Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Why have you switched to GNU/Linux?

A long time ago when I was using Windows I realized that many applications were trying to constrain me from doing certain tasks. I was unable to play a certain format or had to install applications that I did not want on my system. I started to think critically as to why I am using Windows and if there is some kind of alternative that I could use instead. Prior to this, I used Mac OS but I knew that both operating systems are proprietary and want to limit the end user. I got tired of being manipulated to use a particular application and having bloatware already pre-installed on my computer. After searching the Internet for alternatives to Mac OS and Windows I found this really cool operating system that is called GNU/Linux. I didn't know much about the OS but I gave it a shot. I played around with several distributions till I found one that fit my needs. When I started using Linux, which was more than a decade ago it was still relatively hard to use and it was mostly for hobbyists. However, it was the concept of open source that kept me intrigued. I loved the fact that no single company such as Microsoft or Apple had any of their applications installed on my computer. I had the power for the first time to modify my system as thoroughly as I wanted, from little tweaks to major changes that required know-how. Today, I am happy that I switched to Linux full time. My system is fast, reliable and very stable. Linux enables the end user to finally have a lot of power. Over the years I have seen Linux mature and evolve. It has developed from something basic and geeky to a full featured operating system that anyone can use. Today, the Linux operating system is ready for anyone who is searching for an alternative to expensive and proprietary software.

Everyone has a different story why they switched to Linux. I would like to hear your story and why you made the switch. Was it financial, political, technical or other? Are you using Linux on a Server, Desktop, Laptop, Netbook, Tablet or another device? Please leave your comments below and tell us why have you switched to GNU/Linux?

61 comments:

  1. My story began in 2005. I was a typical Windows user; constantly vigilant with updates and virus checkers and backups to avoid becoming infected with malware and viruses and/or losing data; it was a losing battle. One day our antivirus detected a problem with our laptop. After "cleaning it" the computer would no longer boot. After hours of troubleshooting I made the drastic decision to reinstall the OS - Windows-XP. Unfortunately I did not have the activation code handy (case was missing) and could not use the OS without it. I searched for an alternative and found ubuntu. I have to admit in 2005 GNU/Linux was challenging to install and use (X-server configuration, Wifi, mounting hd etc.) but in 2011 it's an absolute breeze and makes installing Windows from scratch seem like step back in time (searching for drivers + constant reboots + waiting.....without a dialogue box). Now I run all my computers using GNU/Linux (ubuntu and derivatives (Mint, xubuntu) or debian). Also administer webservers with debian/ubuntu; I wouldn't consider anything else.

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  2. Its not that I dislike Windows. I actually think Windows 7 is pretty good and use it occasionally.

    Its just that I do nothing in Windows that I can't just as easily do in Linux. So I though why pay the registration fee for Windows then?

    Running Ubuntu 11.04 happily right now

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  3. I was on Windows 2000 four years ago. I had tweaked and customized it the best I could inside the limits imposed by the system, and like everybody else my machine was loaded with anti-this and anti-that softwares. Although it worked fine, I used to say to my friends that I didn't like it one bit that I couldn't do whatever I wanted with my machine, that the company behind it was basically deciding for me. Then I discovered Linux. MacOS was not an option, being proprietary like Windows and definitely beyond my means.
    I installed Ubuntu on my machine and the freedom the system gave me was, dare I say, magical and exhilarating. Here was a system that let me tweak and customize it to my heart's content, that provided softwares from a trusted repository, that updated said softwares and their dependancies intelligently, and last but not least, that provided stability and security.
    I've switched from Ubuntu to Mint over a year ago. I don't really like where Canonical is going and Gnome 3 on other distributions didn't impress me, so I'll stick with Mint for now.
    Linux rocks!

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  4. I BOUGHT A NICE HP LAPTOP WITH VISTA INSTALLED, AND UPGRADED TO WINDOWS 7. FOUND SOME TECH MAGAZINES ON THE INTERNET, AND DECIDED I NEEDED TO LEARN MORE ABOUT COMPUTERS. THE MORE I LEARNED, THE MORE IT COST ME FOR SECURITY ETC, AND THE MORE FRUSTRATED I BECAME WITH WINDOWS. CAME ACROSS AN ARTICLE ABOUT UBUNTU, DID THE RESEARCH AND DUAL BOOTED. AFTER ABOUT 3 WEEKS, I REALIZED I WAS ONLY USING WINDOWS FOR ZUNE. HAVEN'T LOOKED BACK SINCE. FASTER, MORE SECURE,

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  5. Being a trained sound engineer i was used to very expensive hardware/software and vendor lock-in traps. since completing my study in 2009 i have used GNU/Linux exclusively. Thanks to fabulous apps such as Jackd and Ardour, i will never again be limited by or dictated to by software or hardware vendors.
    That said, it was a political choice for me. I choose to be a free person.

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  6. I've heard about Linux for several years (probably first heard of it around 1995 or 1996, when I was still in college), but didn't have the ability to give it a try. In the meantime, I was a solid Windows user.

    But, while I liked Windows, I didn't care for the other software put out by Microsoft (Microsoft Office, Microsoft Internet Explorer, etc.). So I used a lot of “alternative” software (WordPerfect, Netscape, etc.), and I wasn't afraid to experiment with software... particularly software that I didn't have to pay for.

    Then three things happened pretty closely together. First, I got a new harddrive for my computer, and after moving all my stuff from the old drive to the new drive, I had a drive that fit in my computer but I didn't have any pressing use for it. Second, a friend brought me his computer to look at. He thought he had a virus on it. His 60-day anti-virus trial that came out with his computer expired nearly two years previously. He didn't have a virus... he had 94. Cleaning that up corrupted Windows, and I had to pretty much reinstall the OS and programs for him. And I couldn't help but think that there had to be a better way.

    And the third thing was the realization that many of the programs I was using on Windows were available for Linux. I was already running Firefox, Thunderbird, OpenOffice.org, GIMP, VLC Player, Gaim (now Pidgin), Nvu, Filezilla, and others.

    So I figured it was time to jump in to this Linux thing I've heard so much about. I did some research on the various distros and ultimately decided to try Debian 3.1 Sarge (then still “testing”, but a few months before going “stable”).

    So February, 2005, I downloaded 6 install CDs and gave it a try. And I must say, it was a disaster. The computer was unbearably slow, none of my USB devices were recognized, occasionally the mouse would just stop responding, and it would lock up whenever I tried to shut it down. I knew it wasn't the computer, because I was dual-booting Windows on the same system. I spent two weeks searching Google, reading forums, and reinstalling trying to figure out what I was doing wrong, because I knew this couldn't be the system I kept hearing about.

    Finally, someone on one of the forums suggested I try an older version of the kernel. So I pulled up Synaptic and started looking for the older kernels. And that is when I discovered that, while it wasn't a download option or an option during install, there was a specific kernel for 32-bit AMD processors, which is what I had. So I installed that kernel, forced a restart of the computer, and crossed my fingers.

