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What Did You Do First With Linux?

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the indulged-in-moderately-maniacal-laughter dept.

Linux Business 739

ruphus13 writes "OStatic has an interesting article on remembering the first time you used Linux. Quoting: 'I'm not sure if the admission that I remember my first Linux installation much more clearly than any date with my first boyfriend or my first date with my husband is a really wise thing to put in writing. I will freely admit it wasn't quite as anxiety-inducing as a date, and the long-term relationship that sprang from it taught me quite a bit about myself, how I learn, and how to passionately load kernel modules at boot. So, what was your first Linux experience?'"

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First time? (1)

dov_0 (1438253) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711475)

Just hunted around. I was trying out different distros.

Re:First time? (1)

dov_0 (1438253) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711487)

I should mention that the first uneasy but hopeful meeting turned into a long-term relationship and eventually a business.

Re:First time? (1)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711713)

I hear that these days most marriages usually end up in businesses too; divorce attorneys' businesses.

I tried to access the floppy drive (5, Funny)

iYk6 (1425255) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711485)

I tried to access the floppy drive. Eventually gave up, and re-installed Windows. That was 1998. I finally installed Debian Aug 2006 and it's been running on this machine ever since.

Windows is like a drug addiction. Sometimes it takes several tries to kick it.

Re:I tried to access the floppy drive (1)

Swizec (978239) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711525)

My first tries with linux ended miserably with going back to win95 beacuse my hard-drive wasn't big enough or something, dunno, Turbolinux 6.5 was uninstallable.

My first successful try was Mandrake around 2003 and I've been a full-time linux user ever since; primarily it was because learning C/C++ was much much easier done in linux than on windows.

Re:I tried to access the floppy drive (3, Insightful)

wisty (1335733) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711527)

Similar story. Gave up on the X-server setup. Come Ubuntu, and apt-get, the tables turned and Linux was just easier.

Re:I tried to access the floppy drive (3, Funny)

N3Roaster (888781) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711735)

My first Linux experience was when a friend was trying to install it and for whatever reason just couldn't get it to work. At the time I was a Mac person who had played around with a lot of different things, but my friend figured that since I was writing software (never mind that writing software and using software are pretty different skill sets) maybe I might be able to help. So, knowing nothing about how to install Linux, I asked him to show me what he had done. He put in the first Slackware disk, started the computer, went through the installation, and... it just worked. At the end, he had a working computer running Linux. A few days later he told me what he did differently. He accidentally deleted the partition with Windows. Oops, but he learned that he didn't need that after all.

Re:I tried to access the floppy drive (3, Funny)

plasmidmap (1435389) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711555)

Windows is like a drug addiction. Sometimes it takes several tries to kick it.

More like Windows is a bad stain-- it might take several washes to get it out!

Re:I tried to access the floppy drive (1)

mehrotra.akash (1539473) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711715)

Windows is like a drug addiction. Sometimes it takes several tries to kick it.

More like Windows is a bad stain-- it might take several washes to get it out!

so, a bad stain is worse than a drug addiction?? if not, which OS would u describe as a drug addiction??

Re:I tried to access the floppy drive (3, Funny)

dov_0 (1438253) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711793)

Windows is like a drug addiction. Sometimes it takes several tries to kick it.

More like Windows is a bad stain-- it might take several washes to get it out!

so, a bad stain is worse than a drug addiction?? if not, which OS would u describe as a drug addiction??

Linux, but more like Soma in Brave New World. Not harmful, just gives u a bit of a rush every now and then.

Re:I tried to access the floppy drive (1)

Penguinoflight (517245) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711811)

All too easy: gentoo.

Re:I tried to access the floppy drive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27711725)

Especially if you try to wash it in the public river that is Linux. Might take you a while until you find the place with the clean water.

I tried to connect with modem (1)

dominious (1077089) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711705)

I remember having installed Suse 5.1 and was trying to connect with a 33.6k modem. Good old times with pppd :)

Re:I tried to access the floppy drive (1)

Djatha (848102) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711795)

My first Linux install was also in 1998. At that time I couldn't afford good hardware and Windows barely worked on my computer: it crashed regularly an I couldn't get my sound card working. Installing Linux wasn't easy but once finished it worked without crashing. Enabling sound took me some months tinkering with compiling the kernel and trying tips and tricks from the Linux manuals. Eventually I succeeded: my computer was working flawlessly.

Some time later I bought a CD-writer and, as stated in the manual of the drive, I installed the drivers for Windows to get the drive up and running. It wasn't a success. Somehow I wasn't able to burn a CD-ROM and finish the disk. I tried disc after disc -- those were quite expensive at that time -- and almost all became part of my collection of coasters.

Of course, having had some success with Linux in the past, I started to get my CD-writer running on Linux. It turned out to be easy. Since then I am using Linux.

If I remember correctly... (2, Informative)

dunkelfalke (91624) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711499) was a Mini-Linux distribution in size of four floppies which I downloaded from some BBS. This distribution used the UMSDOS file system and could be started from a DOS prompt (didn't have a spart hard drive).

I remember that I even managed to get X working after a while, but to be honest Linux looked for me as a huge step back from OS/2 Warp which I preferred those days.

Re:If I remember correctly... (1)

Leebert (1694) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711575)

t was a Mini-Linux distribution in size of four floppies which I downloaded from some BBS.

It was a BBS for me, too (Christmas 1994, IIRC...) I was, humorously enough, looking for a copy of Minix. And I ran across a copy of the SLS distro.

I don't much recall what I did with the installation early on, though. Mostly just fumbled around with it.

