From Windows to Linux...

A while ago (November 2002) I ran into Knoppix and revived my long lost love for Linux. I've been trying out Linux since 1996 but allways had this feeling, "It's installed.... now what?" So Linux took a backseat to windows which was easily installed and had so much applications.

But no longer, the coming of XP and several windows quirks got really up my nerves so when Knoppix came along and I had some free time I started to play around with it. Turned out it worked pretty good. So I decided to test it out, carefull as I am. I didn't want to loose any data.

This what I wanted;
  • No data loss (mails ect)
  • I want to use my Xnews!
  • I want an alternative to Picture Publisher and Adobe Photoshop
  • I want to keep using my scanner
  • I want my ICQ
I had an old notebook lying around (Toshiba Satelite 4270) a celeron thingy. But It had NO problem with Knoppix. When loaded it found my home network, accesed my windows shares and even played movies with no problems.... well... this astounded me. How could a mere celeron 500mhz outperform my P3 800mhz??? It had less memory and yet it worked better. This made me think... Why not switch all together, but first I decided to test it all out and to learn, which I did for almost a year, trying different distros, learning about Linux and appreciating it a whole lot more than Windows. I tried Debian, Knoppix, Suse, Mandriva, DSL Vector, Fedora, Ubuntu and more. And I took a liking to Mandrake.

I started to use Mandrake 10 beta in Februari 2004 at work, throwing windows out. My coworkers came to the conclusion that I had now finally cracked under the work pressure. At work I made the switch. Now it was time to make the switch at home. And I finally did it. Mandrake 10.0 offical was what I needed, all my mails were easily converted to Kmail. My Xnews started to work perfectly under Wine, Gaim works my ICQ account and the Gimp is the alternative to my Picture Publisher and adobe photoshop, only thing that I couldn't get to work was my scanner (Umax Astra 2000U) which was the only problem I had left. This was May 2004. No big problem, I've wanted a filmscanner for years so this was my excuse to get one.

So the time had come for me to say Goodbye Microsoft, I've had it with the blue screens, licences, virusses, hangups, spyware and all the other stuff. And the best thing is I'm working with legal software, I admit that I have had cracked software every now and again, but no more. I don't want to bother with it anymore. Why use a hacked Office version if you can use Open Office for free? Besides that my MS office quit on me so many times that I uninstalled the thing (my fault for using the hacked version). XP is expensive and I don't want the hacked version. Offcourse Linux has it quirks too but Linux lets me think and makes me think. It improves my understanding of programming and lets me do things myself. For fun lets look what Linux made me do...

  • got me involved in networksystems
  • got me to make my OWN distro "TDSL, Toms Damn Small Linux" based on DSL/Knoppix
  • got me to use it at work for testing
  • I introduced it on workshops that I give on Notebook repair
  • replaced my work OS
  • replaced my home OS
  • got me learning again
It took a lot thinking for my home OS and I chose Mandrake, it had proven itself at work and at my home test laptop. So I made the switch. Allthough I was using Linux (Knoppix/Debian) since Januari 2003 on my test laptop all my other systems were still running windows. But at the 21st of may 2004 I finally did it, my main Workstation started with Mandrake 10.0 Community. And got upgraded to Mandrake 10.0 Official only a week later. Even though the install went good there were some problems, it had severe problems with my Radeon 9200SE videocard and it simply lost my DVD and cdburner. This would really sent me up the creek without the famous paddle if I hadn't allready had a years worth of Linux experience.

My system, Pentium 4 2.8ghz with Hypertreading, 1024 mb's of ram, 80 gig and 40 gig drive, ASUS P4P800 mainboard, DVD and cdburner, was (and still is) running great, desktop KDE 3.2, 1280x1024. So after installing I decided on a testperiod, one week, in that week offcourse the Official version of Mandrake 10 was release, so I had the chance to test the upgrade function. Which works, allthough it made a mess of my fstab... again. But reasonably easy to fix and I was on Mandrake 10.0 official. Life is good...

So now I'm outfasing windows alltogether, I only have one system left and that is mainly to gain more experience with Samba.

Allthough I would never have believed it, all the other Linux users were one hundred percent right. Let Linux set you and your computer free.


Update September 2004

Well.... after running Linux since 2002 and breaking with Windows in May 2004, I'm getting more and more involved in Open Source. At work they've started to call me a Linux advocate... and only a few people there know that I allready replaced one server with a Linux box :-) That will teach them not to take me serious. Then again... they haven't noticed it because it is running so stable :-) Well, I've talked the talk, walked the walk and now I must wear the stuff :-) Linux Tshirts :-) and for my next meeting or workshop, Linux Tie, must do it in style.

Update November 2005
I'm now running Mandriva 2006 which works very very well, I've replaced my aging 9200 ATI with a Geforce 5900XT and all is well. Mandriva sees my USB hdd´s, my USB mp3 player and simply works great. On my notebook I'm running Knoppix 4.02 (cd version), another notebook is running Suse 10.0, also I'm working on my own new distro (now called TTL, Tom Tigers Linux), I allready built one about a year back but I need to switch to the 2.6 kernel.

But now for the most important question.....

"Tom? WAS IT ALL WORTH IT?"

Yes.

It has. And if you are willing to learn.... make the Switch...

Tom,

"If you wanted a Tiger in your PC,
then you should have bought a Penguin"

Copyright © Tom A.H. Piel

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