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Linux Journey

Vlad

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I was thinking about how I got started with Linux the other day after a friend asked what the very first distro I used was. I started out with Mandrake 10.1 when a friend gave me a CD set. I don't remember much about it since it was so long ago but the next one I used was Fedora Core 5. I remember I didn't care for it much and moved on to Ubuntu in its beginnings and didn't like it at all. I ended up back with Windows for a long time until Fedora Core 6 came to be. I used it its entire release cycle and didn't like Fedora 7 through the current 9 due to stability issues. After Fedora 7 I went to openSuSE and loved it. I stuck with that for quiet a while until I went back to Mandrake which had since merged and became Mandriva. It was good to be back so to speak but it was not with out its issues. Mandriva is still a great starter distro, but I started to miss openSuSE too much. Just recently moved back to it and have no intentions on going anywhere else for the time being.

Thats the main line I took, but I "distro hopped" around a LOT. I've tried Debian, RHEL, a few from Japan, and a few versions of BSD. I gave Solaris a try a few times but was in over my head. Linux is a far cry from System V and it was a little too much for me yet. I'm still learning new stuff every day and the jump into something that's real UNIX and not UNIX like was a little much.

I still think its amazing that you can freely download an entire OS with updates and all the software you want entirely free. Anyone else want to share an adventure into Linux/Open Source?
 

Brendan

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I started in 1993 (or was it 1994?) with Slackware on floppies and an 0.96(?) kernel. I remember having two major problems when trying to install it on my brand new Zeos Pentium 60. With a "huge" 1GB drive, I was having problems with LBA such that I could get the system installed, get in to a shell, and then the filesystem would slowly degrade in front of my very eyes with odd errors, etc. Then, it was on to dealing with X11 and a Diamond Speedstar (Cirrus chipset) - I recall pixel and pointer corruption until I got everything just right (mostly disabled acceleration)... Thankfully, I had help from a buddy who was at least as familiar with Unix as I. This box got me through the remaining 3 or 4 years of college and having Linux at home was instrumental for alot of the SW I needed to write.

Since then, it's been Debian and Ubuntu for me. I tried Red Hat, but don't really like it. I've installed SuSE before, too. I sit at a Linux box all day every day at work, and have for a number of years - we do all of our chip design and verification using it.
 

Vlad

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I liked Debian when I used it for a short while, but didn't care for the age of the software. Yes its very stable but out of date. I never tried Slackware itself but I've used others that are based on it. It seems nice but its not for me. I always leaned towards RPM based OSs rather than .deb or tar.gz. One awesome thing about Debian though was the massive amount of programs in its repository, wow. openSuSE has the Build Service though, which is starting to catch up.
 

Brendan

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To be honest, I had much worse problems with Slackware being out of date than Debian, which was why I switched to Debian in the first place. Now, I only have one box still running Debian, as Ubuntu seems to have more up-to-date SW packages. I can't speak for Red Hat - I'm forced to use an older version due to commercial packages' constraints. :( Alot of people have tried to talk me into doing Gentoo, but I now prefer to do other things than spend all my time administrating/tweaking new systems.

In response to your earlier post, any flavor of Unix, IMHO is a (good) gateway drug. I started with SunOS (4.1.3?) in college which got me interested in Linux and then later I was playing with Solaris, Ultrix (DEC), Stellix (Stellar Computer), Irix, and AIX, too. I've installed Linux on Suns when I couldn't stand Solaris any longer - I've always had a slight preference for BSDish OSes except for their /etc/rc structure - there I prefer SysV.
 

Vlad

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The only real problem I've had with the Ubuntu family is mainly for me its been unstable, very much so. RHEL has always been great for me, but its multimedia support isn't much to speak of since its meant for the Enterprise Desktop where it really shines. Likewise as a fan of openSuSE I've never actually tried SLED from Novell. I've used BSD and Solaris and prefer the BSD style init compared to System V. Have you tried OpenSolaris? The first release was not long ago and the project has none other than Ian Murdock of Debian fame. The project is aiming to be a desktop end user version of Solaris. I gave the Live CD a go and found it really cool, graphical package management is nice. But its got a long way to go yet but its a great step in the right direction for the project's intent.

http://www.opensolaris.org/index.html
 

Brendan

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Mmmmm...graphical package management. Nice! So is it anything like NeXTStep? I can't say that I've tried OpenSolaris. Did you try installing it? Was it stable?

I've yet to hvae a stability problem with Ubuntu. In fact, I regularly get multi-month uptime on my boxes. Firefox sometimes goes off in the weeds, but what else is new?
 