Re:If I remember correctly... (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711595)


Run a stadium message board (1)

KingSkippus (799657) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711503)

The first time I encountered Linux, it was installed on a computer that ran a stadium message board. It was at a part-time job I worked at night.

The first time I used it "seriously" was when I was working with SunOS to mass convert CAD drawings to AutoCAD. I wanted to see if I could use the utilities that we had on SunOS on a free operating system on Intel machines to avoid having to buy more Sun workstations. It worked pretty well!

Knoppix (3, Interesting)

mc1138 (718275) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711507)

My first time wasn't even an install it was just a boot of my existing computer. It took way to long to figure out I had to run sudo su to do anything cool, but once that was done I figured out how to use nmap and got friends to do a direct connect via gaim and scanned their computers for them... yeah... for them... :)

A RedHat 2 Distro back in 95? 96? (3, Funny)

wiredog (43288) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711515)

A boot floppy and stack of floppies, IIRC. Later, more bloated, distros required an entire CD. Getting X running with FVWM as a window manager required going into XF86.conf (or .config?) and hand tweaking mode lines.

Hand hacking the config file for the 28.8k external modem to get online. Downloading Netscape, or maybe still Mosaic?

Then came the fun of getting the USB mouse working by rewriting the USB drivers and running GCC.

Then building my own kernel (a 1.9.x, IIRC) to wring every last space cycle out of the processor, and every last byte out of 4MB.

Installing a second (!) internal hdd, a GB or so, so I could put the swap partition on the non-root drive. For greater performance.

Last week I fired up VMware on my Mac. Pointed it at the Ubuntu DVD ISO. Installed a new VM which worked fine without any tweaking.

I never though Linux would get boring.

Think the economy is bad now? Just wait... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27711519)

Pope Algore is testifying before Congress that he wants Cap and Trade AND a carbon tax foisted upon the American people. Of course, people who don't subscribe to the cult of global warming (and there are plenty of them) were forbidden from testifying. If there's one thing most religious zealots can't deal with, it's criticism. []

Re:Think the economy is bad now? Just wait... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27711645)

There goes the last of our manufacturing to China. It was nice knowing you, America...

The first boot thrill is an end in itself (1)

sharkette66 (256044) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711531)

I just remember being thrilled at a command prompt with something other than DOS. Some early Redhat it was. And then getting an X-window up and loving the right-click.

What did I "do"? I just enjoyed the thrill. Late 90's or so.

I remember law students staring at me sideways in 1999 when I booted Caldera on my laptop... just wanted to see how wasy it was to use real-time in class. People still stare funny when they see Linux on a laptop.

Oooh oooh. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27711535)

Your mom.

Slackware 3.0 at the back of Linux Unleashed (4, Interesting)

downix (84795) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711539)

I'd heard of Linux while at school, so during summer break I saw a book, "Linux Unleashed" with a copy of the latest Slackware (3.0) at the back. So, I bought the book, took it home, made the boot floppies, and proceeded to blow away the Windows 3.1 and installed Slackware 3.0 on the machine. Took a good 45 minutes (it was a 486SX2-50) but then, I was there. I configured my PPP dialer (took half the time than with Winsock dialer) and logged onto my ISP and proceeded to install ircII to then chat with my friends on IRC. I had an IRC star trek game to attend that weekend, so I logged into DALNet and then went to play my game, all the while enjoying the B&W plain jane interface. Then I flipped through the book and found the page talking about virtual terminals. ALT+F2 and BAM, I was then using Lynx to browse the web at the same time. I was in hog heaven. ALT+F3 and I was learning how to make an Xconfiguration script to try and turn on the GUI. then the magical moments, I typed startx.... and 5 minutes later fvwm came up! Rediculously slow compared to today, but compared to Win3.1 and OS/2 2.11, I was loving every moment of it.

I still have the hard drive from that old machine, still sporting Slackware 3.0 on it, with the 1.0.13 kernel in all of its glory residing as vmlinuz.orig.

Re:Slackware 3.0 at the back of Linux Unleashed (1)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711681)

I did the same - got my copy of the book at Frys Electronics. Problem was, and I didn't know it at the time, my emachine I was trying to do the install on had a processor that wasn't going to work. I tried for weeks and finally gave up. A year or so later I picked up a copy of Suse at the same Frys. By then I also had a new machine with a different processor - things went smoothly. At roughly the same time I started using Redhat at work.

Re:Slackware 3.0 at the back of Linux Unleashed (1)

txoof (553270) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711687)

I had that same book and a craptacular 486 SX 25! I think it had a green cover and a CD with all sorts of goodness attached. I couldn't get my crappy ATAPI CD drive to work under linux though so it was just an endless stream of writing stuff to floppies.

I have a similarly fond memory of discovering VTs. I thought it amazing that I could irc, read my mail and use lynx all at the same time and without the bloat and pain of windows. That was a turning moment for me and Linux.

Red Hat 5.0 install in 1998 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27711543)

I had to copy the files onto a hard drive, change the ownership with chown and then install it on an HP 486 based machine with 2 GB hard drive and 48 MB of RAM. It was Red Hat 5.0. After I had it installed I just played around inside it to see how various things worked since I was so unfamiliar with the programs in it. That was January 1998. I had it running but could not do any work with it. Now all the distributions are work ready from my experience in downloading and trying many of them with a spare computer.

Both feet, you say? (5, Interesting)

codefungus (463647) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711545)

First time was kind of mandated by moneyless employer. With my own Windows Compaq laptop in hand, I flew to Atlanta and was greeted by a bunch of old Unix hippies. I was to write PHP/miniSQL code for them but had only one computer to do it on, mine. Problem was that I had windows and they wanted me to run RH. So, I totally wiped my machine and installed RH. Even at that time (years ago), I had no problem getting Red Hat installed (5.2?) on my presario.
Ever since then my tolerance of Windows has been in nothing but decline.

