Tell us your Linux origin story!

There’s nothing like a good origin story, especially when it comes to the experience that led you to adopt Linux as your daily driver.

(If you want to hear a hilarious one listen to Episode 3 with Bearded Giant Games. Hint: “Windows UBUNTU!”)

Wanna share yours? DO IT! You may just hear it on the show :smiley:


TL;DR: First tried Ubuntu in 2006, dual booted for four years, first full time attempt in 2010, lasted 2 years, been full time Linux since 2014.

Full rambling story:
I was 14 when I started showing an interest in operating systems besides Windows. I didn’t have any Apple hardware so macOS was clearly out of the question, so I ended up trying Linux. My Dad had given me an Ubuntu 6.06 CD, and told me if I were to install it I was on my own as far as support goes. I remember at the time having some really weird USB wireless adapter that came with a router from the ISP. Getting that to work was an utter pain until I discovered ndiswrapper. Eventually I was able to get myself a D-link wireless adapter that thankfully worked out of the box.

During my HS years most of the tech communities I partook in were about tech in general and not Linux specific so my usage reflected that. I generally went between Windows and Ubuntu, and didn’t really do a whole lot of distro hopping or experimentation. I was able to give distros like Mint, PCLinuxOS, and OpenSUSE tries in a live environment, but other distros like Fedora were just flat out hostile to the ATI chipsets I had back then. For a proper Linux install I always stuck with Ubuntu or one of the flavors.

One of the Linux specific communities I did partake in, at least virtually, was an Ubuntu LoCo turned LUG that was in the state I was living in at the time. This LUG was in the other major city in the state so I never made any of the IRL meetings, but I was always in the IRC channel. About halfway through my senior year in HS one of these LUG members got the itch to create his own Youtube channel, This Week In Linux.

Watching Jordan’s (This was long before Michael picked up the TWIL name) channel and community grow is one of the things that prompted me to go full time Linux around the time I graduated HS in 2010. It was also around this time that I started becoming active within the Jupiter Broadcasting community. I started experimenting with other distributions but always ended up going with Ubuntu at the end of the day. Things were going great, and I even got into Minecraft during this time as it was Java based, which meant I could run it on Linux. However things weren’t entirely peachy. I wouldn’t find this out until later but I found that Linux wasn’t doing a great job governing the performance of my Phenom II chip that well, so around 2012 I found myself booting into Windows more often.

This is where things diverge a bit. 2012 is right around when I started getting out of lease business class laptops for cheap. These things had all Intel chipsets, and made amazing Linux laptops. So from 2012 onward my laptops were always all Linux. In late 2013 I had built a new Haswell system to replace the Phenom I had, and I found myself booting into Linux more and more. It was in 2014 when someone in Mumble had challenged me to just simply stop booting into Windows, and within two years I had completely removed Windows from my desktop. So that is how I ended up back on Linux full time and have been ever since.


I was working as a network tech in 1997 and we had two guys that were FreeBSD and Solaris admins. I tried FreeBSD for a bit and it was OK but one of the other techs suggested Linux. Around that time, you could purchase Linux from CompUSA so that is what I did. I think the first purchased version for me was OpenLinux by Caldera (I still have the box) but I recall buying Suse also. One of those disc sets came with StarOffice - the precursor to openoffice. It was awesome because it also included a mail client. I ended up writing scripts, setting up a mailman mailing list, creating a spamfilter web interface, and creating a network monitoring distro for the company I worked for over time.

In 2001 (or so) I used Gentoo RC but was a big distro hopper. I also remember doing LFS once (ONLY ONCE!!!). Never again…

To this day, I still think TurboLinux before it went commercial was a better distro than Redhat during that period. You could compile anything and it found the dependent libraries without having to put the paths in. Currently, I use Arch Linux (of course) and stick with Plasma for the DE.


So I cant remember the exact year now, but it was 1994, 1995ish. I was a teenager, learning as I went and trying to become something better then a simple script kiddie. (I had different priorities back then). It was Slackware, I wanna say version 3…it ca me with one of those giant tech books as the “Free OS and 1000s of software programs on a CD” in the back of the book. The machine I installed it on, I do remember was an IBM PS/2 386/SX 25 with a 120mb hard drive, a 512mb hard drive I added to it at that time, and I also used about 10 100mb zip disks as overflow. I ran a fileserv/BBS at that time as well, show I had to switch those things out a lot really!

