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I have been using GNU/Linux for over 4 years of daily use. I’ve been toying with it for about 6 years. I have tried MANY Live CD Distros and installed quite a few different distros. Most of them though, have been Debian based. My first real usage with GNU/Linux was Ubuntu. It’s the first distro I ever truly installed on my machines. I fell in love right away, though with a few frustrations.
I didn’t understand much of how this new and different operating system ran. I had used Windows ever since I could walk and used Macs here and there but I had never used anything like this… this thing before. After I followed the online instructions on how to put the iso onto a CD and boot into, I was confused, amazed and bewildered by Ubuntu. Ubuntu wasn’t beautiful at the time but it ran smoothly, used every part of my system without having to go find drivers (like I did in Windows) and in general felt nice. I was truly amazed that everything was free, as in beer. I used to just pirate everything on Windows, mostly because of the high price. I also enjoyed that everything was in one place for me to download, the Synaptic Package Manager, instead of scouring the internet and maybe catching something bad.
It took some time understanding how the GNOME menus worked and what different jargon meant. The terminal scared me the most. I knew Windows and Macs had something similar but I always thought that only super nerds used them. As time went on though I began to get really comfortable with the system that I wanted to start really using it. Using the terminal, changing how my system looked and ran. I began to not even using my Windows side and exclusively running Ubuntu. After running Ubuntu for a year, and rarely playing any of my PC games, I just wiped my entire computer and put Ubuntu on there. I was running free with GNU/Linux. It wasn’t until my third year of using Ubuntu that I learned what being truly free meant: free as in free speech. Yeah, the zero cost amazingly awesome but learning that no company had a foot-hold on the software I ran and I could whatever, however, whenever I wanted, now that was awesome. I joined the Free Software Foundation late 2009 as promoter and have been trying use Free and Open Source Software every and any where I can. I learned about Trisquel, an Ubuntu derivative that dedicates itself to being completely free. No firmware blobs, no non-free programs included in the software repositories, nothing that wasn’t free as in free speech.
I began using different distros, just experimenting. I used Fedora for a good 6 months, moved to Arch Linux for about 3 months and then to Debian for 2 months and made a full swing back to Ubuntu.
Fedora is a great system, based on the RPM system. It has no non-free software in its software repos but does hold firmware blobs to make sure it can run most hardware. Arch Linux, now that’s a fun ride. You start off with only the terminal. You must use terminal commands to install and get rolling. You have to manually do everything, this OS will literally not do a thing you don’t tell it to. Debian is the base of Ubuntu, so I figured, why not go to the root of my first love.
I love GNU/Linux with a passion. I use it solely to do everything, except for gaming. I use to write documents, surf, email, IM, run my website(s), edit photos, manage everything. The only thing left on Windows is testing for others and gaming. I cannot even begin to imagine what I would do without GNU/Linux.