Long live The Penguin!!

Some Ancient Slackware distro. (1)

DoninIN (115418) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711549)

That I don't think I ever got to work, followed by either SUSE or Caldera, which I did get work, but didn't really find anything much to do with either of them. Red hat in 97 or so was the first time I used Linux for any practical purposes.

I started with version 0.97 for ONE reason (2, Interesting)

thomasdz (178114) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711553)

I downloaded (via FTP - since the web was barely born) Linux v0.97 kernel, tools, C-compiler, etc. in 1992 for just one reason... to play the curses-text game "rogue"
And today... I'm going to be downloading Jaunty Jackalope (yes, sorry I'm late) Ubuntu and likely playing nethack (based on rogue) later this afternoon.
Things never change

Here's a Usenet post from me in 1992 bitching about "I DON'T WANT TO HACK THE KERNEL" []

Back in 1992 when I first started off with Linux, you downloaded two floppy images... you booted off one and halfway through the boot process you swapped disks...
Since I lived in Victoria, Canada at the time, I was able to get the first distribution of a "packaged" ready-to-run Linux called SLS
Later, I started using Slackware and kept using it until Ubuntu 6

Thomas Dzubin

I tried either of these two... (1)

indre1 (1422435) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711557)

My first Linux experience probably wasn't as long ago as it was for most Slashdotters.
I can't remember exactly, but it was most probably either of these two:
  • Installing Linux on an old Pentium I 133mHz with some MB of memory and less than 1GB hard drive to run a small web-server and IRC bots. I ended up installing FreeBSD, as I found more documentation as a newbie.
  • Trying to partition or format a drive with Windows on it

On both occasions, my hands were shivering just of the thought of messing around on command line, it seemed so "new" and exciting!

Showing My Age (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27711561)

I remember my first... I was part of a small dialup IP access trial in early 1991 using SLIP. The office wouldn't pay for a TCP/IP stack for home use, so I scoured the bazaars for something that would work. I ftp'd 33 diskette images from and zmodem'd them to a Dell 486M - it was a .99pl3 kernel (!!!) (may have been Slackware - can't remember) ... It was a trial by fire - doing the install, then learning to patch the kernel to add SLIP... Worked great. A year later, I discovered that I was the only one in the trial group using IP to the remote desktop, since the others were using Windows...

Slackware 0.99.14 (1)

Trracer (210292) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711569)

Downloaded slackware 0.99.14 via the computer club at the local uni, back in 92-93. Remember it was around 30 floppies which basically took a whole weekend to install on my 386SX 20Mhz. I got X running on that machine, but basically stayed in text mode. It was used as a glorified terminal to dial into the uni to access different MUDs and IRC. Then I got ahold of a real serial terminal instead that I hooked up to the modem. It didnt make any noise at night, so my parents wouldnt wake up.
Those were the days, now I got 100/100Mbit fiber directly to the house (in Sweden).

Ubuntu 8.10 2008 on a PPC, well, a PS3... (2, Interesting)

wambamthnkyumam (1536487) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711571)

Bought a PS3 and found out it could run linux. So, I installed intrepid ibex and loved it! If only I could figure out how to triple boot my MacBookPro...

Re:Ubuntu 8.10 2008 on a PPC, well, a PS3... (4, Informative)

DJRumpy (1345787) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711807)

A bit off topic, but extremely easy to do on any Mac.

First things first. Install ReFit [] to make the OS boot selection easier. Very nice boot manager for OS X.

Next, you install your Bootcamp, which will partition your OS X HD into two OS partitions (Refit first, OS X, and then Bootcamp partition last). Once completed, go into Disk Utility and shrink your OS X partition by whatever number of GB you want your Linux partition to be (Bootcamp should always have the last partition on your HD. If it isn't last, it doesn't work with the built in tools.

Install whatever flavor of Linux you like and ensure you install your boot loader on the actual Linux partition and not on any of your other partitions (usually in the 'advanced' setup during the partitioning process in distros I've set up. Check the documentation)

Rinse and repeat as needed for any number of OS's.

That's it in a nutshell. VERY easy to do...

Linux helps you grow? (5, Insightful)

dov_0 (1438253) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711577)

Up to that point, I never thought of myself in any way, shape or form as a logical thinker. In some sense, I'm really not. But I learned something about myself. I learned that things go wrong in even completely logical settings for no apparent reason -- but there is a reason, and searching it down, identifying it, and solving it is actually fun and rewarding. I can't write code, but I am quite skilled in digging around in it and bending it to my will -- something I never dreamed I'd like doing.

I must say that using Linux (manpages and all) has taught me a stack of confidence, logical thinking, problem solving skills etc as well as a lot about computers in general and how they run. I even run a PC repair business now as well as setting up free Linux boxes for disadvantaged students.

Has anyone else found that using Linux has really helped them develop personally in this way?

Re:Linux helps you grow? (3, Insightful)

txoof (553270) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711717)

I don't know if using Linux has helped me develop logical thinking, but it certainly honed my ability to solve problems. The ability to read a log file and compare it to a man page to solve a problem has definitely grown out of my use of Linux.

The self-sufficiency of reading a manual and determining how to use a tool and how to fix it when it is broken is an incredibly useful skill that is a gift that running linux has definitely given to me.

