUI didn't mean I had to reinstall the entire system. It was quite easy to break a Linux distribution back then and I admit I did it A LOT in the early days.


Something that I am grateful to this very day for doing is downloading and printing a cheat sheet of Linux commands and taping them up on the wall behind my desk. In fact, to this very day you will find a command cheat sheet taped up somewhere in my house, though I don't use it nearly as often as I did back then. I studied the cheat sheet at first, and even went through phases where I would force myself to do everything from the command line just so the commands would stick in my memory.


Someone commented on another post that I must like pain. Well believe me nothing seems as painful as those early days I spent on Linux. That's why I'm so determined to keep my memory fresh - I quite simply don't want to stick myself in that predicament again.


Yeah, yeah, I could have reinstalled Windows. But I wanted to learn Linux and I knew that would never happen if I kept using Windows as a crutch. Plus I quite simply didn't know how to dual boot back then. :D


The next story in this series will cover my move from Mandrake to Ubuntu. Stay tuned! :)

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  1. [...] This is the second story in a short series about my experiences with Linux. You can read the first article in the series by clicking here. [...]