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What Was Your First Linux Distribution?

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  • The first open source program I ever tried was the DOS port of Nethack. I downloaded it from a BBS with a 14.4 kbps modem. Only rich people and universities had internet connections at the time.

    I was introduced to unix back in the 90:s. Not sure what exact OS it was, there was this computer club that had acquired a server (it was one of these huge refrigerator-sized things) and some VT100 terminals as a donation, and we got to play around with it. There was also one 286, but it was more fun playing around with unix. We ran our own MUD on the server. It was fun, even though there usually was only a couple of guys playing it at a time.

    Back on the subject, my first linux was Ubuntu. I'm still using it but I'm increasingly considering switching to Mint because I don't like the direction the distro is going, with all the amazon crap and unity in general. I'm now using Mate but it doesn't work that well because it doesn't like cohabiting with Unity. I could just get rid of Unity but it'd probably just be easier to switch to Mint.

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    • Just wanted to post an addendum - I just migrated to Linux Mint and so far, I'm loving it. Much nicer than Ubuntu. IMO. Faster, too. I've just about almost set up everything the way it should be.

      Migration was very painless, I kept my old /home partition and all my preferences were transfered seamlessly - even the same webpages were opened which I left open in ubuntu! Never did I have such an easy transition from one OS to another in the windows world, that's for sure. So far, haven't found any problems or conflicts from keeping the old /home partition.
      Last edited by dee.; 01-18-2013, 12:39 PM.

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      • Originally posted by dee. View Post
        Just wanted to post an addendum - I just migrated to Linux Mint and so far, I'm loving it. Much nicer than Ubuntu. IMO. Faster, too. I've just about almost set up everything the way it should be.

        Migration was very painless, I kept my old /home partition and all my preferences were transfered seamlessly - even the same webpages were opened which I left open in ubuntu! Never did I have such an easy transition from one OS to another in the windows world, that's for sure. So far, haven't found any problems or conflicts from keeping the old /home partition.
        Mint is the new Ubuntu after all =).

        It must be nice to have a positive experience with Linux right off, back in the day... oh the pain. I still have nightmares about staying up for hours and hours resolving dependencies until early morning before school.

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        • Originally posted by nightmarex View Post
          Mint is the new Ubuntu after all =).

          It must be nice to have a positive experience with Linux right off, back in the day... oh the pain. I still have nightmares about staying up for hours and hours resolving dependencies until early morning before school.
          Well... in full disclosure, my first experience with (running my own) linux wasn't totally positive - I installed ubuntu 11.04. That... was horrible. After I had managed to mess up the entire system so that nothing worked - in attempts to "fix" things that were wrong with unity - I gave up and started over with 10.04. That was ok I guess, but 12.04 was what really sold it for me - after 12.04 came, I never booted to windows again. With 10.04 I had been switching between them, kind of on the fence, but 12.04 was the first release that made me say "hey, I don't need windows at all".

          Sadly, lately it seems ubuntu is looking to become the new apple rather than doing what's right. So now I use Mint, and it rocks. It's like they say - ubuntu done right

          One little quibble - mint had gimp 2.6 preinstalled, which I had to remove so I could compile 2.8 myself. Oh well, doesn't matter that much, compiling software is kind of fun anyway. Makes me feel all like an elite computer expert or something.
          Last edited by dee.; 01-18-2013, 04:37 PM.

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          • That IS old... in Linux years at least!

            Originally posted by Gordy View Post
            Feeling old..my first distribution was SLS back in 92 or was it 93.
            I did not get my Linux start until 1995, and I waited until I could purchase a book... Patrick Volkerding co-authored a book around that time along with Johnson and Reichard, if I remember correctly. The Linux kernel was early, but I do believe it was V1.something, perhaps around 1.2. I believe that the Slackware release that came with the book was either V2.0 or something close. I ran that from 1995-1998, then got Red Hat 5.1, then Mandrake 6.5, but the first distro I ran on a broadband network was Caldera openLinux eDesktop 2.4; that ran quite well on a laptop with only 2.1 GB of disk space and 16 MB of memory, if you can believe it! Wow, we have so much more these days. I remember going from that 100 MHz system to a 400 MHz system, which also went from 16 MB of memory to 128 MB memory, and from 2.1 GB disk to a 20 GB disk... all VERY miniscule today!

