My Linux Experience From Noob to Pro

The word is Linux. Some never heard of it, and probably think it is some hacking thing, probably hardcore MS users. Others heard about it, but didn't bother reading about it further, potential converts from MS. Finally, there are those that know what Linux is and have probably used it in one of its many environments (desktop, server, phones, routers, satellite receivers etc…). But, everyone was once a noob in anything, here is a bit of my experience on Linux, from my early days to present.

My first experience with Linux came more than 10 years ago when I bought my second computer. I was trying to find some use for my old computer (an Intel Celeron 333Mhz with, I believe, 10GB HDD and 256Mb RAM). Scouring online on a (theoretical) 56k dial-up connection, I came across this thing called Linux. People were talking about Linux as if it was the holy grail of operating systems, they were using technical jargon that I couldn't pronounce, let alone understand. I had to try this Linux thing! Then the next issue, there were many Linuxes! I finally settled for Slackware and started downloading. Many floppies later I was ready. I spent more time printing the WHOLE manual than getting Slack's floppies ready. To cut the story short, the shell came up asking for "login". Where was the amazing GUI like Windows? I went on a Linux hiatus from then until around 2005. The platters of the hard disk is now my mug coaster, Slackware is still on it by the way.

Come 2005, I decided to learn Linux since by now I already did my research and felt I was more ready than the last time… However, I took the extreme way of learning Linux. I decided to rent a dedicated server in the US and ticked "CentOS Linux" on the OS selection section. Note that this provider (LayeredTech) had a $50 fee per OS reinstallation, so I was very careful with each command I entered in the shell! I managed to setup Apache, MySQL, virtual hosts, email and lots of other applications. I then started experimenting with other distros: Ubuntu, Debian, Mandriva and the dreaded Slackware 😛 amongst others! I have now permanently decided to run Linux (Mint to be specific) on my laptop, so far so good ;-). I've also setup many Linux based servers along the years, built a couple of experimental "cloud" nodes and the latest a Content Delivery Network (CDN). I'm at the point where I don't see myself managing, ever, a Windows based server!

Sometime soon I should post a proper guide for those willing to take the first step into OS freedom!

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