I decided this would be a good place for my very first post. With this first post, I'm going to attempt to summarize my Linux experience to date as clearly as possible. I'll start by saying I have been reading this forum from the beginning and it's been a huge help. I finally decided I should sign up and actually start posting, so here goes. While I have yet to have a question I couldn't find an answer for either here or Google, I hope to be able to help new people and maybe ask the occasional question as I get into more advanced things. I also look forward to posting screenshots in the gallery
So, where to begin. I guess I'll go back a few years to when I first heard about Linux. I believe the two major distros at the time were Red Hat 8 and Mandrake 9 (I'm not 100% on the release numbers). I had gone so far as to download and burn the ISOs for Mandrake (I heard it was the easiest, and I was only in my early teens), but I didn't have a computer to put it on and I never got around to trying. Now, here we are a few years later. The hard drive in my main computer (see signature) was starting to make high-pitched noises and so my dad and I decided it was time to buy a replacement drive and do a fresh install of Windows (we'd been running the current install for over 3 years). As Spring Break was approaching, I figured that would be the perfect time to do it. I got a fresh copy of Windows XP Pro from my computers electronics teacher (through MSDN) and we ordered a new drive.
A week or two before Spring Break, my computer electronics teacher decided to have us try installing a copy of Red Hat 9 on one of our classroom servers, just to try it out. It's a pretty Windows-centric school, so even he didn't really know much about it. We installed it, and I made a couple observations: it was just as easy to install as Windows, it had a ton more software right there on the discs, it had a very nice interface (with lots of games
), and it was 100% free. After using it for a day or two in class, I decided to look into it more.
I discovered that Fedora was the official decendant of Red Hat (the distro I had always heard good things about) and decided that I would like to try that one. I attempted to try it in a virtual machine in Windows (Virtual Box), but I didn't have enough system RAM (512MB) to allocate enough to the virtual machine for the graphical installer, and I don't believe I got the text installer working for some reason or another. I found and installed a copy of Red Hat 9, but I didn't do much with it. I also tried a Ubuntu LiveCD, but trashed that with disgust (even this early on, I felt it was too watered down for my tastes). So anyway, I asked my dad if it would be alright with him (since it's technically his computer) to partition the hard drive and dual-boot when we went to reinstall over Spring Break. He said it would be okay, just so long as it didn't screw up Windows (I kept reassuring him over and over again that it wouldn't).
So anyway, I installed Windows XP Pro on a 105GB partition and then left the rest of the drive space sit for a couple days as I got WinXP reconfigured as we had it before. Then, after those couple days of restoring, I began installation of Fedora Core 6. I ended up reinstalling it a couple times for various reasons, reasons including trying to install every single package listed
and finding the system didn't run too stable like that
. Anyway, I settled on doing a default install and then slowly adding on as needed. I've now been running Fedora Core 6 for nearly two months and haven't really touched my Windows install much at all (it's pretty much just there for my dad at this point). I've used this forum to a great extent, as well as Google and other places, to get all the info I needed.
I haven't really tried any other distro, because Fedora has done everything I've wanted to do with exactly the kind of learning curve that suits me best. I wanted to learn, but I didn't want to be overwhelmed. From what I've read, it seems something like Slackware or even Debian might be just a bit too much, but something like Ubuntu is way
too watered down (and the community just doesn't seem very helpful). Anyway, to avoid putting any distro down, I'll just say Fedora suits my needs perfectly and hasn't given me a reason to "play the field."
So yeah, the beginning was pretty much year-to-date, as I feel I really am just beginning. I consider myself to be above-average in terms of my ability to absorb new information, so I try not to look down on "newbs" asking questions that I answered for myself so quickly when I began. I'll do my best to be a "let me help you" kind of guy, rather than a "you stupid newb!" kinda guy. I'll remind myself that I, too, am technically a newb (or n00b, or noobie, or however you want to spell it).
My current goals include setting up the lesser of my recently purchased Vectra VL400s (see signature) as a fully-featured, text-only CentOS 5.0 server. So far, I've figured out how to WOL and SSH, so I'm at least to the point where I can remotely manage it from my main computers. I've been running Fedora Core 6 on everything, so the actual CentOS 5.0 learning is coming soon. I figured I wanted a stable, business-class, server-type distro for that box, and I figured CentOS would be the closest to Fedora (and I like to stick with what works). I'm going to configure the other Vectra with Fedora 7 when the final comes out (I've just got Core 6 on there at the moment for hardware testing and general playing around).
As for anything else, I guess I have a lot to say but I don't want to bore you if you don't want to know. I'm currently going to Mid-State Technical College for Computer Electronics (graduating this Thursday!) and I plan to go back next year to finish up the IT - Network Specialist program. I have a wonderful girlfriend who sometimes worries I love Linux more than her (which isn't true, but I have been obsessed with it the last couple months!). Ask me anything and I'm likely to answer with something. I've been heavily active on the Internet for 5+ years now and I've been part of several forums, so I'd like to think I'm well versed in etiquette.
I'm really looking forward to becoming an active part of this community, and I look forward to getting to know everyone better. I already feel like I know some of you simply from all the reading I've done here! I've been a very active lurker the past couple weeks, and I felt it was high time I started posting! I will add to this thread with a new post offering some of my observations of Linux and why I've decided it's the OS for me!