    The computer absolutely flew. Just like that, I fell in love with Linux. I quickly found myself using Linux more than I was using Windows. Still, that install process left a bad taste in my mouth, so I ended up switching to Ubuntu that November, and have been with them ever since.

    I'm currently running Ubuntu on my desktop (single boot... I took Windows off it a few years ago). My wife's laptop is dual-boot Windows XP and Ubuntu (she hasn't fully embraced Linux yet, but she's working on it), and I have dual-booted my office laptop with Ubuntu (they won't let me get rid of Windows on it, but I use Ubuntu as much as possible).

    I don't know at what point it became more important to me that software be free and open source software and not just freeware, but over the last six years, I've come to realize the importance of having that source code available... even though I can't write code myself. I trust the system.

    Linux does everything I want it to do. I'm constantly amazed at the quality, and other than those first two weeks, it has never let me down.

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  7. I experienced a lot of frustration because of malware, but I paid my licenses of Windows since Win98. However when Vista got out, I thought that it had been enough.

    Two years ago, I bought this Asus netbook preinstalled with Linux. The machine rocked, but I removed Linux and tried to install XP to it...Terrible mistake. Then I thought, "If I have to use Linux, I'll find one that I like", so, without knowing anything about Linux, I downloaded several distros at random and tested them on my netbook. I settled with Mandriva and never went back to Windows.

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  8. Back in 1999 Microsoft called every initiative they had dotNet. DotNet was the future of HotMail and MSN. DotNet was the future of Microsoft Passport so you could trust Microsoft with your login credentials. DotNet was the stuff that would be in the next WindowsOS. Anything and everything Micorsoft did or would do, might be dotNet.

    One of the many "possible" dotNets out there was to try and move Windows users to renting software. Microsoft has been waiting since 1999 for people to have enough bandwidth to run Office over the internet.

    If it had come to pass the way Microsoft saw the future. Every time you ran office, it would download from the cloud to run on your computer. All of your documents would be stored in the cloud as well. Instead of Microsoft making $150 on Office 1997 and you running it till 2005 ($18.75 per year), you would rent Office and access to your documents for $10 per month ($120 per year).

    I did not like the looks of that future. I did not have money for a Mac. At that point I became very interested in giving Linux a try.

    Due in large part to the way Microsoft handled security for the last 10 years AND Linux being out there in the wings the DotNET Office being rented out to you has not come to pass.

    By the time the threat was gone. I had fallen in love with Linux. It does everything I want to do and many thing windows can't.

    Example: My wife runs Linux. If she has a problem with her computer, I ssh in, start a background X session, tunnel it with x11vnc and troubleshoot and fix her problem. She is able to keep using her computer while I work in the background.

    You just can't do that on Windows.

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  9. The reason I ended up with Linux? Most likely because I had used so many different OS's since my first computer, the Radio Shack Color Computer in 1984. I used DOS, Windows 1.03 (and other MS versions up to Vista), DRDOS, GEOS. I was 'programmed' to try new, different things.
    It was after a painful recovery in late 1999 from virus infestations in XP that I realized that I had already made a turn to the Free and Open Source world. I was running Firefox, Gimp, Audacity, Star Office. I began investigating Linux. But I had a phone modem connection in those days, and my modem was dependent on Windows and the Linux distros I tried just couldn't work with it. But by Sept of 2000, I had purchased a Sharp Zaurus PDA which ran Linux. Wow, what freedom! I was able to load other ROM bases rather than that supplied by Sharp. I could change so much - looks, speed, application.
    By late 2005, I realized the limits which MS put upon my computers, especially my new laptop. Because this laptop only had an 80 Gb harddrive, the hidden recovery partition (as the manufacturer did not and would not supply a windows install CD) and its recovery images soon took up 20 Gbs of space. Since windows and the apps also required about 20 Gb, I was limited to only 40 Gbs of storage.
    Hmmm, with a Linux install, all I need is 4-10 Gb for root and the rest is mine! As a trial, I was brave enough to dual-boot with Ubuntu on my laptop. By February 2006 I had only booted Windows a few times, so I entered Linux and using Gparted, made my machine totally Linux.
    I have used Debian based distros, Ubuntu and Kubuntu for about 3 months, elive for a year, PCLinuxOS for about 2 yrs and now Mint for over 2 1/2 yrs. In fact, my last laptop purchase came with Linux installed! Out of 10 computers in my immediate family, 5 run Linux exclusively (4 Mint and 1 Bodhi Linux). 2 others are dual-boot, although one is in Mint most of the time. the other 3 are XP, Vista and Win7. The age range? 10 - mid-60's.

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  10. I switched for the customizability I guess - I'd tried it on and off since about 1997, but it took the ability to stick everything on a giant cube and rotate it with four wallpapers and a backdrop several years ago to make me stick. Then, I got more interested in trying out different distros and other things like BSD which I would experiment with on a laptop - I soon started using gentoo, compiling my own kernel etc. I went through many iterations until I ended up with something that was to me at the time, perfect. While doing so though, I kept finding helpful documentation to solve my problems from a project called Arch linux, so I decided to give it a go and dual booted it with gentoo. Suddenly, I found I had the power and speed that I previously had, but with a fraction of the effort. Arch stuck and there hasn't been anything better since.

    At some point during this I learnt to program as well, started working in terminals full time and eventually switched to a tiling window manager to help with this. I now find my ability to solve problems (work or otherwise) and make tools by just typing absolutely indispensable, and it is this that will probably mean that I never go back. Also, the speed and the lack of antiviruses etc (also to do with speed) and the single software repositories so there's no need to go freeware hunting amongst thousands of different alternatives all over the internet from various sources. The freedom aspect became important too, of course, once I actually educated myself about it and moved on to working professionally. My job lets me dictate what I use, and it's all FOSS.

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  11. I installed my first server running Ubuntu 4.04 in 2004 after laughing at my dad for installing Red Hat a few years earlier. I kept using XP on my desktop.

    With Ubuntu getting worse with every release in April 2006 I changed everything from Ubuntu/XP to Debian Testing.

    Since that day nothing else has touched my hard drives. No dual-booting or virtual machines. Just Debian.

    I looked at live CD's for various other distro's and have looked at Ubuntu's progress but for me, everything pales in comparison to the mighty Debian!

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  12. I played with PCDOS, DRDOS and PCtools in the early 90s on a 2 FD Amstrad, then loved OS/2 until I did a re-install and found that FD No.7 of 30-odd was faulty. IBM refused to replace, or reload it, so I gladly left them moved to Windows 95, which I tolerated for only 6 weeks before dumping it, too.
    Gael Duval had just released Mandrake with KDE. He was generous with his on line help and I loved it. I've used linux ever since and am now totally unfamiliar with Windows and Macs, as I have all I need with Debian sid and KDE, maintained with smxi.
    If there's anything better for a simple 83-year-old user like me, I haven't found it and don't need it. I'm grateful to and in awe of all the clever, generous linux/GNU developers. I wrote a couple of short navigation programmes in basic when we circumnavigated in the late 80s, but have not otherwise moved beyond bash for things that are quicker or easier with the command prompt.