Sadly I was never able to make the cut from Windows…back then I was a gamer, and as I grew IT became my chosen profession which necessitated keeping Windows. I honestly took a break for about 15 years from Linux just because, I worked with Windows and my offtime was spent NOT tinkering with computers. It was only earlier this year, as I found myself with an extra laptop that I didn’t need that I decided to get back into all of this, and damn have I enjoyed myself with it guys! :wink: Thanks for keeping this light burning from the days of Slackware (which I know is still around …still) and Mandrake, …which was the last distro I ever used until I used Ubuntu 18.04…I’m back home again I think.


I first encountered PC’s back in the late 80’s having just missed out on them being used as educational tools in the school system. Until the early 2000’s my main interest in computing was work, studying and a little bit of tinkering with Publisher and photo editing software for personal use.

In the early 2000’s I started to tinker a little with hardware, but only small stuff like adding memory to the mother board or installing a CDWR in the tower. Gradually I got a little more adventurous and in 2006 I started to get into computer refurbishment as a hobby. I rescued a few Pentium towers, some as old as P2’s and 3’s, but mainly P4’s and I was fixing any issues I could and then giving them away via Freecycle (where eventually all my old towers came from to fix up). This led to my using Xubuntu, both to make the PC’s usable with limited resources and as a way of them having a legal operating system as many of the boxes did not have any CoA on them to reinstall Windows, even if that would have been a good idea.

As a result I started to dual boot Ubuntu 7.04 on my P4 tower. After a major PC melt down in May 2009, when I realized I hadn’t use the Windows partition at all for several months, I chose to do a clean install of Ubuntu 9.04 and I have personalty been solely a Linux user ever since although I still support my wife’s dual-boot system and the occasional friend I’ve not yet brought over from the dark side.

I started the transition to Mint as at that time it included all the codex needed to get DVD’s working and play music without the hassle of having to install the Medibuntu repository and get everything up and running.

It was the Unity Desktop that Ubuntu moved over to that finally pushed me to use Mint full time around 2011, and I’ve been using it as my main driver ever since, and I’m currently running Mint 19.2 Mate on all my personal PC’s and Laptops that aren’t currently being used for distro testing.

I do enjoy experimenting with other Linux Distro’s occasionally, and until recently would usually install into a Virtual machine using VirtualBox, but since starting the Distrohoppers podcast with my friend and fellow mintCast host Moss I have a couple of dedicated review laptops that I use for the purposes of reviewing a distribution on real hardware.

I’ve been involved in the Linux community since I joined my local LUG in 2010 and got heavily involved in being a Linux and open source advocate. I was an early user of the Raspberry Pi, getting one of the second batch that were sold, and I still have it. My main reason for being a Raspberry Pi fan is that it introduces people to Linux without them realizing that is what the OS is at first. Not being much of a coder or into the Maker side of the Raspberry Pi, it’s the underlying Debian heritage of the Raspberry Pi OS that I help out with at our Local Jam.


Around 2003. I was very interested in learning the ins and outs of the Microsoft Xbox and discovered a distro called GentooX. Didn’t really do much with it at the time as even back then there wasn’t a whole lot you could do on the desktop front with a 700Mhz Celeron and 64MB RAM.

The next year Unreal Tournament 2004 came out with a Linux installer on the disc. That motivated me to try out a few other distros like Suse and Mandrake and later that year Ubuntu had its first release which I stuck with for several years. I also setup GentooX on the Xbox again to act as a dedicated FTP server for all my high school assignments.

I’ve used Linux off and on over the years usually in a dual boot config. I’d spend 3-6 months with Windows, get irritated by something and switch to Linux and vice versa but when Valve released Proton last year I haven’t touched Windows since.


