May 14, 2013

My Tux Story


Long ago I wrote about How I bid XP goodbye and I also mentioned a little bit about my love for Linux. Here I elaborate my decade long journey with Linux OS and my current views on it. 

*Initial Days* 
I heard about the word Linux probably towards the dawn of 21st century when I was in mid school. And like many others it was simply an alien word for me. I knew that it was an Operating System that only geeks used(!). Computers at home were a rarity at that time, so using Windows OS itself was a new and exciting XPerience for me. I had not idea I would become a regular Linux user someday. 

*When it all started* 
By the time I passed school, I had a fair idea that Linux is in fact not just used by scientists, but also by some regular users. But I still hadn’t tried it yet. I now had a computer at home (with a Windows XP copy which I had no idea was pirated!). While the Linux OS kept me intrigued, I didn’t knew how to get hold of it. Then one day I got a Live CD of (a pretty redundant distro) dyne:bolic. After much resistance, I finally gave it a try. And it really was a surreal experience! After a coo! picture of Tux and some geeky Matrix style texts flowing on the monitor, I got to use a GUI which was quite different from Windows. But it wasn't as scary as I had heard in myths about Linux. 

*Growing Up* 
Dyne:Bolic made me realize that you can access the whole system using an OS on a compact disk! Sometime later I would try Ubuntu (6.10, I think). And it was even coo!er than dyne:bolic. But it didn’t play MP3s and it was disappointing (codecs issue, but I didn’t know why at that time). But I continued to fiddle with a lot of new live CDs (even ended up creating and wasting a bunch of CDs in the process), also learnt to use virtualization mechanisms to try out Linux OS. I even ended up installing a few of distros on the hard disk (funny I was kind of pro in installing Linux, but had never installed a Windows OS by myself at that time!). But the experiment was mostly cosmetic, and would remain confined to exploring the GUI environments (GNOME, KDE, LXDE, XFCE, xterm, you name it!) and a few installed applications. 

Current OS: Linux Mint: Maya Cinnamon


*Teething problems* 
But almost none of Distros I tried came with codecs pre-installed, meaning I won’t be able to play audio-video. Codecs required an internet connection and I was still at least 2 years away from getting one. I still believe that the Linux experience is half without an internet connection. So, I remained a loyal Windows user. I had Linux as an undergraduate subject and it helped me learn more about the OS, giving me a new perspective about Linux itself. Ubuntu was innovating fast, and they made the Wubi software which allows one to install Linux ‘inside’ Windows. This again allowed me to try out more of Linux (albeit with a few quirks), but I was still not comfortable using it as a primary OS. 

*And then 2010 happened* 
I got the Internet connection and while I continued using Ubuntu inside Windows, the experience wasn’t complete (I wanted to try Compiz and its coo! visual effects!). At some point I would turn to Linux Mint and was instantly hooked to their “Isadora” version (even did a review for it!). So, I decided to give Linux (Mint) a full blown try. But with my fetish for the latest versions, I decided to patiently wait till the end of the year (November) to get the newer version, installed it the same night it released. Hacked to find out how to run Internet over it (my ISP required me to use a software to log in before using Internet, which wasn’t available for Linux). And, BTW, we also made (compiled actually) a small Linux OS of our own during this period! 

*The journey* 
Today it's been close to three years of me becoming a full blown Linux Convert. Like all great journeys, it was also full of adventures. There used to be a time when I would swear by Windows. Then, I started hating Windows (and all Microsoft products in general). So much that I would even hate a Windows lover/user. For me, Linux was supreme, once and for all. But, now after 'actually' being a Linux user for sometime, I know Linux has its faults too, and while I still continue to preach about Linux, I do not have problems using Windows (more so when I have started using a legal copy now!). But, the dream to use a Macintosh still remains to be fulfilled! 

*At Last*
I can proudly say I have helped at least half a dozen people to try Linux and most of them are still using it happily. If you are (still!) reading this and have never given Linux a try, I would urge you to do so. If you try it out with an open mind, I am sure you will Love this beautiful OS. 

And I hope I don’t need to elaborate why you should give it a try. (Oh I just did!).