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  13. I've bumped into Linux a few times starting back with Knoppix 4. I kept it at a playful distance, using it for very select applications and never installing. At some point in time, around Ubuntu 7.10 I had to replace my desktop computer's hard-drive and noticed that I could save a lot of time if I install Ubuntu because it had most of the software I needed installed and I could get the rest from one location.

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  14. I fell in love with GNU/Linux when I discovered Knoppix,then I've used Ubuntu 5.10 but when I've installed Debian sarge never looked back,my 11 years old son uses a dual boot xp with mandriva 2008.1(fantastic version,the best Mandriva IMHO).We are happy with GNU/Linux tho my 22 years old son uses vista and he's not interested in giving it a try....

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  15. every damn device i own and the people i know use linux for every purpose as you mentioned above. Too many BSOD's, crashes and instability and hopelessness has me chanting linux. The "only" reason for using windows is for crysis 2 and upcoming 3 and doom 4.

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  16. There was no single reason that I switched. I was tired of crashes because Windows allows system files to be overwritten. I was tired of the need for anti-virus and anti-malware/spyware software and the constant updates this software required, I was tired of M$ tryi ng to lock me into their expensive software, of them changing file formats with every new version of a program, of their unfair, deceitful, downright dirty corporate tactics. I was just tired of everything that was and is wrong with Windows. Being an electronic tech with two degrees in computer science, I knew that (cr)apple haedware was vastly overpriced, cheaply made junk, and their OS and software was no better than Windows.

    I tried various distros before finding Knoppix, then Kanotix, sidux, and now Aptosid. I recommend Simply Mepis to new Linux users.

    My name is Nonya F. Biznes
    Email: nonya@nonya.org
    Address: 123 Nostreet
    Notown, FU 77342-090

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  17. You are all newbees... :-)

    I started with an Apple II in 1979, but two years later went to CP/M. In 1985 I joined the MS-DOS crowd. Mind you: I programmed a lot in those years, both in assembly and higher languages.

    In 1992 I wanted to experiment with the venerable SMART IR program, but that was Unix only. So I installed a weird new unix clone that just was emerging on the internet (new enough in itself then).

    In the following years I had an excellent opportunity to compare 'my' Linux with the different flavours of MS-Windows, and I never really was tempted to make the switch back to the commercial systems. In those years I also had to write more and more papers, and most of you know how superior LaTeX is above all shiny WYSIWYG trash.

    Linux is not perfect. Every onced in a while I am driven to foamning rages by an update of my favorite distribution that suddely refuses to recognize various features of my hardware. And I am saddened by the fact that my students willingly throw away at least half of the effectiveness of their PCs by hanging on to Microsoft. Worse, their Microsoft experience from childhood on, already did a lot of damage to their understanding of computers and programming. Ah well...

    Paai

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  18. Simple, I was given the chose of installing linux or paying many thousand's of dollars to install MicroSoft Windows XP professional and AutoCadLT. Being retired (disability) I had no reason to install XP, so I installed OpenSuse9 (I think) and have been happy ever since.

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  19. The story for me goes like this: When I started to study I have seen this unknown looking desktop at some x-students laptop. So I asked him what it was and so I learned that this was KDE on Linux. Back then (2004) I didn't know much about Linux. I knew about open-source and just heard a bit about Linux. So he started to explain to me more about Linux and KDE and demonstrate it and I was amazed that it was so great looking and powerful and flexible. So naturally I wanted to also try it out on my laptop. With his help I managed to install it (we had a lot of problems with WiFi) and so my path of discovering Linux began. After about two years I have grown so comfortable with it and liked it so much more than Windows that I completely stopped using Windows and about a year later (in 2007) as I was low on disk I decided to just delete Windows from laptop. And since that day I'm not looking back anymore and am extremely happy with Linux. So to make it short, Why I switched to Linux was just curiosity and better technology that is offered by Linux. But during the past years of using Linux I've learned that there is much more to this. There is also the free(dom) software philosophy behind it and the spirit of openness, learning and cooperation. And as days go by this free software philosophy is growing just stronger and stronger in me and is becoming one of the main reasons keeping me on Linux. At this point I can only wonder why our educational system doesn't teach us about this gem of technology. World would be a lot nicer place if people used more Linux and free and open source software, but the prerequisite for this is that people know about it and here our educational system fails completely.

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  20. It's funny. I don't really remember how I became interested in linux... I know I downloaded ubuntu 9.10 once, but never really used it. I did use 10.04, so...
    What I do know is how I got interested in operating systems. I bought a macbook in early 2009. I bought it a bit impulsively. I immediately regretted it. I ran windows 7 as my main os for months. But then I must have switched to os x a few times and realized it's not bad.
    I became a bit of a mac-fanboy and started researching a lot of it. And just like that, I was on my way to discovering the extremely under-appreciated os that is Linux.

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  21. What can I ad that the authors above have nót said already? Working with pc's since 1988, and being the problem solver for all these colleagues with corrupted XP-pc's, I switched the moment M$ started their Vista-marketing campaign. I discovered Ubuntu and PClinuxOS, there was a period I tested them all, but always, Mint was the final winner. I still install and maintain XP-systems (that's what people ask for...) but always dual-boot them. I make people discover the possibilities an alternative can offer. People sáy they like change, but really, most of the time they don't.

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  22. After losing a lot of valuable data on the Windows platform, I thoght there had to be a better way. I tried SUSE-linux ten years ago, and have never looked back.
    Now I run openSUSE 11.4 and handle dokuments, photo archiving and editing as well as HD-Video and Audio recording and editing on the KDE desktop. I really love it!
    If I very seldom need to run a Windows program, I do it in a VirtualBOX installation of Windows XP. So I get the best of both worlds.

    I have also installed openSUSE on the familys Laptops and a lot of friends as their Windows machines crashes or get infected. They are so relieved when I can tell them that all their files are intact and can be used in their new linux os.

    Linux Rocks!

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  23. I had a small business and started using computers to assist it. Unfortunately I started with windows 98 which always crashed. It forced me to learn more about computers than a trade worker should. I had learned to repair The windows OS's and then learned how to build computers. I soon was using Knoppix to reclaim data for other people, and learned how to use it to remove virus's. That was it, I soon found Ubuntu and was using it for everything. Wow! what a powerful and customizable OS (Linux in General). Now its all I use! All I can say is "Thank you!" to all the linux developers and programmers which make Linux and it's software possible!

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  24. I'm an academic, which means I do a lot of writing and a lot of reading. I switched from Windows to Mac around 2000, and this worked great for me until 2008, when I finished my PhD and started working much more seriously. Then I switched to Linux.

