My experiences with Linux

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     My experience with running a Linux as a Windows replacement started in 2002 when I finally got one with a GUI (graphical user interface) to load.  Red Hat 7.3 codenamed Valhalla.  As far as working out of the box, so to speak, without a great deal of tinkering Red hat was 2 years ahead of everyone else in the Linux distribution community.


     With Linux it's important to remember that Linux is the kernel, the base of the system.  A Linux distribution is made up hundreds or even thousands of individually written packages of programs. And if your talking about a graphical desktop in comparison to Microsoft Windows your talking about a GUI.  There are actually several available GUI's, Gnome and KDE are the 2 major full fledged ones. I've ran a Gnome desktop up until this year, when I switched to KDE when I switched Distributions.

     In 2003 Red hat dropped their open source past and renamed their product Red Hat Enterprise and dropped their free model. As I was only interested in a free product to keep me from spending money I didn't have at the time on and operating system, I had to look for a new distribution.

     In 2005 I found just what I was looking for in the New Ubuntu Linux Distribution. With Ubuntu I found a complete system that for the most part just worked upon installation, and had a good community of volunteers that for the most part always came through for me. Then comes 2010, by this time Ubuntu had switched to an audio system called pulseaudio that I just absolutely could not get to play nice with my 7.1 Surround sound audio.

    Late 2010 I switched my desktop to OpenSUSE 11.3 with it's KDE desktop and Alsa sound system, has been a stable Operating system for me.

    So this is my background with Linux as my operating system of choice.  I would say if I knew then what I knew now I would have paid for Microsoft! LOL  It's been a real ride trying to keep something that I use on a daily basis working with software that until fairly recently was almost never documented beyond a Man(ual) page or 2. I've read thousands of forums and done twice that many searches for answers to problems that would crop up from operator error or on occasion update damages.

     Now for the real positives!  During this time I've discovered the real benefit of linux it's the available software.  There is nothing I can't download for free that will do whatever bit I need doing from Drafting applications QCAD,  to full and complete office productivity software and the inbetweens like an photoshop replacement called GIMP (GIMP an acronym, "GNU Image Manipulation Program", GNU is an acronym for "GNU's Not Linux" a recursive acronym to stress that linux is just the kernel, and that they are different.).  You would be surprised at the amazing power that can be had with Linux.  I should state that most of these programs being open source are ported to windows so there is no benefit other then the easy to package management and update systems that linux distributions have put in place.

     I do wish to state that today I use 3 different Linux distributions on a daily basis.  And the other 2 which I hope to discuss at a future time have their places (Mythbuntu as a DVR - Digital Video Recorder for tv,  and Endian Firewall Community as my router.)  But in this article I wished to talk about my background in Linux as a user.