Today Debian 6: Squeeze was officially released, so I thought that as I approach my five year anniversary as a Linux user, I’d a quick look back at that time (2006, my year of the Linux desktop) and how the system works for me.
I’d always been good with computers, but up to 2006 I’d almost exclusively used the Microsoft Corporation’s Windows OS. I learned a decent amount about computing using that.
But I’d experimented with installing Linux a few times, and knew its reputation, too. The Linux brand represents choice. Multiple desktop choices, multiple browser choices, even filesystem choice. I figured it would help me learn a lot more about computing, so I decided to make the switch.
At that point, Ubuntu had been around for a couple of years, so it may seem odd I didn’t go down that road, but in my research about my choices of distribution, I found out about Debian’s Social Contract. After reading that, I knew I wanted to use the software that it applied to.
And I wasn’t disappointed.
Getting Started with Linux
So back in 1997 or so, I’d heard a little about Linux and bought a Redhat book (bundled with a copy of Redhat) at the local computer store. I failed to get it to install, due to inexperience and a variety of hardware issues. I let it go, but a few years later tried to install SuSE. This time I got it running, and I even got Quake running (though, sadly, the OSS defeated me so I played earless).
As Knoppix came around, I tried that occasionally, and tried the Ubuntu live CDs at times, as well, but back in the spring of 2006 I decided to finally go Linux with Debian.
rm -rf /
I installed Debian Sarge on a second partition, keeping my copy of Windows XP installed at the time. And then, gods know why, one of the first things I did on my brand new install was to accidentally type the Linux equivalent of seppuku,
rm -rf /.
I was trying to erase something in a normal directory, of course. This was literally less than five minutes after booting into the new install. But I think that’s about the best thing that could have happened to me. I knew I could just reinstall, and only lost the time.
More importantly, I knew that I should NEVER type that again, and that if I did it to a mature system it wouldn’t be so easy or fun.
Debian GNU/Linux: The Universal OS
Debian has been an awesome operating system, and it continues to be. It’s as light or heavy as you want. It’s a lot more stable than the systems I’d used before it. It’s more customizable, and it feels like a system that’s made to work for you, not to be a boundary for the user at the behest of the administrators or of the media industry.
It’s not perfect, but the people that work on the software are constantly working to change that.
I’m going to end it here, but I’ll probably write a continuation sometime or other.