Re:Linux helps you grow? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27711737)

Look, Hobbes, dad is in that nerd site... *again*

Re:Linux helps you grow? (1)

DoninIN (115418) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711765)

Linux taught me a lot about computing, it certainly helped me with problem solving skills in terms of working on PCs even when they were running something else. Various knoppix disks and assorted distros over the years have certainly helped me identify bad or buggy hardware on many occasions. Damn Small Linux is the Linux I've gotten the most use out of myself, removing data from dead PCs finding out if sick computers were worth fixing etc.

Caldera (1)

bargainsale (1038112) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711579)

Caldera (before the turn to the dark side) in a 1 G partition on the family desktop.
I kept practically everything on the much bigger Win 98 partition and mounted it at boot.

Second install was an ancient incarnation of RedHat (6 I think) on an old Toshiba laptop.
Had to use framebuffer for the graphics for months before I got X to run properly.
It was great.

I've never used Windows since.
Installing modern distros is just too easy ...

Re:Caldera (1)

master5o1 (1068594) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711649)

I remember having a 4GB hard disk.

My Experiences (1)

fast turtle (1118037) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711583)

The first version of Linux I played with was Caldera 1.3. Not a bad experience as I even managed to get X working. Had an internal 3Comn (USR) hardware modem that I actually managed to get working, which impressed me. Only reason I didn't stick with it at the time was the other family members who also used the computer. Next was a book on Linux that included RH 5 and Star Office 4 and when I finally got a 100M zip drive, I gave Zip Slack a try. Currently I'm using Gentoo since 2003 though I've been forced to switch between Linux and Windows due to school needs. My current setup is pure Gentoo with XP in a VBox 2.1.4 VM for those apps that simply don't have Linux versions.

First *install*? (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711585)

How about before that, trying to get the kernel to compile before there was a way to install it.

If you *must* insist, i guess i remember bit editing the kernel so it would boot off HD instead of floppy.

First step: copy installation media to floppy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27711589)

First time for me was March 1995, I got a slackware on CD, but could not install it directly because the CD-ROM drive (Philips proprietary interface) was not supported. I copied everything to floppy, using MS-DOS, and installed the full set. Almost. Well, not really... I installed all that would fit on a 120MB hard disk, and I was really excited. Then I got to the command line, and typed "X", and waited...

Second step was obvious: compile a new kernel (1.2.x). It took about 10 hours.

Third step: I started waiting for other software to install on it (and in the meantime I learned emacs).

Gave up on soundcard (1)

meist3r (1061628) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711593)

My first Linux experience was back in the day with SuSe 6.0, bought that in a bookstore with a fat manual (that was useless to me) and tried to install it when my Windows 98 SE had one of it's breakdowns. After fiddling with the installer and things for hours I couldn't get my soundcard to work and had nothing really productive to do with the system (note that "productive" back then meant playing Counterstrike). Since the sound didn't work so I couldn't listen to music, I couldn't get online because I didn't figure out how to dial-up and no game would even install I went running back to Windows. I was 16 and very silly at the time :P

In the meantime I had my "real" first time with Ubuntu Dapper and it was a fullblown success. I switched to Linux immediately and faded out Windows over the course of three months. So far I don't play that much at all anymore and mostly do Internet related filesharing and open source stuff.

The old saying is true, I guess, the first time is almost always horrible and forgettable.

Girls use Linux? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27711597)

>>much more clearly than any date with my first boyfriend or my first date with my husband

Either this guy is gay or OMG! GIRLS ON THE INTERNET USING LINUX!!!!! OMG!!!

My experience... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27711601)

Installed one distro. Sucked. Installed another. Sucked. Tried bootstrapping Gentoo. Failed. Installed Solaris. Sucked. Installed FreeBSD. Done.

Slack, baby! (1)

vic-traill (1038742) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711607)

Slackware, w/ 0.99 kernel w/ some long forgotten patch level. We were using SCO for named and some mail services, and even then I guess we knew we wanted to get out of that. Actually, just wanted a second name server on site, and didn't want to put out the dollars for SCO plus the TCP add-on software module. If you can imagine a flavour of *nix that actually offered TCP/IP as an option. Today it just seems absurd.

A whole bunch of floppies and rawrite. Later, tried the network based install and it actually worked. We were pretty impressed by that.

The year was 1999? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27711609)

It was Red Hat 6 on a pc.... it was really annoying, nothing worked.
Couple of years later: ubuntu. everything worked.
Though that was on a macbook.

Mandrake 6.2(?) (1)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711611)

The main hurdle was getting through the IIS proxy with NTLM auth, but didn't get into it

a few bad experiences, but a lifesaver (1)

mehrotra.akash (1539473) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711615)

have been trying to get ubuntu and kubuntu installed on my comp since 7.04 each time i end up without a bootloader when i do get a bootloader,and manage to boot, the comp just hangs on the blank desktop screen, showing nothing except the wallpaper all this only when i am able to get past the partitioning wizard or use gparted to partition my HDD however it has saved me a lot of headache as well for some reason windows failed to boot and i had some critical files on the comp simply booted from live cd and copied them off to a USB, formatted and reinstalled windows have also used it to replace corrupted files in some windows installations will try the installation process again with 9.04, hopefully it will be successful config: P4 3.0Ghz with HT 512MB RAM ATI x200 integrated graphics intel D101GGC motherboard

Re:a few bad experiences, but a lifesaver (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27711659)

the live CD is also very useful for browsing porn without leaving any traces, i think much safer than chromes incognito mode

Rebooted back into windows ... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27711617)

... so that I could google the errors that I got. Why did I reboot? Because none of my network devices worked.

The last time I installed Linux, on a Dell laptop, Ubuntu this time, same damn thing.