I first get in touch with Linux back in 1998 meeting an old school friend that convinced to give Linux a try… as he was a Debian contributor at that time I first tried Debian, but wasn’t really able to get it running well without help. so I tried to install SUSE and Redhat and kept running Redhat for a few years parallel to windows. Changing my job I had to work with Mac’s and got to become a Apple fanboy running Mac-Os for more than 10 years and didn’t run Linux.

But early 2017, I got mad with Apple business strategy trying (or even forcing) users to by new hardware! As I was retired and could be free on choosing I decided to become “Apple free” and both two occasion Thinkpads (I liked very much from an earlier job) and switched to an Android phone.
This was the beginning of my move “back to the future” and I started to learn Linux again!

In the mid time I recovered what I had learned about Linux twenty years ago and I’m more than happy to have made this decision. Finally I sold my Apple units (iMac and Mac-book) and all my machine runs Linux.
Next step will be to get my phone to run a Linux based OS… for this I will follow Noah’s experience with his Sony Xperia phone and start some projects with a Raspberry Pi 4.


First exposure to Linux around the year 2000. Found a Linux for dummies book with a Redhat CD. Very challenging! Lots of new concepts, but I enjoyed learning! Then a friend of mine gave me some Suse and Mandriva CDs. Those worked a little better (i.e. easier to get to GUI, easier to set up modem, etc). Then I found out about Ubuntu, and was hooked! I love dual booting, so Windows sticks around. Doesn’t impact my computing, other than taking up space on my HDD.


Mid to late 1990s I was part of a small team developing the 1st interactive web based applications to allow our customers to order a new product and to interact with their account in limited way but that would save having to open up additional call centres to cope with the extra work.

We had a problem that under load the application would freeze, which turned out to be a problem with the Apache web servers being used (Apache 2.something had a problem at that time with no freeing tcp/ip sockets, Apache 3 worked fine). The thing was all computer centres involved were using Apache 2 because it came with Oracle and management had decided because it came with Oracle it was the DBAs that had to maintain Apache.

To prove the problem was Apache we needed to run trials (on the test servers) but the sys admins were not keen (understandably) in our thrashing and breaking the test servers. To get around this I gathered 3 obsolete desktop machines and installed SuSE on them under my desk (we had a SuSE site licence) with a KVM (Keyboard, Video, Mouse) switch using my desktop.

We also had an Oracle licence that allowed developers to download and use Oracle for development, so I grabbed the same version of Oracle as the corporate servers used and set up my own test network, (I assumed the Solaris and SuSE/Linux code base would be very, very close if not the same.

Using this under the desk network we wrote some simple multi-thread Java test program to throw as many requests as possible (8 threads worked on our desktop machines, more would tend to thrash them too much). At lunchtimes and when there weren’t too many people in the office to annoy by the LAN traffic 4 or 5 of us would run the tests and yep, Apache 2.whatever locked up, Apache 3 sailed on not breaking a sweat.

We still couldn’t get them to install Apache 3 on the live and test servers, they wanted a support contract and they already had DBAs doing the support, as Oracle supplied Apache 2 they’d call Oracle.

From that time I started to install Linux on my personal computers too, usually in a dual boot setup. I ended up using SimplyMepis as my choice distro for home until a thing called “Warty Warhog” appeared, the rest is history.


Due to age, I started out a DOS guy. Broke away from computers for some time after that. Came back in the Windows 95 days…around 1997-98ish. This was in Korea, where they have geek heaven in Seoul, the Electronics Market. If your from the south, imaging Frys but the size of a small suburb.

Either way, came back to the US and somehow discovered Slackware… don’t know how really. On the internet somewhere. This was around 1999. From there I was a regular purchaser of the Suse box sets you could buy at Barnes and Noble. Bought Redhat occasionally also.

My level of geek faded back in forth since I was a soldier from around 94 to 2004. Spent a lot of time away from computers completely.

After I left service I jumped back in to being a linux user pretty much full time again. But nothing hard core. Was working, starting a family, etc… all fairly time consuming things.

Started getting hardcore back on the Linux hype train maybe 8 years ago. Been my full time daily since then.

Currently I’m on my final move… I work for an MSP now… full Windows. I’m transitioning to a dev career and hope to be full bore Linux at home and work here in the future soon.