            Once I got used to Debian in 2001, I learned how to use Debian Sid, and I've used it more than anything else since then.
            But my computing days go back much earlier to microprocessors (not even called PCs in the late seventies, LARGE minicomputers (in size, not power) running on PDP-8 and PDP-10, and later PDP-11 minis; that's where I saw my first UNIX system in action; that was in the late seventies. I actually started regularly using UNIX software in 1982 though, so I suffered with other systems for several years prior to that time. My VERY earliest computing was on IBM mainframes in 1974 and HP minis running DTSS (Dartmouth Time Sharing System) in 1973.

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            • I started with Slackware in 1999, a friend gave me "Slackware magazine" with install CD and some how-to install / start / configure.

              I'm still using Slackware nowadays, at home and at office.

              Why Slackware ? I've been using FreeBSD, Fedora, OpenSuse each for 4-6 months at work, and Slackware is my favorite. I don't have some stupid GUI not working, I don't get updates that break the system (only security updates) and I am not tempted to update to bleeding-edge and break my system.

              The slackbuild repo contains nearly all I need, and I don't care doing "./configure && make && sudo make install" from sources to install a new software. I start all my local services from /etc/rc.d/rc.local (lighttpd / redis for example).
              The machine is using Lilo, the boot is very slow, but the computer works, and continue to works.

              For me, Slackware keeps to be very simple while it's not the best for performance or up-to-date packages.

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              • I started with 3 distributions at a time, at the end of 1997:
                • Debian (I think it was 1.3).
                • Slackware 3.4.
                • Red Hat 4.2, and later 5.

                I also went to some testing stage with a lot of distributions, having used them for a long time: SuSE, Madrivia, Gentoo, Linux from Scratch and lately at Ubuntu, after so many years of using Debian and Gentoo.
                Actually I had Ubuntu but I want to get away from it.
                I would like use a rolling release, but not so disruptive as Debian sid.
                I know there are Arch and Sabayon, and look quite appealing.
                Any recommendations for Mac supported machines?

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                • opensuse. i was trying to mount a hidden partition to read a recovery partition password on an acer laptop. i noobed out. the next day i came back with an ubuntu disk and managed to mount it on the command line.

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                  • Started with Red Hat 7.0 when it came with a book. None of my hardware worked with it at that time, back to Windows.

                    Tried out Xandros sometime in 2003, again none of my hardware worked, so back to Windows.

                    Experimented with Fedora Core 2 in 2004 but eventually went back to Windows again because none of my hardware worked.

                    Tried out Ubuntu in 2007 and dropped it after 2 days because WiFi and native resolution wasn't working.

                    Tried Ubuntu once more in the later part of 2007 and stuck with it for a couple of months until an update killed WiFi. Back to Windows.

                    Tried out Ubuntu once more in 2008 and for the first time, everything worked.

                    Dumped Ubuntu for Mandriva a few months later but switched back to Ubuntu because Mandriva had (and still has even today) problems with WiFi.

                    Switched to OpenSUSE 11.1 and Fedora 10 in 2008.

                    Tried Debian for a short period, dropped it and went back to OpenSUSE + Fedora because packages were too old.

                    Tried Mandriva 2009 and 2010 and went back to Fedora + OpenSUSE because urpmi is a major pain in the nuts.

                    Switched notebook over to Mageia on its first release, desktops still on Fedora + OpenSUSE.

                    Currently: Mageia 2 on notebook, Fedora 17 and OpenSUSE 12.2. No plans to move away from RPM for a very, very long time.

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                    • First distro I used was either RedHat (not sure which version) or Mandrake (either 7 or 9, can't remember). Mandrake was nice, installed with a wide variety of DEs (gnome was fun to play with--putting drawers inside drawers, opening them all up, then closing and opening the first drawer and watching them cascade. lol), Enlightenment was still cool.

                      Unfortunately, even back then, it was a pretty old version of Mandrake so it was hard to get packages that worked on it. It was pretty much a fenced off sandbox for playing and webbrowsing. Still, had some pretty fun games included on the CD.

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                      • first distro

                        I played with Suse in 1998, but I really started to use Linux with Debian Woody.

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                        • It was IT Linux 2000 professional, which was based on Redhat 6.2, I think.

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                          • red hat linux 7 then fedora, then ubuntu and xubuntu and havnt looked back

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                            • Red Hat 5.0 but there were hardware conficts so I went back to OS2 at home and IRIX at work.
                              Mandrake 5.x became my first full time linux distro at home. Eventually I left that because I grew tired of rpm even though mandrake was better than red hat.
                              I fiddled with a bunch of others even toyed with the idea of Gentooing but then I stumbled onto ubuntu in 2006 (warthog and all),I have been happy ever since...

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                              • Caldera for me. I didn't even have an internet connection then, bought a cd

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