It'll be great when 100% of Linux installs can be done without a 2nd OS installed or another computer.

You FOSS guys owe me 24 hours of my life back.

After install took hours trying to mount a floppy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27711619)

This did not inspire confidence, but I stuck with it anyway.

Year of the Linux Desktop (1)

Zobeid (314469) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711621)

I remember everything leading up to it. . .

I was told after years of refinement, all the problems with Linux had finally been worked out. It was now easy to install, easy to use. Grandma could now use it. The buzz was everywhere, it was finally going to be Year Of The Linux Desktop.

I'd given up my beloved Amiga, and I found that Windows seemed like a step backwards, so I was ready to try something different.

So, I got the latest release of the most popular distro -- that would have been about Red Hat 4.0, I reckon -- and installed it on my home-built PC.

I lost interest after I couldn't figure out how to change screen resolutions, and I couldn't get audio without recompiling a bunch of stuff.

I ended up buying one of those newfangled "iMac" things from Beleaguered Apple.

Sun Solaris and Fedora 2 (1)

Warlord88 (1065794) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711625)

My first touch with *nix systems when I started going to university (IIT Bombay). The central Computer Center had crappy old Sun Solaris systems and the hostel computer room had Fedora 2 systems which were a bit better.

The Solaris systems almost didn't have any GUI, except for Firefox. We were searching for a topic for the CS 101 project and downloaded a compressed file in the process. I spent around an hour on going about how to extract the files from the archive. It was a nightmare. Later I took on to Linux pretty well, although never shifted to it full-time because of my addiction to PES.

Command Line (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27711629)

Here is my account of finding Linux, more specifically finding the command line [] .

Swapped Floppies then Stared at Swarm (1)

txoof (553270) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711631)

My first install was Slackware back in '95. I had no idea why I was installing it, but I knew that I would be 7337 if I had it. I spent countless hours trying to find enough blank and bad-sectorless floppies to rawrite the disk images. Then, on disk 11 of 12, I'd have to start all over because the floppy had was unreadable for some reason. That was awesome.

Once it was installed, I had no idea what to do with it other than try to get X to run so I could watch the awesome Swarm screen saver I had seen at a friends house. I'm pretty sure that install only lasted a couple of weeks.

My First Linux Experience (1)

LordKaT (619540) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711633)

Was a jump from Windows 98SE to Slackware 7.

The horrible times trying to exit xconf in pico ... just wishing that "" would magically work in this new environment.

I still have nightmares trying to get X working properly.

my first time (1)

sick_soul (794596) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711635)

I bought SUSE Linux together with a new computer in a small shop near my home.
I specifically asked for it, since I was going to go to the university, and I needed a Unix-like system for my studies, to practice at home and work on assignments, without having to always go to the computer labs, where DEC machines and terminals were available.

The guys in the shop installed the OS for me, so I had everything already working. No network connection btw.
I started messing around, and soon discovered that a game called "nethack" was installed.
It blew my mind.

destroyed it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27711637)

I destroyed the install pretty quickly. This was 1997 installing MkLinux on a PowerMac 6100. I was trying to get X11 to work and I hosed the install with my non-knowledge of vi. Installs go much better these days.

Porn! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27711643)

I really can't believe you had to ask!

Midnight Commander on a live Debian CD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27711651)

Midnight commander on a live Debian CD from the back of upgrading and repairing networks.

It was the most magical thing ever. I could browse the windows 98 partition from the cd.

1996-1997 it was the year of desktop linux for me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27711653)

I remember installing a really early release of enlightenment on slackware on a pentium 1 laptop with 16mb of ram.

I used it to type papers for college using dosemu and a pirated copy of wordperfect. I also started reading slashdot at that time, but forgot my login so I always post as anon nowadays.

Ubuntu 6.06 (1)

the_one(2) (1117139) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711657)

My first linux install was when ubuntu 6.06 was pretty new. I guess I wanted to try something new on my laptop and a friend recommended it. I've been using Ubuntu on my laptop ever since. My home-server started out with debian for a while but I prefer to be a bit closer to the cutting edge so now it runs xubuntu.

My first time with Linux (1)

Gigiya (1022729) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711661)

I first spent a few days trying to find the right drivers, then I gave up and reverted to Windows. I tried again five years later with Ubuntu and had even more driver problems!

Error: Noobtastic Failure At... (1)

Gaian-Orlanthii (1032980) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711663)

I had tried SUSE Linux 7.1 for the first time and I was so enthusiastic about it I bought a copy, rushed home to install it on my PC and went about setting up the partitions manually.

I'd already put three Windows partitions on that machine, so of course I was an expert in partitioning. What could possibly go wrong?

What went wrong was that I entered the same value for the end of one partition and the start of the next (like: 5000, 5000 when it should have been 5000, 5001) and I lost access to all three Windows partitions.

Shortly afterwards, I remembered I had a college project on one of those partitions. :(

Slackware Web Server (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711667)

I set up a webserver with Slackware. In 1994, on a 486 (DX50!). Sure beat the proprietary BSDi, even though I preferred BSD (which we ran as SunOS4). Because Usenet was full of Linux people who not only happily answered technical questions, but actually knew what they were talking about most of the time, for free.

Corel, Ubuntu, Ubuntu again (1)

jrothwell97 (968062) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711669)

  1. Tried to start Corel Linux on an old machine. It didn't work. Mothballed it.
  2. Installed Ubuntu Breezy (5.10) in dual-boot with Windows XP. Worked fine, apart from the fact the wireless card wouldn't work. It was wiped with the next install of Windows.
  3. Installed Ubuntu 7.10 on my netbook to replace the awful Xandros. It's since found its way on to my main desktop machine (triple-booting with Fedora 10 and Windows 7) and dual-booting with Vista on my (very non-techie) parents' machine.

