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What Was Your First Linux Distribution?

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  • IIRC, my first distribution ever was Xandros. Probably some time in 2005 or 2006. Cannot exactly recall for certain. Back then, hardware compatibility with Linux was hopeless; none of my hardware worked properly; wifi cards not detected, GPUs not detected and defaulting to an ugly 800 x 600 resolution. Ditched it and went back to Windows in less than an hour. Since it was more of a tryout, it probably does not count.

    Next distribution was a Red Hat distribution but again, I cannot remember what it was. Same thing; no hardware recognized, back to Windows, Ditto Fedora Core 3.

    I think i first started looking at Linux a little more seriously starting from Ubuntu 7.04; it was the first distribution to work on my Macbook back then. But school requirements eventually forced me back to Mac OS X 10.4

    By 2010 I was using Linux regularly and it was on Mandriva Free 2010.x. So I suppose Mandriva could be counted as my first production-use Linux distribution. Eventually dropped Mandriva and started distri-hopping between Debian, Fedora, OpenSUSE and Mageia.

    Today, laptop uses Fedora 23 (with custom kernels and drivers built) and desktop uses Ubuntu 15.10 (also with custom kernel and drivers built). I think I have more or less standardized myself among these distributions in order of preference:
    1. Fedora
    2. Debian
    3. *buntus
    4. Mageia
    OpenSUSE kind of got dropped from the list after they rebased against SLES because their packages are perpetually out of date, which is kind of not desirable for a desktop-centric distribution. Even Debian has up-to-date packages against upstream immediately after its first package freeze.


    • My "first" Linux distro was Slackware 3.5 around 1996'ish... a friend on IRC sent me the files over DCC. I got it installed (UMSDOS filesystem lol) but never did get X to start. I had a bit of Unix shell exposure so it was a novelty to be able to type such commands on my own local computer.

      I didn't try Linux again until 1999 when Corel Linux came out. That was actually pretty good, I had everything of mine working except my parallel port Zip drive. I had to learn to compile a kernel if I wanted that. Back then, Linux 2.2 had a much simpler kernel config and I got everything to work on the first try. So really, that was my "first" distro.

      After that, I used Mandrake 7.0 which is probably my favourite distribution of all time. I was so nostalgic for it, that years later I resurrected it in a VMware virtual machine. I made some screenshots, but these are the only ones I still have. I wish I still had screenshots of the old Gnome/Enlightenment environment that distro provided. There's a firefox icon on my desktop. That's because I compiled and replaced XFree86 so I could compile Firefox. You could still do that kind of shit back then (2005) on an old distro.

      After Mandrake (didn't care for later iterations of it) I moved to Slackware, also 7.0 at the time (though 7.1 was released). I stayed with Slackware distros for a long time.

      After that I started doing my own LFS builds.

      Back to Slackware again, for a few years after that.

      Crux Linux after that for a few years, but I got way too far out of sync with their ports and packages (went off on my own) and I was too lazy to roll up a new one when my guts got too old.

      My current system now is Arch Linux. I also have a kubuntu setup that I use for Steam and games. (I like a fast food distro for that kind of crap, and multilib etc. I like the convenience of the PPAs for *buntu too)


      • RedHat 6.2 - late 1999, came with a new magazine (Linux Format), and after my injury I had time to play with this OS I'd heard about. But installing it was *hard*, not helped by trying to choose the individual packages.

        That was on a secondhand laptop I'd bought for playing with it. After that, Mandriva-7.0 on a desktop system, Yellow Dog on an ibook, occasional painful excursions into debian or ubuntu (painful as in: "I can't use my keyboard mappings because it doesn't use kbd for the console"), but eventually moved to LFS ("My distro, my rules").


        • BSD around 1978


          • Slackware 1.0 in 1994, from a small handful of 3.5" floppy diskettes providing the base OS, networking, and X11. It, along with a CSLIP connection at 14.4kbps dialup, unleashed the full potential of my i80486sx/25 system and gained me entry into the modern age (though I quickly found it desirable to upgrade to 8MB of RAM to run Mosaic in XFree86 without swapping.)


            • I started on RedHat 4 on CDs I had to mail order back in the mid 90s, I also loved Mandrake


              • RedHat 5.6


                • Red Hat 5.2 (iirc) Roughcuts on an Amiga 4000.


                  • My very first UNIX distribution was SCO XENIX. Yes. MS old SYS V one. Boring.
                    My first Linux distribution was SLS, downloaded by V22bis and then V32 modem.
                    Then, bored by magnetic medias troubles, I switched to Yggdrasil plus and play Linux by cdrom ! Linux kernel 0.99pl7 IIRC...
                    I switched again, very soon, to the vanilla Slackware, very BSD stylish, that learned me all.
                    Tried rpm one at some moment, but early switched to Debian I can still use for some applications.
                    I'm happy with Gentoo since 3-4 years. I should have switched to much early.
                    27 years of Linuxing.
                    30 years of Unix "pragma".

                    Happy to contribute here. Long life to Phoronix !


                    • Interesting question but honestly I can’t remember for certain. Tried many but then decide upon Redhat way back in the day before Fedora existed. That was Redhat 4 I believe.