In June of 2002 (for those who are hip and trendy, that's "twenty-oh-two"), I had all the components necessary to build a new desktop computer.
I had a cruddy VGA monitor, A 2-MB Paradise Video card, A Realtek 8139 Ethernet card, a A7V266-E Asus Motherboard, 256MB of DDR RAM, A 300W Power supply with case, a Creative 52x CD-ROM and a Maxtor 80GB hard drive. A pretty decent system with crap graphics.
On this system, I decided to install Linux.
I've played around on a Solaris system at school, as well as a Linux-driven MUD, so my UNIX experience was minimal... no use of GUIs or anything like that. Closest thing I had was I played around for about 5 minutes on my girlfriend's Red Hat box.
So I decide, what the hey, and install Linux. After a few failed attempts (see below) I had Mandrake on it.
My laptop, my other computer, a IBM Thinkpad i1400, had alway run Windows. It was getting a bit old (I bought it about 4 years ago) and the CD-ROM had ceased working. Finally, one day, about 4 months into my honeymoon with Linux, my Laptop died with no recovery. It is still, to this day, dead, until I can borrow someone's external CD-ROM drive and install some OS on it... possibly putting Windows back on it, maybe not.
I'm not a gamer, never really have been. Besides, when I game, I more often than not do it on a console...
After a couple of hardware upgrades, most notably a DVD-ROM, CD Burner and a more-than-decent video setup, I have a really nice system that's (as of a couple days ago) running Mandrake 9.1beta/RC1.
I really don't see myself going back to primarily using Windows really ever again. I have no use for it. With more and more games coming out for Linux, higher advances with WINE and VMware, OpenOffice, Mozilla, PySoulseek, XMMS and Xine, I have pretty much all the applications I ever used on Windows. And I have some light daemons running servers I never could without heavy programs like Bulletproof G6-FTP Server... Better system monitors, and most happily of all, I only really reboot my computer to install/test out new distributions of linux... My uptime now is 3 days because that was when I put 9.1 overtop of 9.0. I probably won't be restarting again until 9.1 comes fully out of beta and I just want to fresh-overhaul the system...
Plus, this is one of the main things I like about Linux, is it's handling of command line. If I have a harsh seizure of X (which happens from time to time, I will admit it...) then I can just cntrl-alt-f1, open up a new console and just kill either whatever process is seizing X or X itself... in any case, fixing the problem. I have control over my system in its entirety...
I wouldn't yet call myself a Linux expert, or an admin. I mean, sheesh, I can't even get GNOME 2 to work on a Debian box... But the Linux operating system gives me the option to learn more the more I use it... The learning curve is pretty steep and long, but for me, after about 4 or 5 months of playing around with Linux and trying to get it going all happily, I'm happy to say that I have a good enough understanding of it that I can probably deal with anything that I need to.
Anybody who says Linux is dead for the desktop seriously has no clue what they're talking about. So far, Linux can do anything that Windows can, and more... And the best part is that I'm using all this software that equates to about $300 worth of Microsoft products, all for free. Not to mention all the service pack upgrades I would need that are also provided for free (RPMfind.net is my friend).
Anyways. Keep up the good work, Linux community. I'm enjoying this stuff ever so much... Possibly if I ever get decent enough a programmer I could play around with this stuff and maybe actually contribute... (Next time I'll be sure to get into the beta race before the package list gets frozen, too...)