Things have improved since the old days... although I did recently dig out a mid-90s laptop and install Debian 1.1 on it. It took less than two hours with a stack of floppies and some perseverance with dd on the host machine. I was pleasantly surprised: the TUI was incredibly easy to use for its time.

Who know what distro (2, Interesting)

Cthefuture (665326) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711671)

4 MB of very expensive RAM
345 MB Maxtor hard-drive
Stack of floppies that had been downloaded over BBS/FidoNet with a 14.4 kbps telephone modem
Linux kernel version was something like 0.97 or so.

I'm not sure if my first try was with Slackware, SLS, or who knows what.

It was at that time that I fell in love with the UNIX way of doing things. It was like an OS written just for programmers.

October 1992 MCC interim release (1)

c0manche (1540865) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711673)

My first foray into linux was the MCC interim release on October 1992 whilst at Manchester University. I installed it on a 40Meg Partition on my 386DX25 and the reason was to allow me to do the programming course works without been tied to going into the Unix computer lab. I still remember using 0.95 of the linux kernel and remember the excitement on the course when 1.0 of the linux kernel was released. Ah them were the days. Memories..............

LinuxPPC 2000... yes it was painful (1)

zedwards (868291) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711675)

I was tempted by a linuxppc cd in the computer store and thought I would check it out for my old iMac. I remember being horrified by getting 8 colors when first booting up. I don't know how many hours it took for my to figure things out (using lynx in console mode), but eventually I moved on up to compiling gentoo and now settling for xubuntu.

Yggdrasil (1)

alexandre_ganso (1227152) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711679)

That was 92 or 93, I guess, I was entering high school. Pre-1.0 kernel.

Installed, and tried to connect to my bbs. What, do I need to use the terminal do connect and use? Terminal was for REXX stuff! No BlueWave?

So I went back to OS/2 and ZOC, I guess.

That's an easy one (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711691)

My first Linux was used as a dialup router. Though no one TOLD me I could do this, I somehow knew Linux of the day was perfectly capable of doing it.

At the time, Windows couldn't do it. It was the era of Windows 3.11 for workgroups and Windows95. I had more than one machine and I wanted not only to share data between the two machines, but also have both machines on the internet. Dialup was the only method of access to me at the time and I couldn't have one machine on the net and communication with the other machine or use its shared printer or anything useful at the same time. I gave pizza and alcohol to a minor to get him to show me how this is done. (I learn best by example) And once we had the machine running, it was dialing out to the internet and would redial on disconnection and it was awesome.

I gradually expanded the capability of the dialup router to include other server functions and my knowledge grew with it. Back in those days, kernel hacking and patching was the norm and so I found myself doing that as well.

My first experience with anything GUI on Linux was abysmal. It was slow and crappy and "felt wrong." Back in those days, I used my weakest hardware for Linux and my best for Windows. (Today that situation is reversed.) I didn't seriously use Linux for anything desktop until many years later and even then it was secondary to Windows because of the asian language support. But one day that changed too.

none (1)

Krommenaas (726204) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711695)

my first experience with Linux was that it didn't work. my second, third, fourth and fifth experiences, each with about a year between them and the last one Ubunti 08.04, were all the same. every time you read that Linux has now become so easy it works out of the box, and yet every time on my hardware (which changes over time) there is some component that just doesn't work (unless you're already a Linux adept or are prepared to invest hours of your time) - usually the wireless network. that's what the Linux experiene is like for me, and for many other people I bet.

Re:none (1)

Gigiya (1022729) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711699)

Yep, definitely has been like that.

Re:none (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27711769)

I was completely without command line experience when my friend insisted I try dual-booting gentoo . . . and of course he left me without a windowing system and I never used it more than a few times.

After that I have installed it in VMs so I can have the same configuration as other machines. Only a few months ago did I actually put linux as the main OS on one computer -- my backup. It's great for development, but I only use it if I want the extra RAM. OS X has served my needs so well that I just don't really require anything else.

When my mac died, I went to the linux backup machine. Sure, I could get my programming done, but when it came to anything media it was much easier to just boot up my XP VM and use that. I now take OS X less for granted than I did before.

Boot Magazine (1)

djroketboy (853105) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711707)

Mine was the with Slackware, i have no idea which version; but it came with the Boot magazine CD. I remember it was almost like the old C64 days of basic, having to type in lot's of command to get it to work... From there I moved to Red Hat, and have loved Linux ever since :)

What I've done first? (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711711)

Answer: Installing.

And then?


Well, and then?

Well... installing. Then Portage broke.

Jumped from HPUX (1)

drjohnretired (1345973) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711727)

In 1992, we had ultrasonic inspection software running under HPUX. The improving performance of PCs made the HP hardware and HPUX licence way over priced. Others in our group had lost a half year trying to port to Windows. I ported the entire application to Redhat 4.2 in about a week and never looked back.

The first thing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27711729)

I scream as my files refuse to unpack, at the sarcastic answers of linux forum people when i ask how, then I reinstall Windows. Im trying Ubuntu this time though!

"Byte-Compling EMACS" (1)

n0dna (939092) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711733)

For about 11 hours, iirc.

Then the installer continued...

I believe (1)

lattyware (934246) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711739)

I installed SUSE the first time. Mucked around a bit, liked it, but went back to Windows, due to not wanting to spend time setting it up.
It took Ubuntu being released for me to finally up and move. It really was a turning point in being usable the moment you started it.
Ironically, I now run Arch, which took ages to set up.

