I just installed Ubuntu 5.10 ("Breezy Badger", which I'm dist-upgrading as I type), and I'd like to say that GNU/linux has come a *long* way since I first started playing with it about 6 years ago. Let's take a walk down memory lane, shall we?
2000 - Fall semester at Georgia Tech. First install of linux. Mandrake 7 was my poison of choice. I bought the CD's from a local vender just off of Georgia Tech campus -- $1 for 2 cds and $5 for an "I 3 source code" sticker which I still have on my crappy 15" old-as-dirt monitor, but I digress. A friend of mine helped me install it (though there wasn't too much to help with -- Mandrake was known for easy install). He signed me up for the campus Linux User's Group and pointed me to some newsgroups to help out if I had any problems.
2001 - Spring semster at GT. Even after the I was impressed by Mandrake 8, my fellow techies made fun of me for running a "baby's distribution", so another friend hooked me up with Debian. Not as user-friendly, but apt was friggin' awesome compared to Mandrake's often-broken package manager. I never looked back.
2002 - Fall semester at Georgia Southwestern. New surroundings, new friends, new computer. Gentoo was the new thing, and one of my new friends said I should give it a whirl. I was unimpressed, and re-installed my beloved Debian. Perhaps I didn't give Gentoo a fair chance. I was biased after a year and a half of running Debian.
But the new surroundings made it hard. GT was a very linux-friendly place, but classes at GSW were centered around
2003 - Fall semster at GSW. My experience with linux has gotten me a full-time position as System Administrator at the school! I don't even have a bachelor's yet and they're so impressed with me that they offer me a job... with a nice salary... and benefits... and dental. Geeks rule!
2004 - Fall semester at GSW. Ubuntu's the new thing. I kept telling myself I'll go try it out -- My roomate even gave me a free 1.5 cd (he ordered 20 -- free, of course -- of them and was giving them away to anyone that would take one. Still didn't get around to installing it. I had my debian install, nicely tucked away on a rarely used partition of my hard drive. Damn you and your
2006 - Early summer at GSW. I decide to give ubuntu a try, since I don't (currently) have any classes to worry about.
What's changed? *Everything*. I pop in the cd and start up, the installation finds all my hardware with no problem, and I'm up and running in minutes. It even noticed I have my ipod plugged in. It appears that most of my programs are old versions (firefox is at version 1.0, gaim is at version 1.5), but I'm in the process of (hopefully) fixing that right now with a distribution upgrade.
The only complaint I have about it is that my favorite windowing system, blackbox, seems inoperable. I right click on the desktop and have 3 options -- xterm, restart, and exit. Where are all my apps? Maybe blackbox is old and I need to change over to fluxbox? Nope -- same thing. What's up with that?
Oh well. Gnome is ok for now I guess. I'll keep you posted on my progress. Wish me luck!