    Linux isn't perfect, but it's so much closer to perfect for me than either Windows or Mac. Initially, I had two main reasons for switching to Linux. I do all my writing in emacs using latex and org-mode, and linux is their natural home. With these apps, Linux is the place where "it just works".

    My second main reason for switching to Linux initially was that I find the Mac OSX window management is terrible for getting real work done. All the new features in Lion can't hold a candle to my preferred window manager in linux which is... StumpWM! For those who don't know, Stump is minimalist, keyboard driven WM, written in Common Lisp and highly configurable. It's basically like a mashup between the customizability of emacs, where everything is customizable in lisp, and the minimalism of GNU Screen.

    However, since I've switched to Linux, I've discovered all sorts of other benefits too. For example, on my laptop I run 3 different versions of Linux. For my work I run Debian Testing, but I also have a partition devoted to Debian Stable - just in case! I can't afford to lose a day (or more) of work, and with Debian Stable, I don't have to.

    Then I also have a partition devoted to Ubuntu - for watching films, BBC iPlayer. I could do this on Debian, but I don't want to message around with my work config too much, whereas on Ubuntu, I can try out new software, install plugins, etc, and not worry about screwing up my work system.

    So those were my main reasons for the initial switch. But, I can now add a huge third reason - freedom. Everybody is in love with Apple right now, and as a long time Apple user, I can understand where they are coming from. But it's been a growing concern in my mind for a long time just how restrictive Apple's software is. With Linux, I just have more freedom to do the things that I want.

    I've a million smaller reasons for sticking with Linux, but these are the main ones for me.

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  25. My reasons were both technical and economic. The price of a Mac was prohibitive, and my computer guru refused to reinstall Windows again after I complained about it's slow speed. He said, "You're not ready for Linux, kid," but after a few months of carefree, trouble free Linux experience, he was like, "Stick with Linux then, kid. You're not ready for Windows yet."

    I can't make this stuff up.

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  26. After two major BSODs in a week that lost important work in 2005, and seeing this thing called Linux on a disk named "Slax: Kill Bill Edition" I downloaded it for the humor. I already ran Firefox and Thunderbird. When I booted the LiveCD I was amazed at the number and quality of programs. Burned several CDs that day. Found one with Open Office pre-installed.

    So I put an old drive in an old test box I had, and installed it. So fast and painless to install (no driver searching, Microsoft should really centralize that data themselves, but too bad). I ran that older machine, that was only 50% the CPU speed of my main box, for two weeks. Amazed.

    Then put a new drive in the main machine, fresh install of the latest Linux at the time. Haven't been back.

    After being free, I found I really disliked vendor lock-in (Microsoft and Apple) with forced upgrades and avoiding the whole anti-virus cpu sapping parasitic drain.

    I even carry a Linux LiveUSB now for when friends mention, 'hey can you help me rescue my system? Some virus has it locked up'.

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  27. I switched in 2000 after I found five PCs running Lose '95 would not stay running for an hour-long class. I ran for six months with no problems with GNU/Linux. Since then I have used it in many schools and found it works much more reliably than that other OS on old machines and new ones. I like to use the really old machines as thin clients so students can get the benefit of speed from a GNU/Linux terminal server.

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  28. Back in 2007 it was offered to me a desktop (P4, 512ram, 64mb video dated from 2001) with a pirated copy of Win XP. My old desktop was dead a few weeks before and I was looking for something to replace it but I did not have money to buy a new one. With the advice of my friend (a truly Linux user from the beginning), Ubuntu was installed on that machine and my following questions were the obvious one for a Win user (anti-bla bla bla needed). What I basically do is internet, email and documents, so I had everything on hand after 20 minutes. I was reluctant but I had no choice so I gave an effort to learn how to use the system and it payed off. At work I still had Windows just in case I needed something. However, using GNU/Linux gave me a strange felling of freedom that I could not explain and I began to be even more interested on it, so I kept reading information about it and learning its past, present and future. I learned to use the programs, GIMP and INKSCAPE (I work professionaly with Adobe Photoshop and Corel Draw), Mandvd, Cinelerra and Openshot and I became dependent on them. Nowadays I have the same desktop with Ubuntu 10.04 installed (next will probably be Xubuntu) a laptop and a netbook both dual booting. My wife does not like computers that much but uses GNU/Linux pretty well. My 8 year old daughter began to see GNU/Linux as the only OS and when she went to school, she was forced to learn Windows and it was a real pain (she was used to another OS that did not require such attention to threats and a lot of things made no sense to her like installing programs - Ubuntu Software Center fault), My parents only know GNU/Linux (my fault) and at work, my boss learned that the safest way to check on-line backing accounts was through GNU/Linux, so he learned how to use it and forced his daughters to learn it as well (again.. my fault).

    In conclusion, I use Linux because it's easier, safer and more productive, has its problems as well, might not be suitable for everybody's needs but my advice is try it first, if it suits you, you're done, if suits you partially, don't stop using it because it might fully satisfy you in the future, if it doesn't at all, then use something else.

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  29. I was a Microsoft-hater in the mid-90s, and followed their anti-trust lawsuit with great interest as a young man. I didn't want to be forced to used the software of a company that clearly demonstrated authoritarian tendencies, and no doubt would serve the US or Chinese governments in repressing and spying on its own citizens and inhibiting their liberty.

    I started with Mandrake 9.2 and learned that if I wanted to watch video I had to learn to compile all of the necessary libraries to do so. Since Linux was so new, there was a whole lot of documentation out there and so you have to learn what to do from the man and info pages. This was a great learning experience.

    In 2000 I bought an old Toshiba satellite laptop with a 167MHz processor and 64MB of RAM. After installing Redhat I put the laptop on my bookshelf to serve as a terminal-based jukebox system, accessing my Mandrake server upstairs. That laptop ran for 9 months straight without requiring a reboot. I was amazed and soon after got Windows entirely out of my house.

    And I'm still Windows-free to this day.
    Cheers

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  30. I got myself a shiny new PC in Summer 2007 after my 5 year old Windows XP system started to grind to a halt. I cleaned the hard drive on the old system, reinstalled XP and gave it to my brother in law. The fresh install resulted in it running far faster than by brand new Windows Vista system.

    After struggling with Vista for around 12 months, I came across an article about Ubuntu, tried the live CD of 8.04 and after a few weeks installed it as a dual boot system. I have to say that it was only after I had already installed it that I started to educate myself on the benefits of open source software.

    I found that I had the software to do pretty much everything I needed to and more and have never looked back. I eventually did a fresh install of Ubuntu and removed Windows completely. The PC still runs very happily and far faster than more modern PCs running proprietary operating systems. It is stable, free from viruses and endlessly customisable.

    I now run Kubuntu 11.04 on my netbook. It came with Windows pre-installed which I have left on for simply to update my satnav and programmable remote control (not found a reliable way of doing this in Linux yet). The difference in speed between the two systems is, frankly, astonishing.