Re:I believe (1)

weicco (645927) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711809)

SUSE was my first experience also.

First thing was that I noticed that X didn't start. It threw some error messages to my face so I fired up my other PC and altavistad (Google wasn't around back then IIRC) and it took some hours to get it working. It was something about hand editing config files. Funny thing that after that every time I install Linux (which is pretty rare nowadays) I have to go through the same exercise :)

Next I find out that sounds aren't working. I could live with that because I had a really nice stereo system back.

But what was real showstopper was that I couldn't get my 56K modem working. I had a phoneline and internet access which I paid money for and which I couldn't use. I don't care whose fault it was that I couldn't access internet but I had to reformat the whole thing and install back Windows 98 to get that working.

So my first experience with Linux wasn't so great :(

See Linux Safari Blog :) (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711749)

Seriously though, I did everything. Got my first 32 bit PC (386DX25) and immediately put Slackware 2 on it. Not my first Unix though, even 32-bit; I'd had a 3/260 with 4.1.1 which I upgraded to a 4/260 with 4.1.3. BSD-based SunOS, how I loved thee.

Mandrake 7 or 8 (1)

ssintercept (843305) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711751)

i actually payed like $20 for it at bestbuy or comp usa. the first thing i tried was to do was get a working modem (i didnt know about winmodem problems back then-should have rtfm).

and becuase i was too clueless to get that resolved-XP went back in to satisfy the then girlfriends chatroom obsession...

Compared it to HURD (1)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711753)

I did an early testdrive on an old 486/33 box, to compare it to HURD's absolutely broken installation toolkit. It was awkward compared to modern distros, certainly, but the fact that it installed and gave me a full GNU toolchain was very exciting. It wasn't stable enough yet for business operation, but the fact that the kernel did what it needed to do in a basic install was the missing component of full free software distributions, and this was very exciting for political and business reasons.

Typing YES (1)

Rigrig (922033) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711755)

My first experience with linux was playing around with Mandrake, and within half an hour I learned having to type 'YES' (completely, in caps) means I probably don't know what I'm doing and should stop doing it right now.

(Yes, of course I typed it anyway and had to reinstall :p)

My first time? (1)

simonharvey (605068) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711763)

The first memory that I had was trying to login as the administrator.

Nobody told me that the root account login name was root.

I went back to Windows 95 after that.


I built an ISP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27711777)

In 1998, a friend was buying a new computer and had a few parts available from his old system:

Pentium I 133Mhz

we bought an 8GB drive, and bought a boxed copy of Red Hat 5.2 (because we needed SSL and you couldn't download SSL then, or so we thought).

We configured the server and co-located it with a local ISP. We ended up with 20 servers and 10 employees before hitting the wall in 2002 and selling for pennies on the dollar.

I'm still running my own servers, but now I used dedicated servers spread out at various ISPs. Not much has changed, though.

Fidonet (1)

Minupla (62455) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711781)

I set up a UUCP Fidonet gateway. Which is probably not the most normal thing.... this was back in 92 though, when installing X meant a bunch of extra 1.44MB floppies!


My story (1)

Mr_Silver (213637) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711783)

My first experience was with HP-UX in November 1995 at the University lab. I remember thinking that the hardware looks ancient, the command line didn't accept "dir" and the concept of moving files to rename them was a little odd. I do remember enjoying the possible window managers (fvwm95 was the one of choice in the end) and using "--display" to lock other peoples terminals or display hundreds of xeyes.

My first experience of Linux was some ancient version of Slackware a uni friend (Pete) loaded onto his PC in the dorms in 1996. They were owned by the uni and close to the labs, so it had wired access to every room. Outside of the city (where the rest of the digs were) you didn't get such luxury. It was called "Cameron" (after Diaz, I think) and had the IP address which, oddly, is ingrained in my head to this day as it was the only way we could telnet to it.

We persuaded him to keep it running as a server and even managed to load an ewtoo based talker onto there. Although it was always quite amusing that he had to shut it down a couple of evenings a week to boot into Windows so he could write his dissertation.

My first personal experience of Linux was loading Redhat 5.2 onto my brand new Pentium 133 which I bought for the second year. It was in a shared house in Liverpool that I dual booted Windows 95 and Redhat - eventually moving on to triple boot NT4, Windows 95 (for games) and Redhat for uni work. I remember editing /etc/fstab to get the various partitions to be seen - something we take for granted now.

I stuck with Redhat for a couple of years before realising that I didn't boot into Linux often enough to make it worthwhile. I dabbled with Ubuntu on an ancient IBM laptop but it never really worked properly. These days I find that XP and Cygwin does everything I need. At some point, I may buy a Mac.

built my music library (1)

shibashaba (683026) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711789)

The very first time I used linux was in the @Home days. Inside the box with the cable modem was a turbolinux install cd, it was the very first I had heard of linux. Tried installing it, but the installer locked up. There was some incompatibility with my motherboard.

A couple years later I was completely bored with windows, having to reinstall it every couple weeks(this was win98). Every few weeks the driver for my ide controller would fail leaving me cdromless. On top of that, I was trying to rip all my cds to my hard drive. I had three cdroms and was determined to have all of them going at the same time. I could never get all three to work for longer than ten minutes at a time. Between that, and massive gnutella downloads going at the same time my hard drive would become so horribly fragmented that I couldn't even view the contents of a directory.

In absolute boredom as I had no use for my computer running windows, I downloaded Mandrake(the first choice at It installed in 10 minutes and detected all my hardware perfectly. Contrasting with windows, everytime I reinstalled I had to spend hours loading up drivers.

