[SATLUG] A Small World Linux Success Story

John D Choate jdchoate at gmail.com
Mon Sep 22 23:03:13 CDT 2008

> That said, Windoze is finally history in my house, and I'm a lot happier
> for it.  Any similar stories?
> Cheers;
> Ed

December 31, 2002:
For the first (and only) time in my life I made a New Years resolution and stuck to it. I decided to install Linux and work toward replacing Windows (XP at the time, which I hated). I had used every release of Windows since version 3.0/DOS 4.x, with the exception of NT 3.x/4. My favorite had been Win2k Pro.

For several years I had been wanting a different user interface and had previously experimented with an AfterStep clone for Windows called LiteStep, IBM's OS/2, BeOS, and even Red Hat 6 and Suse 6.4. None of those systems or user interfaces did what I wanted or needed at the time and I couldn't give up Windows for Linux.

But that fateful New Years Eve was what did it for me. I installed Mandrake 9 and was determined to make it work. I found it easy to get online and web browse and do email. I was using dual-channel ISDN, 128k on an external modem connected via ethernet. No special configuration was needed to get online, just a working ethernet adapter.

Next came 3D graphics and games. Within a few days I had nvidia-glx working and quickly got Quake2 and Quake3 working. I knew then I would never use Windows again. Since then I only installed Windows for a short period of time to dual-boot so I could play Guild Wars because running it with Cedega was awful... got sick of that game and deleted Windows again.

Since then, I have used every release of Mandrake/Mandriva. I used to be challenged with the dependencies, but I viewed those challenges as part of the learning curve. Thankfully, urpmi has improved greatly through the years and so has updating the package repositories and installing dependencies. I used to dread updating urpmi because the large databases took a long time to download and update. Now the repositories are quick and easy to update, only downloading the package names and leaving the extra data behind until you query the packages individually.

I am using Mandriva 2008.1 Powerpack on all of my machines. My main desktop is running the 64 bit version and everything works beautifully.
My HP dv9000 series laptop is running the 32 bit version because I had trouble getting the Broadcom wireless chip working in the 64 bit version. My old desktop machine, Athlon XP-2600, is also running the 32 bit version. And my employer gave me (as a bonus perk) an older HP Proliant ML370-G4 Xeon 3.6GHz server which was sitting around unused... I installed the 32 bit version as an experiment... works great, but I have no use for the server.
Lastly, the EeePC 4G has 2008.1 Powerpack installed on an external WD Passport 250G USB drive. It works great, but I wish I had waited for a newer model EeePC with more RAM and a faster CPU.

I have worked for the past year as a contractor for a small network and pc services company. I am the only Linux user among the people I work with and have relied on OpenOffice for all business related work. I have used Linux to recover data from NTFS hard drives which would no longer boot Windows. Also one drive, which refused to mount with Windows, was fixed by forcing a mount in Linux. The data was then copied, and the drive was unmounted properly... allowing Windows to properly mount it again and boot.

I have made it nearly 6 years using Linux and I will never return to an MS system.

John C.

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