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OSNews: Linux 'Just Works' For Me (Or, How I Came to Love Red Hat and Gnome)

Apr 24, 2003, 02:30 (5 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Mike Reed)

"My first playful encounter with Linux was in 1999, I think it was Red Hat Linux 5.x. I got as far as installing it on some old and abhorrent IBM PS2 486 complete with MCA architecture and 16/4 token ring. After configuring network connectivity and using Netscape for a bit I git very bored and began tinkering. Naturally I broke something and (shock!) Linux crashed, dead. Nothing for it but a hard reboot. This was before Linux used a journalled filesystem and the box never recovered. It took me a long time to forgive Linux for that.

"In 2000 I was a well paid IT contractor and I came across a security consultant who ran Windows2000 atop Red Hat Linux 6.2 using VMware workstation. I was impressed, albeit confounded by the seemingly pointlessness of the exercise. Until I saw tools like Nmap, Ethereal, Etherape and Samba. Tools like that could cost a fortune on the Windows platform, certainly at that time. I wanted to know more about Linux. I still considered myself an utter newbie and began researching for the easiest to use distro. I considered at the time that Red Hat Linux was for experts so it didn't really get a look in. All reviews and personal opinions seemed to point to Mandrake 7. I don't remember using it for long--just long enough to break it through my own mix of exploration and stupidity. It's very true that a little knowledge is a very dangerous thing!

"Another contract later and in 2001 I kept reading great press about SuSE 7.1 and how it was a 'Windows Killer'. Well, if nothing else that must mean it'll be easy for a dumbass like me to get it up and running. And it had ReiserFS! Hurrah! I began running my business on SuSE/KDE--webserver, mailserver, desktop (I used Smoothwall on my ADSL/USB connection). At client sites I would fire up VMware on my laptop (running at 500MHz) and boot into Windows for the daily chores while all the time trying to make the most of my SuSE Linux experience..."

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