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  31. I use it because I used Amiga's in the 80's/90's (500 + 1200) and I knew what running a stable,fast OS was meant to be like...
    Going from an Amiga 1200 to a Windows 95 PC was the worst day of my life...
    In 1996 I got a Windows PC that cost 4 times the amount had 16 times the RAM and was about 50 times time faster in CPU speed (in Mhz) but was about 1000 X slower in doing anything, it was so unstable, all software cost lots more but did not have the capabilities of software on the Amiga (untill about 1/2 decade later) and the entire OS actually crashed (all the time) - with the Amiga crashes (guru mediations) nearly always occurred only ever in games.
    I was never satisfied with Windows so was always looking for an alternative - in 2001 I installed Mandrake Linux (which in some ways beats modern desktop distros....) and never looked back (I use Arch linux now though)
    I have been completely windows free for about 10 years now, I feel lucky I only every suffered 6 years of Windows abuse - most people did not have the joy of running a non windows system and think that it somehow normal.

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  32. I am a christian and back in '99 when I received a computer (486) everybody was using pirated software in my country. I did the same thing, until someone told me that the os I'm using is not for free (I was stealing), and there is an issue when push the "I agree" button if I actually don't agree (I was lying). Back then it was very difficult to move away from windows, because the only alternative I had was a slackware CD with fvwm. Buying software was something I rarely considered due to the fact that I was just a kid. Since then the financial side is not an issue anymore, but Linux has matured so much, that I do not need anything else.

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  33. I started using Debian in 2004, in college. I was already unsatisfied with Windows, which was, as many of the previous comments said, full of bugs, viruses and limiting.

    I wanted to try Linux earlier, but I used to live with my parents so we had a family PC and I was afraid because people said it was CLI only and required programming skills (lol).

    Anyway, I immediately fell i. love as soon as I tried it. Not only was the CLI was faster than the GUI, it had a better GUI than Windows. Everything was easily configurable. And I could have multiple desktops and up to 6concurrent CLIs and 6 GUIs. The filesystem was incredibly well organized. I didn't have to find my files somewhere lost in a C:\ directory, it was all in the home folder. And files had permissions, so I couldn't change a system file inadvertently. This would also protect the system fro viruses.

    I was sold. I tried a few distros like Slackware, Red Hat and Mandrake before finally settling for Ubuntu in 2006.

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  34. In 1999 I was running Windows 98SE when I heard about Linux. I bought a second PC and started experimenting, first installing Red Hat Linux (version 6), then installing Debian (2.2). Both had issues, mostly with some of my peripherals, a scanner and usb hard drive enclosure. During this time, I still used Windows 98SE as my main OS.
    Then in 2001, Windows XP was released. I had planned to buy it, but waited since some device drivers I needed weren't available yet.
    I found myself in the interesting situation where Microsoft and the peripheral vendors weren't releasing drivers for XP, at least for my devices. While at the same time, Debian starting supporting those older devices. That was the tipping point.
    I installed Woody on my main PC (while it was still in testing) and kept Windows on a partition as a fallback.
    When I built my next PC, it had Debian as the only OS.
    Later, in 2005, I switched to Ubuntu for my main desktop.

    Currently, my home network consists of the following;
    - Wife desktop, Ubuntu 10.04LTS
    - My desktop, Ubuntu 10.04LTS 64bit (plus several virtual machines)
    - Wife netbook, Ubuntu 10.04LTS
    - My laptop, Linux Mint 11, dual boot with Debian
    - File server, Ubuntu server 10.04LTS
    - Mythbuntu 10.04 LTS server
    - Linksys router running dd-wrt firmware

    For stable, trouble-free systems, Linux has been my solution.

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  35. In the past I had run many different operating systems on many different computers. Trying to stay legal at home is tough but doable. Maintaining privacy is even tougher. The two reasons I made the switch were primarily for those reasons. It was two incidents which convinced me to make the change to go from Windows to Linux permanent.

    The first was when I bought a DVD burner and wanted to get some software running on it. Using CD-RW media is a good way to make backups after all, At the time I was running Windows ME on a particular computer. I made it a point of NOT allowing an internet connection. (ME was perfectly fine as long as it was not connected to the net.) As soon as I installed the software my internet connection was enabled and configured without my consent and knowledge. For the next two weeks the machine would crash on average every half hour. Eventually I figured out the problem and blocked access at the router.

    The second incident was when I was working for a government. They had an excess number of licensed copies of M$ Office. Since I was partially working from home (I had better tools there) I was told to install the package and use it instead of Star Office (the precursor to Open Office). Big mistake... Star Office was removed each time I started M$ Office. I had a habit of storing the data on my D: drive. The first time M$ had a severe crash it took out only the C: drive. Since the data wasn't there (at least not the data I was working on) reinstalling all the software wasn't too bad. It took me a Saturday afternoon and evening to get it back the way I had it. A month later the same thing happened. This time it took out the C: drive, D: drive, and my Linux partitions. I lost a months worth of work and my contract wasn't renewed.

    It was then when I realised I was paying M$ to abuse me. Sorry folks... I'm not into that sort of thing.

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  36. simply becuase I have saved money and also keep all of my old machines alive with linux. When I made my first cdustom pc it was 2007. Once it was setup and I was ready to install an OS my dad had heard of linux from a work freind. After I obtained a "free" copy of xandros, I installed it. I saved about $100 dollars (back when xp was THEE OS). I setup a webserver and stuff and I realized I also saved money with the office suite, servers, webpage editors, secuirty suites, etc. I later installed. After a two years I was 14 and I got a laptop (thinking I would need to replace the pc soon). I again saved about $100 dollars and along with the other stuff I got for "free" from the linux community. Only difference between my laptop and desktop was that I was running ubuntu 8.04 (or 7.10 I forget). So finally the pc broke down (the integrated NIC and VGA actually were damaged). At this time it was 20010 and I was working with pc's and even macs. So then I got a pc from the year 2000 from a customer, he said it wasn't working and windows wouldn't even run on it (xp, vista, and 98). So then I said let me try this and wouldn't you know I found that xubuntu and even regular ubuntu (alebit sliggish; xubuntu ran fast tho) could run and install on this thing and as of recently this pas summer the GPU and the bus actually got fried (beucase I left it on all day and night in a dusty area while I used it as a torrent/file/web/datbase server).

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  37. I switched away from Windows world in 2004 when I went to college. I bought a shiny new Powerbook G4 and loved it... for a while. A year later I realized how little control I had over it. I heard about Ubuntu and started trying out their powerPC versions. It was real buggy, lots of wifi issues and poor graphics support. That was my first taste. When my powerbook died in a tragic accident, I bought a laptop sans-OS and decided to try out linux as sole, fulltime OS. Ever since then I've been hooked. Now I only use Win7 when I want to game or use Creative Suite.

