How i met my Linux

GNU/Linux: First contact

My first contact with Linux was in 1995. In that year, you could only "choose" Debian, Red Hat or Slackware; this last one was the one i found.

I was in my freaky friend's home. He was a genius and he was trying to make me see something that he called "the other world". But i just saw white letters over a black screen. And my friend Marcos typing commands that i didn't understand didn't seem very atractive to me.

He was very excited, but I was an adolescent who used Windows 95 and loved videogames like Doom, and that black screen with lots of strange words didn't seem very cool.

/images/javier-marcos-1994.jpg My friend Marcos and me, testing Linux in the 90's

In those times, the Internet was very slow and was very common to find CD-ROMs with "Linux Distros" in those magazines. As i said, the Internet was a "turtle" and CD-ROMs were a common and easy way to discover new software.

Moreover, a Linux instalation could be a risky adventure. Hardware had no drivers, necessary knowledge was high. There weren't graphics interfaces or dual booting, there weren't people able to help you.

If you decided to take that path, there were only you and your keyboard, and many days ahead trying to boot your disk. Definitely, that was not the time for me and Linux.

First attemp: Mandrake Linux

Many years later, I was walking down the street and saw a magazine in a store. There was a Linux distro inside, it was called "Mandrake Linux" and i decided to give it a try. I really had to know about that mysterious system.

When i got home, I installed it on my PC. Mandrake boasted about its simplicity to install, easy dual-booting, great hardware detection, latest kernel and lots of additional software. KDE 3 looked great, and was very customizable.

Instalation process was not bad. But… my "user experience" was not good. Mounting partitions to access your data, unmount a CDROM to be able to eject the disc, poor compatibility with Ms Office and difficulty to play music (mp3) and video were nails in the mandrake coffin.

I didn't have great experience with Mandrake, but was a worldwide success, and you can read a little of its beginnings here.

/images/mandrake.png the first "easy" distribution that i could touch.

Second attemp: Ubuntu

In times where instalations weren't child's play, one day Ubuntu arrived. Its slogan was "Linux for human beings", and it boast of an installation in few cliks. If you didn't have internet connexion, Cannonical, the enterprise who depeloped Ubuntu, sent you a copy in CDROM, it did not matter where in the world you were. All the Mandrake's problems were history thanks to Ubuntu, and Gnome 2, its desktop, worked stunningly. It was quickly installed in thousands of PCs over the world. And in mine too. It was love at first sight, and ubuntu would be with me for a long time.

/images/ubuntu-desktop.jpeg Ubuntu facilitated the begining of many to Gnu/Linux.

Gnome 3? No, thank you… Plasma!

In 2011, more or less, Ubuntu made a new desktop environment called Unity. My first impression was not good. Unity looked ugly and slow. Later, in next versions, the performance was improving and the visual design was very useful. In that year, Gnome launched Gnome 3 (Gnome Shell) with a total new and controversial design, but with a lots of bugs also. Unity seemed a better option and I continued with Unity until the end of its days. When Gnome Shell won the war againts Unity, Ubuntu's users ran away to other desktops. I was testing some distros with Plasma Shell for a while, and the dead of Unity was the final push ahead. My favourite was Chakra Linux, but when the KDE community launch KDE Neon, it was my first option. And I was very happy with that.

/images/plasma.jpeg My actual KDE Plasma desktop

The present days

I love my Kde Plasma desktop. It's highly customizable, fast, very functional and looks great in KDE Neon.

I could have choosen any other distro, but i prefer a stable base system and the latest application.