I was in University, in 1997, taking Computer Science. It was then that I bought my first computer ever: a Pentium 75MHz, which came with the abysmal turd of an OS called Windows 95. I played with it until the OS catastrophically broke on me. I kept having to re-install from normal, but heavy power-user sort of usage, even though I did nothing to it I would call a hack. It was just a poorly-architected turd, you see.

When you’re a computer geek, it’s so very deeply disappointing that the very expensive $3000+ computer you bought, that you researched so carefully, ends up having nothing but garbage software on it that you can’t trust. Microsoft has never, ever earned my trust back. Nowhere close. It was like they shot my dog, man.

Then my cousin, also in Computer Science (double major in Electrical Engineering, one year older than me), introduced me to Redhat 4.2. We were roommates as well. I was impressed with how Linux was truly multiuser. The organization of the file system was much cleaner. The logic of the UNIX philosophy on the command line deeply appealed to my inner Spock, which blew away the toy that DOS was in comparison. I knew deep down this was the future of computing, even though it might take a long time to mature.

Redhat wouldn’t stick with me for all that long, however. After dependency hell with RPMs, I moved on to Debian, and I’ve been loyal to Debian (at least as my favorite server OS) ever since then.

I did complete my B.Sc. in Comp. Sci., and went on to become a Linux/UNIX SysAdmin for 5 years. Linux ended up being the technology which appealed to me most during my entire time in university even though none of my classes back then strictly required it’s use!!


My memory is hazy, I’m sure, but it all started roughly 20 years ago around 1999/2000. I had gotten out of painting cars and was trying to get into Computers, having taken some Win2k certification courses (and spent way too much money on them). I don’t exactly recall how, but I managed to scrounge up some old computers/parts and was tinkering with them. I lived with my dad at the time and he had his Win 98 (or ME, not sure the timing of that “upgrade”) computer, but I didn’t have a copy of Windows to load on this cobbled-together machine.

One way or another, I found Mandrake and was excited at this free OS and learning that it could do all I needed it to. Once I had this computer setup complete: PC, Monitor, keyboard, mouse, I posted an add in the local newspaper classifieds because I wanted to donate it to a needy family. I got exactly 1 response to that add. I took the computer to this family’s home, set it up on the makeshift desk for them and left them to it. Their son was special needs, but I didn’t inquire further, they just wanted a computer for him to learn on and couldn’t buy one. They were very much appreciative and I hope they got good mileage out of it. I never mentioned Linux or Mandrake, it didn’t even occur to me at the time.

Over the past 20 or so years, I have installed various distros in VMs and on hardware and tried to move full time to Linux several times only always falling back to Windows because of game support. I found Ubuntu around v6 and showed my kids the compiz cube effects and wobbly windows and writing on the screen in fire (they were so impressed!). I’ve always enjoyed the variety that Linux offers, though have also been a bit indecisive because of all the choice. I still always found myself in a quarterly cycle of “checking out the state of Linux” to see where things were. I’ve always been drawn to Fedora (faster packages than Ubuntu) and more recently Manjaro (rolling ftw!).

Fast forward to today. I recently had the opportunity to build a desktop PC again and went 100% Linux (Pop!_OS 19.04 over Manjaro for now due to work app support). This is my work and play PC. Having that settled in allowed me to take the time necessary to tinker with the Surface Book 2 to find a good stable distro that would allow me to take advantage of the NVidia GPU for games when I travel. After much work, Ubuntu 18.04 LTS was the only one that would function properly.


My first computer when I was a kid was a DOS and Windows 3.1 computer, probably a Tandy 386 or 486-dx. I loved that thing. I got my start into computers on that one and never looked back.

Years later when I finally got my own computer, I bought a OpenSUSE box from Best Buy. It was really cool, but after being a Windows user for so long, I didn’t quite understand everything. The instructions I could find weren’t helpful that much either, so I eventually went back to Windows.

Over time I missed Linux because I read more on it and how to use it, so I eventually installed it on a new machine. Recently I’ve made the commitment to only use Linux/BSD on all my machines and not look back. It’s been great and I love the community and I am just for everything free software stands for!


