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I tried to start with SuSE 8.0, but it didn't support my wireless mouse until 9.3...
However, after getting it to work I quickly became tired by "linux" because of SuSE's painfully slow package management...
After around 1 year I came to Gentoo which I like much more
(Though the package installs are still slow, but I don't have to spend 2 mins on looking if I have installed a specific package)
Mandrake 7.2 some 7 years ago now. I remember ordering the disks off the net for something like £2, as back then a 56k modem was speedy!
I think I then went mandrake 8, redhat, fedora, gentoo, kubuntu.
Back until maybe fedora, linux was never a main desktop for me (at least never for more than a few months) it was more just something to play with.
Tried other distro around Slackware 4 (ya, before a jump of version from 4 to 7 ), but in the end, stay with Slackware till now. Unless for some specific reason (like requirement from customer), all my systems are Slackware.
Started with Slackware 2.3 on my roommate's computer. There were times I used that more than the $5000 rig I bought in late '97, because I was told my SCSI card was "unsupported" (it was actually the default choice in the kernel config). I had tried to install Linux a year or two before that, but I didn't know about something as nice as having a distribution so I didn't get anywhere. I would have loved it when I inherited a 486 in high school! (junior year, early 96, and my TV was the monitor)
In 2003, I switched to Gentoo because I was tired of Slackware being continually out of date and a declining number of program that would actually compile. I picked Gentoo because the optimizations gave enough of an edge to play newer video types on my dual Celeron 500's at the time, and I still use it for my system, despite a nasty run-in with upgrading libexpat last year which broke almost all of my programs. It took me a week or two to get everything recompiled and updated on an Athlon-XP 2600, but my new system compiles 15x as fast. Now if I can just get Gentoo compling programs with Visual C++ 2008 for my contract work
I was using RedHat 6.something (still have the complete backup) for 6 months back in 1999 for some development work, but I have never liked RedHat anything. I also run Ubuntu at work (easy to keep running), and my Wife started running Ubuntu 7.10 in October as her first Linux. It's more ready than Windows for standard desktop usage, especially if someone pre-installed it with all the restricted packages. Only gamers, high-end desktop app users (i.e. something like Adobe Illustrator that doesn't run on Mac), and Microsoft's marketing division, I mean ZDnet have any reason for Windows. I recommend Ubuntu to everyone I know running Windows. I don't really like it myself as a computer nerd and programmer because of missing DIR_COLORS and piss poor default vim configuration, but I'm wise enough to see that most people don't care about those and would be lost on running "emerge -va --depclean; emerge -vauD system; emerge -vauD world; emerge -vaP; revdep-rebuild -X -vv -v" even if it happend to run without a hitch.