I was able to rip all my music in three days. After this was completed without incident I stared at my computer for about 4 weeks trying to figure out what to do. I had spent so many years just fixing Windows that I had no idea what to do with a computer that actually just worked.

I've never looked back, or missed any of the software that only runs on windows. Whenever friends and family ask me for advice, I just tell them I don't use windows anymore and don't know.

The year is late 1993 (1)

Der PC (1026194) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711791)

I lived in Sweden, which at the time didn't have any public internet on offer. I got a couple of boxes of diskettes mailed from a friend of mine who lived in anouther country. If I remember correctly, the kernel version was 0.98.

I installed it, used it and havn't really looked back since, until 2002/2003 I defected to Apple. They have a monolithic GDI. Something Linux sorely lacks.

The X-Server has lived its lifetime. It's time to kill it off, and bring something that actually brings the Linux graphical front end into the present time. (And before you bash me, no, servers should NOT be running a graphics server)

I'll Never Forget (1)

Wylde Stile (731120) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711797)

Lets just say early '90s running Slackware using 3 ZyXEL modems and Vgetty for my home office voicemail system.

Kind of Ironic (2, Interesting)

ZosX (517789) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711799)

The whole point of the article is to tell what he did with linux when he first installed it. I read the whole article and he never did anything! I was waiting to hear that he actually did something with this linux install other than just getting it to run. No mention of any apps he checked out, how he felt about the desktop, nothing. I mean, what entirely is the point of this article? "I installed linux, got it to run, and never looked back." Whoopdeedoo. For the record, I first started out with debian and would always be stuck installing from floppies and then grabbing packages with a modem. Since I had older hardware (even then at the time) BASH was my desktop and then ZSH for a period of time. I always thought that textmode linux rocked (I still do) and is probably one of the strongest features of UNIX in general. I guess the first thing I ran was telnet, so I could get on a shell and irc for a while. See, this guy installed linux in 2001, and I've been using it off and on since, what 1997? Debian has always been my favorite distro by far and I've always liked Ubuntu by extension.

Summer of '07 (1)

plasmidmap (1435389) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711801)

Learned to convert integer to string
R command line was heaven
Typing till my fingers were red
It was the summer of 2007

Installed Dapper Drake for school
For a project that was real hard
Set up gedit for typesetting
LaTeX documents look best by far

Oh when I look back now
Hardware problems seemed to take for ever
And if I'd had the choice
I would not have bought a Broadcom wireless card
Those were the best days of my life

Why won't my mp3 files play?
Why do I have to apt-get and then install?
I can't figure out how to set my resolution
Gotta learn this system by fall

Tedious tasks made fast
By learning how to script in bash
But Nautilus freezes on me
Every time I open the Trash!
Those were the best days of my life
Back in the summer of 2007

Googling errors messages
Ubuntu community helpful
I needed to reinstall
I guess nothing can last forever, forever, no

And now at version 9.04
Look at everything that's come and gone
Sometimes when I think about ol' 6.06
Wonder how I stuck with it so long

Now my desktop runs only Ubuntu
But my laptop still dualboots Vista
Once projector support is 100%
Then I'll say hasta la vista

These are the best days of my life
It's the summer of 2009

"Boot disk" and "Root disk" (1)

Fished (574624) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711803)

My first time running Linux was before the whole concept of "distributions" had even really caught hold. Back then, you downloaded a "boot disk" (a floppy disk that contained the kernel) and a "root disk" (a second floppy containing a few basic UNIX utilities.) If you wanted a hard drive installation, you used this to format your hard drive, then copied the contents of the root disk over to the hard drive over. This was before LILO, so booting off the hard drive was not supported.

Now, this was not the Linux we have today. No X-windows. No networking. No kernel modules. Driver support was ridiculously limited. But it was the first free Linux I'd ever found, and I was psyched to have it.

Then along came a couple of distros and this all began to change very fast. First distro I ever used was "SLS". (There was another one, IIRC, called "MLM" or something like that. But I never used it.) SLS was a lot like Slackware or, more accurately, Slackware is a lot like SLS--originally, Slackware was just an extention of some of SLS's basic concepts.

One thing all these early distros had in common was they came on floppies. Yes, Virginia, 1.44MB floppies. In fact, if I remember right, I think SLS would even work on 1.2MB 5.25" floppies. This was before CDR's were readily available, and I remember ... not fondly ... sitting in the Sun lab at college with literally 30-40 floppies downloading the latest Slackware, one disk at a time. And if one floppy had one fault on it, you had to go back to school the next day and redownload the image. Pain in the ass doesn't even begin to cover it.

Eventually I abandoned Slackware for Redhat, which I stuck with until Redhat abandoned being free for the whole Fedora nightmare. I found Fedora to be junk, so I decided to try Debian, as I had been meaning to do for years. Tried Debian, loved it. Then eventually switched to Ubuntu as a more "polished" version of Debian.

Man I feel old. I guess I've been using Linux for over 15 years now. Wow.

Slackware 10 (1)

KDingo (944605) | more than 5 years ago | (#27711813)

Unfortunately I don't have any experiences like the OP but for me it was Slackware 10. I think I chose this as I had read it was good for learning the in and outs of linux... I didn't feel like trying anything else so I stayed with it for a while before switching back to windows when I got into college. So I had the general impression anything on linux to install anything you had to download the tarball do the "./configure", "make", "make install" ritual, and run startx for the GUI. I thought it was quite retro.

Finally I made the jump when I moved across the country 3 years ago; I had nothing so I decided on openSUSE 10 and have been pretty happy with it since. I also work with CentOS systems so I'm pretty much a RedHat person.

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