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  38. I switched because of my parents. Spouse is a Sys admin and very familiar with the corporate unix/linux world. At home, he wouldn't allow Microsoft on the machines beyond the OS itself.
    Mom and Dad are retired and on a very fixed income. Mom was getting fed up with XP's oddness on updates and noticed Linux mentioned on some news shows. She asked if Linux was ready for her. So, spouse installed Opensuse 11.1 on my machine in dual boot mode. I was now the linux guinea pig. He would come home from work and be faced with a legal pad of questions I came up with using the computer during the day. I gradually learned the answers for repeat questions and even learned how to find my own answers. After a few months, we installed Linux (open Suse 11.1) on my parents' computer in dual boot. The biggest question she had: how do I empty the trash? What they missed the most- magazine or book on all the goodies on the new OS. I created a notebook with pictures of the software and what it does. I added some basic directions for more complex tasks as well. Also have a GEEK section for scripts, connection settings and other things for troubleshooting by Spouse or my brother-in-law.
    Dad was so used to pulling out the wallet and handing over a card to cover office software, anti-virus, firewall, and on and on, that his face was priceless when he realized the new operating system had all that included and even more than one option, free of charge. We had installed the a/v software (clam) and spouse setup scripts to automagically fetch the updates and then scan her system on the same days and times as the o;d XP versions did. We did this for her because all of her friends still used Windows in one form or another and she didn't want to unknowingly pass on problems via email. Plus, the SysAdmin spouse is well aware it pays to be proactive on computers.
    Mom was amazed at the variety of free software a download away. Science materials, languages, art, music, games. She loves the pysolFC card game with extra card packs, extreme tux racer, and the palapeli puzzles we make for her from our own photos. She chose the theme and wallpaper for her system. She uses thunderbird/penelope and the libreoffice suite most often. She made the spouse speechless when she asked the weekend of the install right before we left to have the linux partition boot first instead of XP. She doesn't miss the black screens, forced changes to her computer setup or the other hassles.
    Since then, they've updated to OpenSuse 11.2 and we plan on giving her the usual choice of distro upgrade as 11.2 is deprecated. Will likely be 11.4 and choice of Mint this next time.
    Me? I've become brave enough to install some packages on my own via one-click install or yast. Still need the spouse to walk me through the make, build, install from source. I do enjoy trying new software again.

    Mom's comment on OS: "I'd like to think I'm not so old that I can't get out of a rut.I used several versions of AppleOS on the IIe, IIGS; MSDOS, then windows 3.1, and on up to XP. What's another operating system?" "Hey, I don't have to reboot after every single update!?"
    For me, the Linux community is as caring and sharing as the Apple Community from my childhood. It also seems more inclusive for kids, accessibility, and education. I feel at home again.

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  39. I switched to Linux, not GNU/Linux. And I did it in 1994; switched from SCO Unix.

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  40. I've been using computers since 1980. Since then i used Apple II+, Commodore64, Amiga (remembered fondly), and finally the PC.

    Since Commodore died i had to move over to the PC which i felt was the better decision as i didn't want to be stuck with hardware that was controlled by one entity (like Apple or the defunct Commodore).

    Using Windows was like taking a step backwards for me, after using the Amiga for so long. I hated everything about the OS. At every turn Microsoft and other software developers seemed to be leaning in a direction to control how i use my computer and what i can do with it. Demanding my first born for the mere priviliage of using my own computer.

    I knew of GNU/Linux but hadn't realized that it was useable yet. The FUD was and is pretty thick about it so my ignroance was understandable. I decided i would take the plunge and try out GNU/Linux.

    I was at first intimidated by all the distributiuons available, but after a little research i found Ubuntu, Feisty Fawn. Tried it out by using WUBI to install it into Windows. I found it to be pretty bland, but after learning how to tweak my system, i knew this system was for me. After 6 months i removed the WUBU install from Windows and dual booted Windows and Ubuntu.

    After another 6 months i realized i hadn't logged into Windows in months, so i decided to reclaim my hardrive space and reformatted and removed Windows altogether. I was happy for a time but hated the 6 month upgrades which never went cleanly, and also i found i didn't really like Canonical, and the direction of Ubuntu.

    I searched around for distributions, but all seemed to be just variations of Ubuntu/Debian and i didn't want to go that route. Redhat/Fedora looked like a complete mess to me. Novell/Suse was tainted by Microsoft. Slackware and Gentoo looked like too much work. Then i came upon Archlinux.

    Archlinux seemed to have everything i wanted. Binary packages, but with a great build system (ABS). Rolling release with cutting edge packages, and the Arch User Repository which seems to put Arch on equal footing in terms of diversity of software packages. No more 6 month upgrades. Nobody forcing me to use any software i didn't want to use out of the gate. The system i wanted was the system i built.

    All isn't prefect of course, but for me it's better than the control freak proprietary alternatives, and i'm the one in control of my computer. I can truly say that I own my system.

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  41. Sometime during my Sophomore year of college (1997) I became interested in Linux. I think I was just interested in learning more about computers and Linux seemed to really let you get your hands dirty -- especially in those earlier days of Linux. I first tried RedHat, which was followed by Slackware, Mandrake, Gentoo, SuSE, Ubuntu, Mint -- and now back to Fedora (RedHat)!

    What I like about Open Source and Linux:

    - Fun, free and available to all!
    - Freedom -- No licensing issues
    - Challenges and improves quality of commercial software offerings
    - Variety and ability to tweak and customize
    - Ability to participate in development / improvement
    - Community support
    - Fewer threats from viruses and worms

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  42. I started playing with Linux in 1998 for fun but never really could make the break. About 5 years ago I came home from work and sat down to do some remote admin work and got bluescreened. An hour of fighting later I gave up, booted into Fedora and did the tasks I needed to for work. The eureka moment was there. I was sick of working to fix windows problems all day and then come home to maintain yet another windows machine. I have transitioned my whole house to Linux and as a result I get to come home and work with my computer.

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  43. I use Linux for more than 2 years. I tried Ubuntu 9.04 because I got soooo bored with Windows XP. And when I tried Vista, it was just plain awefull. So I had to seriously think about switching to Linux (there were several half-hearted attempts before).

    Ubuntu just did it. Killer feachers for me were: the dialog for starting applications (Alt-F2), several desktops (on a Compiz cube, which seemed so cool at the time!) and the most favorite - APT! And certainly, the command line, that actually worked.

    Main advantage of using Linux, I think, - it's just so interesting! You always can learn more about the OS, customise it the way you like, write some useful scripts. And youre free! The programms I use do not tend to become awkward monsters.

    Currently I use Arch Linux (openbox) on desktop and Debian stable (fluxbox) on netbook. What a blissfull life: no viruses, no BSODS, no bloatware.

    Thanks to all GNU/Linux devs!