Allen

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Jan 1, 2008
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Linux-only

Linux-only

I began familiarizing myself with Linux late last year. I started with Xubuntu since it was the lighter version of the popular and highly recommended Ubuntu. I didn't really like it, so I tried openSUSE (version 10.3) and found it easier to use with better features. I'm impressed with how efficiently it runs on an 8-year-old IBM PC300 PL with a 633 MHz Intel Pentium III processor and only 256 MB of RAM.

I can't say Linux in general is easy to use, although I haven't fully learned the operating system. One annoyance I have is the difficulty of installing programs--for example I can't install any external programs because of issues with my "dependencies."

I'm curious to know from the previous two posters (or anyone) if they are using Linux exclusively (at least at home). I hope one day to be free of Microsoft Windows, and I would like to hear any experiences migrating entirely from Microsoft Windows to a Linux distribution.
 

Vlad

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I haven't used windows in roughly 3 years now. I started off running both and eventually moved over to just Linux only. The transition from Windows to Linux was a little awkward, but I got used to it overtime. My main issue was finding an MSN client that didn't suck. I ran OpenSuSE 10.3 since almost its release date but was quite unimpressed by 11. I've used Fedora on and off since Fedora Core 4 and went back to the current Fedora 9. Generally when you want to add programs you use the package manager. YaST takes care of that. You might have to add the appropriate repository to get what you're looking for though.

-VK
 

Vlad

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Brendan said:
Mmmmm...graphical package management. Nice! So is it anything like NeXTStep? I can't say that I've tried OpenSolaris. Did you try installing it? Was it stable?

Basically you end up with a Gnome desktop just like a Linux distro. The graphical package manager was a little awkward but they just made it so I can see where they need to refine it a bit. Stability wise, I didn't use it for a long period of time but it seemed pretty solid. Once they put more time into it I think they can really make something nice. One thing I didn't care for was what seemed to be a LOT of overhead for ZFS. Far from speedy and doesn't seem like the best choice for a workstation OS.

Installation wise it was mostly automated, not like the marathon Solaris 9 and 10 were. It was a while ago and I don't really recall what all it involved but I remember it was similar to modern Linux LiveCD installers. I miss the "Does this screen look ok?" screen with the large color boxes from Solaris 9 though XD
 

Bungo Pony

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I've been running Linux for a little over a year or so. Ever since about 2001, I've been meaning to try making the switch, and finally did so last year. I'm running about 90% Linux and 10% Windows (for video capture and editing only)

First distro was Ubuntu Edgy (6.10 I believe). It was pretty awful. Only after I upgraded to Fiesty (7.04) is when I started to actually use it. Gutsy (7.10) was awful. Hardy (8.04) which is what I'm using right now is LTS and it's incredibly stable, and I'm quite happy for now.

However, I tried PCLinuxOS on a spare box and had a fantastic experience with it. I'll probably end up moving to that either when Hardy is outdated, or a new version of PCLOS comes out.

I also have a garage computer running Damn Small Linux. It's main purpose is to play MP3s. It's a P133, 36M RAM, USB 2.0, 3 internal DVD-ROM drives, and I'll be adding an external DVD-ROM drive that I hacked from an old external CD-ROM drive, and an old Syquest 1G external hard drive that was freecycled to me.

You can put around 700 MP3s (224 kbps) on a DVD-R.

I've tried a few other distros: Puppy (don't like the lack of security) OpenSuse (don't like YaST), GeexBox (don't like the interface), and TinyMe (which I actually like quite a bit!)
 

Jorg

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I started in 1993 (or was it 1994?) with Slackware on floppies and an 0.96(?) kernel

Thats the one I started with. I still got the CD's, development release (6 CD's or so).
I had 4 mb of Ram so needed a swapfile- on a DOS partition, as I did not want to make a separate filesystem- it ran from a dos partition.
 

Allen

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Finding Linux applications

Finding Linux applications

I suspect one of the many issues holding back Linux becoming mainstream is the lack of available applications. To the regular Linux users here, what are you using for antivirus/antispyware? And what about drivers for printers not originally designed for Linux?
 

Vlad

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I can't say for Printers, never really used them much with Linux. Anti-virus does exist for things like mail servers or if you tend to do some shady stuff and need to check something to make sure it won't cross infect or get loose on a network but I do not recall ever seeing anti-spy ware for Linux, its generally not needed. Thats one of the things that makes it an attractive alternative. A vast majority of malware is made for windows, so it wouldn't even execute on a Linux box, it'd just sit there if it even made it on.

That being said I just installed Windows Vista Home Premium and I'm seriously thinking about moving back. D:
 
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