Started looking at distros around the 2011 - 2012 time period. On 6/12/2015 I got an INTEL NUC (no O.S.) and used gparted for 9 partitions on a 250GB SSD. Linux Mint Mate was used for the boot partition and I played with many distros. Today it’s got Mint 19.2 Mate as boot, with Solus Budgie, Solus Mate, MX18.3, and EndeavourOS. Goodbye Windows.


My story begins in 1998 when I met my first roommate in my apartment in Quincy, Massachusetts. He introduced me to Slackware, where we each installed on our computers the old fashion way downloading on to floppy disks from a the website which gave us the base packages needed. We slowly got setup with the configuration and eventually got XF86 installed and began creating the config file boy that was fun! Everything was done by hand, creating configuration files, compiling apps the whole 9 yards!

Then I went to Redhat, followed by Fedora Core 1, later followed by Suse, then OpenSuse, Mandrake, Mandriva, Gentoo, Ubuntu, Manjaro and now Arch. I have more to tell but I will edit this post when I can…


Roughly 1995 I installed Slackware. Few years later moved to RedHat, then Fedora. RPMs existed, but no repos for easy installation of software. This was when I was a student and doing research. I then moved into teaching and stopped using Linux for some years somewhat discouraged by many changes in DEs: GNOME was moving to a very different version 3, there was Unity, I think KDE might have been unstable then too, can’t remember!

Approx 2013 I tried Mint and Ubuntu but quickly moved to Debian Stable as I found it to be lighter-weight and I preferred configuring it directly according to my needs. This has since been my main OS to-date.

Recently I have been experimenting with Fedora again for non-production use specifically to try newer versions of software. (I do like how Debian Stable also has support for Flatpak and Snaps for newer software if really needed.) I’ve also experimented with Debian unstable.

I am currently looking forward to building Linux From Scratch, then perhaps trying Gentoo and Arch :slight_smile:


I have M$ to thank for my introduction to Linux.

Years ago ( late 90’s ), I made the switch off of Windows because I got tired of all of the support issues and having to pay too much for applications. I longed for a better way and then fell in love with FreeBSD. Eventually, I moved to Linux as I found more of what I was looking for. Now, I was an Apple fanboy for a while, but that ship has sailed.

Today, I prefer open source and Linux.


I had used Windows since 3.11, and now I was a disappointed Vista user and the upcoming Windows 7 was all over the media in 2008.
And I said -no way.

I distro jump between a lot of Linux ditros, and felt that I was changing background image rater than had a new experience of a new distro. So I finally chose Ubuntu Studio 8.04, and I write this on Ubuntu Studio 19.04


I started using Linux ~2013 during school. At home I was still a Windows user because of gaming. I did however manage a few servers on the side for fun, these all ran Debian. Fast forward a year to the tragic day that my desktop computer gave it’s last boot and I became an official Linux user. Since then I haven’t looked back. I did buy a new desktop computer a few years back for gaming which I also put Windows on. But for whatever reason I rarely boot it, and it never became my daily driver.

These days my baby is a T480 running Void with i3. I still keep a few servers which I enjoy managing, mostly used as alternatives for cloud services.


In more than 30 years I used and owned a lot of computers. It started in school in the mid 80s with Commodore 64, TI 99 and Atari ST, which also was the first computer I owned. I loved that machine, soldered more RAM and an better CPU in it, put it in a bigger case with a harddrive in it (40 MB which I never were able to fill ;o).
Later at the university there was my first contact with Macs and I was glad about the similarity in how to operate this machine.
After I began to work for money I bought Macs for a long time (the first 1995, the last one was a MacMini 2015) In between there was my first Linux experience, which went really bad on a cheap PC, which I bought without an operating system.
2015 I began to use a Hackintosh (MacOS on a custom built PC).
2017 I had an episode using Windows 7 on the first Ryzen generation. In late 2017 I tried Arch the first time with a really good tutorial. A few installs later ;o) I gave Win 10 a try but after 2 days I was really pissed of that (&)(%&%= and switch to Manjaro in late 2018 and plan to stick with it.