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  44. When I was running for office -- I was the Green Party candidate for Insurance Commissioner in 2006 -- I used FOSS instead of spending campaign funds on proprietary software (Greens don't take corporate contributions, hence I didn't have the megabucks Democrats and Republicans had to throw at software). During the campaign I kept thinking about this great paradigm of free-as-in-freedom software and, as a result, I've been a FOSS user and advocate ever since.

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  45. I started using Linux 9 years ago with Red Hat Linux 6. The way Microsoft's OSes work and operate always bugged me. I wanted a window manager that I could configure so that I could move windows that were the parents of modal dialogs without closing the dialog. I liked the ability to run "live" discs that perform specialized tasks (e.g., run OS on a crashed PC, perform a virus scan, run an A/V distribution that is tweaked to work "just so," and be able to try out lots of open source software easily and uninstall cleanly without lots of registry tedium). So, it was choice for me: the choice to do things differently and more effectively. Today, most of my machines have either Fedora or Ubuntu and those that have Windows are always dual-booting. Unlike Windows, I can keep upgrading. The RH 6 machine is now running Fedora 14, which is more than 17 minor upgrades in 10 years. For machines that need more stability, I use Ubuntu's LTS. For me, it is about freedom. Freedom of choice.

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  46. I have been a Linux user at home since 2004, with some interruptions to check out FreeBSD and PCBSD. I have stuck with it because of reliability, hardware support, and the choices that Linux affords. If MS-Windows ever comes close to offering these, then I will give Windows another try, and I have spent some time using Windows 7 at a family member’s house.

    From the mid-’80’s until 2004, I used only MS-DOS and/or MS-Windows, with tiny bits of RDOS, Mac, and VMS thrown in. In the mid-90’s, though, I started to be disappointed when Windows seemed to be embracing Apple’s drive for a monocultural experience, albeit without the reliability. Until then, the need to tweak was more than offset by the ability to choose from a reasonably diverse group of offerings for most applications and a far, far wider range of hardware choices.

    In 2003, though, we purchased an XP-SP2 family computer, and, in my book, XP was an unacceptably poor performer. It did not reliably support hardware, from the Western Digital IDE hard drive to the network card (I later found out that Fedora supported this PC amazingly well). For a lot of repetitive operations, the ‘are you sure’ window kept coming up no matter how many times I checked the box for ‘do not ask me again.’ There were also multiple ‘My Documents’ folders and, even though I only logged in as myself, trying to find where files were saved was a constant ordeal. There were other frustrations, but, after a year, I decided that the problem was not the learning curve; I had had enough and, no matter how much I’d heard about the difficulties of Linux, trying it was justified, if it had any chance at all of being better than XP.

    We had put the previous 5 year old computer in a storage nook, and I dragged it out for experimenting with different operating systems. After trying a few distros, Fedora 2 hooked me. The old computer was a far faster Internet surfing machine, after 15 minutes on Google, the wireless card worked, and another 15 minutes gave me Flash, multimedia, etc. That began an infatuation with Fedora that SELinux quickly killed in either F3 or F4.

    A few of years later, when we upgraded, I bought two identical whitebox computers. Since the kids insisted on playing The Sims and that one hadn’t yet been conquered by Wine, XP went on one computer and Ubuntu went on the other. The Ubuntu PC was up and running in about a half hour. The XP computer took about 4 hours, mainly because of support issues with the on-board audio. I ended up buying a PCI audio card to take care of the XP computer without using up more time.

    For now, I won’t allow Windows back onto my home computer. From the time perspective, it is just far too expensive; I simply do not have the time to invest in learning enough the ins and outs of Windows to get it to run reliably. I’m running Kubuntu with four or five additional desktop managers installed … just because I enjoy mixing things up. The computer works, I can depend on it, and it lets me surf, play games, pick through thousands of applications with synaptic, edit documents/spreadsheets/presentations, and not have to deal with the frustrations of Windows’ fragile, temperamental nature. If XP could have had solid hardware support and/or the ability to listen to user preferences, I would never have tried anything else. In a way, though, I’m glad it sucked so bad, since that was the kick in the pants I needed to see what else is out there.

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  47. 1998 - I started a new job at a place that used a lot of unix (AIX). Started with Red Hat 4 as a way to learn without risking real machines at work. I'd heard of linux a year or two earlier, but it didn't seem too viable at the time.

    Had also been toying with OS/2 - dual-boot with Windows. OS/2 would 'mysteriously' get corrupted on a regular basis - apparently an accidental flaw in Windows updates. Started to dislike Microsoft.

    Continual changes to MS Office file-formats & difficulties reading them with anything other than the latest release did nothing to endear me. In the meantime Linux got much easier to install & use.

    At home I switched to linux full-time about 2003. Debian & derivatives mostly - Red Hat & SuSE always seemed to break during upgrades. Ran Ubuntu for several years, but don't like Unity at all & when my hard drive died a few weeks back I switched to Debian-Mint.

    Main reasons for using Linux:

    * Stable O/S
    * *nix power that GUI can't match
    * Don't need to play Microsoft's game of forced upgrades

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  48. I was using Solaris (can't remember what version) at work, I'd tried OS/2 at home which wasn't really what I was after. A guy at work said he'd heard about this thing called Linux. I can't remember when that was but it was the last 1.?? version. From memory the there wasn't a cdrom driver so I had to wait for 2.0.

    I started with slackware, then redhat, then debian, then ubuntu and then back to debian. I really don't see any reason to move away from debian, maybe Gentoo but probably not.

    I've never owned a machine that runs windows. And I'm rather proud of that fact.

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  49. A friend recommended RedHat 5.0 in the late 1990s, so I gave it a try and have not left since (migrated on to Fedora, of course).

    I had been tired of all the blue screens in Windows, the constant rebooting, the perpetual system lockups when installing software and hardware, and the fact that every little thing required another program that you had to purchase. The Windows environment forces you to become a pirate and criminal, against your will.

    In Fedora, it is all included: I update my system daily and have no costs, yet have a state-of-the-art system. If I want a new program, need some new functionality, or get new hardware, I simply install the appropriate software from the repository and I'm done. No law-breaking involved.

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  50. i never swithced to gnu/linux. i swithced to linux. there is no gnu/linux it's just in fanatic's heads

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  51. I built a new computer from stratch. Thought about putting XP on it, but tried Ubuntu first. It just worked, and I slowly ported more and more use over from my older computer is a fixed configuration issues and such. Eventually I got everything I really needed working. I had tried it before (RedHat 6) and FreeBSD, Debian, puppy, dabbling for years (since 2002) off and on, but it didnt' stick till recently. Now all I hardly ever boot into is gentoo, and XP is relegated to a rarely used virtual machine.

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  52. Had a friend show me his Slackware box in 1998. That got me started. Learned the true power of Unix from my CS professors a year later. Used FreeBSD as my main OS for a few years, but eventually got lazy and switched to Debian. Been using Debian as my main OS ever since. My strong belief in the open source philosophy and the power and flexibility of GNU/Linux is why I continue to use it. While things have gotten a lot better, I always feel constrained and limited when using Windows.

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  53. I started with Linux as a hobby in 2001. Loved it from the get-go. However, I kept using Windows as my primary OS because that's what my clients' used, since the ERP system I consult for runs only on Windows. I figured I should use what my clients have to use. As the years dragged on, though, I got soooooooooo tired of fighting with Windows. Things that take less than 3 minutes in Linux can take 30 or more in Windows... sometimes HOURS... Finally I said, HECK WITH IT, and went totally Linux - relegating Windows to VM's that run on Ubuntu - so I can still do what I do for a living, but at least Windows is now isolated to VM's...!!! Ubuntu is a great cross over distro for people wanting to try Linux. I use 11.04 and am thrilled with it. YES I LIKE UNITY WHAT OF IT...??? lol And I thought I would hate it, being a gnome die-hard, but Unity stole my heart when I wasn't looking... :) Since I have gone 99% Linux, my blood pressure has dropped, my productivity has gone up, and my skill set has increased exponentially. I knew I had reached that point when I set up a headless server to host all my email and websites... I thought to myself after I did that, and with resounding success, "I have arrived" lol...

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  54. I switched to Linux because I find it sleeker, smoother and faster than any other operating system. To me, fonts looks more smoother than any other operating system which improves readibility in computer monitor. :-)

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  55. I never followed the Win95 disaster, but stayed with DOS and Win3.11. The latter wasn't very reliable, but when you pushed the reset button not too much was broken and if it was, DOS helped you out.

    Around 2000 I was contemplating a new machine and wondered what could be installed. My old tandem wasn't gonna make it, because very little software was released for that platform. I also wanted a Unix clone like Coherent to play around with. But I also needed a workhorse. WinNT4? I really thought of that. I even had taken care of a pirated copy (700 bucks for an OS? Never!)

    Then I found out Linux had enough functionality to fill that workhorse gap. Not through the Dutch press, but the German press, PC-Praxis to be exact. So I dropped the WinNT4 and dual installed my old DOS/Win3.11 tandem and Linux.

    After the first day, around 80% of the work was done by that OS, which slowly increased to a massive 100%, so four years later I could say bye-bye to DOS and dual booting.

    That's about it. Nowadays when I have to work with Windows, I install FOSS equivalents. Some rare exceptions remain, but they are handled nicely by DosBOX, QEMU, ReactOS or Wine.

    Nice touch: I still develop (also) for Windows and DOS, but these are cross-compiled on Linux. Even the installers are built on Linux!

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  56. I find the business practices of Microsoft and Apple very anti-competitive, anti-user-friendly.

    One day I decided that I will not support such companies with my purchases unless it cannot be helped.

    Since than, I have been using Ubuntu as my primary OS and I have to say I will not go back to Windows.

    Apple's walled garden is also out of the question.

    You see, only Linux remains for me as a multi-purpose (desktop/server) operating system.

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  57. I actually was introduced to Linux accidentally. A math teacher at my high school mentioned that OpenOffice.org was a free office suite that could be used to submit certain typed or graphical assignments, so I downloaded that. I recognized the Windows and Mac download options on its site, but there were several others I didn't recognize. I got curious, poked around for a bit, and eventually installed Ubuntu 8.04 in a dual-boot setup with XP on my tower. I never did make much use of Ubuntu, since I could never get it configured to use our dial-up connection, but it struck me as a very nicely designed system and stayed in the back of my mind.

    A few weeks later, I bought myself an old ThinkPad T22 for roughly US$80, but the laptop just didn't have enough power to run any recent form of Windows- or the big Gnome Ubuntu, for that matter. I looked around for a few different lightweight versions of Ubuntu until a classmate caught wind, snorted in playful derision- "Ubuntu! Hmph!"- and gave me a copy of DSL. While didn't find Damn Small to be to my liking either, from there I stumbled across Puppy Linux 412, and that suited me just fine.

    The more time I spent tinkering with Puppy, the more enamored I became with the system, and the more shocked I was that what seemed to me to be a band of eccentrics could collaborate over the Internet to best the efforts of enormous, wealthy software corporations.

    So I suppose I kind of stumbled into Linux, but the control I can exercise over my OS, the (potentially) low system requirements of Linux systems, and the overall robustness of the OS if properly configured have kept me on it.

    The ethical arguments for free/open standards and software didn't draw me in, but I do find myself becoming more invested in those concepts over time. I have the technical merits of the software to thank for the introduction. :)

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  58. I started playing with Linux and trying to install Slackware with about 30 floppy disks back around 1995. I was 15 at the time. Well once I got it installed I realized that I couldn't do all the things I wanted to do so I reverted back to MS 95'. 3 years later MS 98' came out and I upgraded to it. I didn't like it that much so I tried installing Debian Linux. I loved it. I used Debian for about a year. Then I had heard of Mandrake. So I bought the Mandrake PowerPack in 1999. I was in the Army at the time and stationed in Korea. It took a long time for those disks to get to Korea. The funny thing is, I didn't even have a computer with me in Korea. So my Mandrake disks came in and I wanted to try it out. I went to a local internet cafe in the town I was stationed in. I sat down at one of their computers, one where they couldn't see the screen, and started to install Mandrake. I stayed there playing with Mandrake for about 8 hours straight. It was a lot easier to install and configure than Debian at that time. Since then I have used Slackware, Mandriva, Debian, Gentoo, Ubuntu, Mint, Sabayon, ArchLinux, and a host of others. I never even touched Windows XP until 2009. My mom needed help with a virus, I told her I had never used XP but I would figure out a way to clean the virus. All I did for her was to format the drive and install Ubuntu. She has been in love with Linux since then. I use Ubuntu at work because I don't have to do any up keep on it. At home I have a Debian server, an Arch Linux desktop and netbook, my wife has a laptop with Ubuntu, my daughters netbook uses Ubuntu, and my brother in-law that lives with us has now graduated from Ubuntu to Arch. We are a house full of Linux users and no one ever seems to complain about virus or spyware. I often wonder how people put up with this crap from MS, but at the end of the day, I know it is because they don't know there are better alternatives out there.

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  59. I started using Unix in 1978 at work and really liked it. But I couldn't begin to afford the hardware or software. In 1998, I read "Close to the Machine" about putting the fun back in computers. Linux was a Unix I could afford and it was fun. Same reason I started using Ruby in 2006, it was fun.

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  60. I tried to delete a file under XP & I couldn't because the file was busy or in use. I thought about the sysinternals process explorer, then just rebooted. Tried to delete the file again, still busy or in use. Disabled AV software, still busy or in use. Reboot with AV disabled, still busy or in use. Uninstall AV software & reboot, still busy or in use. Safe mode, still busy or in use. Uninstall Windows, install Linux, & the problem was solved.

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