My computer is too old to even run windows 8, which even if I did, would leave me stuck in its menu and lost. I began using Linux 2005 when I found myself with a broken XP install and unable to fix it. I am very dumb but through using Netscape Navigator on windows 95, which I used until 2003 when I finally could buy a new computer in pieces over 6 months, I had found mozilla and was vaguely aware of open source. I dabbled in a bit of HTML and PHP which were easy though I never became a programmer and wouldn't be able to do any of that wizardry now. I then found firefox and around all its hype was mention of red hats and mandrakes.
I still didn't have a CD burner and stuck on a 56k modem connection I tried downloading linux installs that were said to be installable from floppy disks but they didn't even boot. Using a download manager later I was determined to download mandrake. I spent 3 months doing this. I ended up taking my computer in a wheel barrow over to a friends house where we LANed together so he could burn this thing on to CD, but all his CD-Rs were corrupt so I went home still using windows XP.
Following this I spent a lot of time saving up for a CD burner. I'd built the computer myself with no expertise, just figuring it was like lego, and I'd pulled apart the odd box and stuck ram from machine into another so what could go wrong? I only earned $100 per week working part time in a fast food joint and since my mother thought I spent too much time on the computer (making '99 style websites I thought were really cool and would lead me into a career of web development) she wouldn't help me in any way.
I then got a free coupon through some website for Linspire. I thought since it's worth $50 this must be a better Linux than all those free ones that were just like DOS (well to be completely honest I didn't know what to expect, I'd never seen a screenshot of linux just all this crazy command line documentation, I still thought it was going to be like DOS which to me meant it would have some fun games from my childhood). I can't remember how or when but somehow I had this CD burned and ready when my computer broke. I still didn't have anything faster than 56k dialup.
At the time there had been way to get free dial up but that had ended and by now I was paying for my own dialup it cost a whopping $20 per month of the $400 I earned.
When I booted Linspire I was pleasantly surprised by the installer, it was gui and easier than installing windows 2000 and XP. I'd remembered the upgrades of windows 3.1 to windows 95 my (extended) family had done with what seemed like 31 disks and the nightmares this had been for them. Linspire to me on first impression seemed like the most advanced system I had ever used. This linux thing was indeed really cool and I had heard of it being more stable.
I probably reinstalled Linspire 2-3 times in the first month of using it. I kept breaking its CNR trying to use apt and quickly found out it wasn't the best Linux. My younger brother had found out you could order free CD's from Ubuntu and told me they were coming. Linspire had KDE and compare to windows XP it was pretty easy to use, it even did some things better. I did find the whole installing software thing a bit difficult to get my head around and the filesystem in / looked pretty daunting.
after no more than two months I had switched to Ubuntu 5.10. I'd remembered those mandrake 10.1 cds and installed that first but it didn't connect to its repositories, because it was too old an install but I didn't know that. I had thought highly of mandrake before that, it had a good brand and reputation as far as I could tell. The lack of repository in mandrake meant I used Ubuntu. My first impression of Gnome was that it looked stupid compared to KDE but as I began using it I really found it useful. within 6 months of using it, when I tried KDE again I found I didn't like KDE as much and by now something about KDE's theme annoyed me, like the shape and size of its icons and clocks in the panel all being different. The brown of Ubuntu didn't bother me.
I still thought they were both good and really useful, these gnome vs KDE wars the gurus were constantly fighting just seemed strange in fact quickly these gurus began to appear like bunch of retarded idiots.
I found apt very simple to use. wget, while I only used it occasionally, seemed revolutionary, I wondered why didn't windows have this. I lost complete faith in windows. It was a horrible OS and that guy Steve Balmer was such an obnoxious person I began to hate the company. Suddenly I found myself joining the cult of Linux - in my mind.
I began to try convince everyone I knew to use Linux, even my grandmother. I would have converted up to 10-15 people over a year or two period perhaps more with my online evangelism. Apart from my brother and about 2 friends no one uses it any more. They all fell in love with iphones and macs and a couple decided to keep using windows, mostly the gamers, most of whom were unconvertable from the beginning.
Still something about getting Compiz working with the whole process of XGL or AIGLX or whatever it was on ATI card back then was exhilarating. I was a script kiddie guru, copy and pasting huge chunks of command line code to make my windows wobble. It was better than the hackers in movies, I understood more of what was going on than the average politician or movie director does on subjects they make some pretty important decisions about, but I still didn't know anything.
I did try Fedora for a week in about 2007, it was no different than Ubuntu, but it was annoying to get stuff that was simple on ubuntu to work and the people in their forums were horrible. A whole bunch of aspergers twits. Do you know how horrible forum searches are, especially when the reason you're trying to use a forum is to talk to someone, I wouldn't use your forum if I'd figured out how to google it.
So I kept using Ubuntu, despite referring to it as GNU/Linux mostly. And as I grew older I found myself needing to do less and less in Ubuntu. It worked better every release. Too much better. That whole script kiddie nature of Linux had disappeared. I was bored, it wasn't a toy any more. Not to mention that by now I was working 60 hours per week. I couldn't be bothered so it was great but also a few years ago I realised pretty much the only thing I use in Ubuntu is the web browser.
Unity was partially responsible for this. I dislike it, but still use it. I tried gnome 3 for a while and thought it was much better but for some reason just didn't install it again on my next upgrade. I couldn't be bothered, I wanted to try unity again but I couldn't easily run them both on Ubuntu at the same time, beside, if you had two de's installed on the same partition it was always a messy install. I don't like that Ubuntu started making gnome 3 harder to choose - even if there is Ubuntu gnome now.
The unity dash is horrible I only use the side menu. which I can't move around. I haven't gone and tried mate even though my favourite DE would be a toss up between gnome 2 and 3, I don't even install the latest Ubuntu anymore, LTS is good enough. I used to think using Debian stable was ridiculous, so outdated, but now if they could provide decent video drivers, which hopefully steamOS will bring to Linux, if we're lucky, I would probably use debian stable, though that whole IceWeasel BS was a bit too much for me, even though I think the GPL is my preferred licence. It just seems to make sense to me but I'm not making this stuff, you can licence it whatever way you want, I personally would just hate to be in the situation where I was locked out of my own code if it was closed up like BSD, MIT etc all seem to allow.
I don't like spending much on technology -I've been putting up with broken and old computers all my life, can never game because of stupid issues and quite frankly would rather enjoy the outdoors for free than give some greedy fucking billionaire my money. If Ubuntu could sell me a decent desktop, phone combo with their convergence, I'd spend up to a months salary on it, which is $3200 for me. But it would have to be high end, last more than 5 years and perfect. Ubuntu isn't prefect yet and it will take a long time now with MIR and Unity 8 to become perfect.
In the 10 years I have been using Linux I have donated to the FSF, Gnome and EFF (heaps through humble bundles, if the bundle didn't support EFF I didn't buy it, I gave about 50% to the EFF and the rest to the app developers usually). I feel like I donated to one or two other projects, but they're slipping my mind now.
Projects I would consider donating to include GIMP and Libre Office because I like and use them. But these are also the two massive apps I kind of wish had been well more advanced in this time. Me giving them $50 wouldn't have changed a thing, one of the distros had to own them and pledge to make them amazing. Though Libre office is much better than it was as open office already I think
Blender is amazing too. I like their open movies, even if the voice acting isn't fantastic. It's a real shame they can't do a feature length every year. That would get me donating heaps, mainly out of spite, because I hate the movie industry more than I hate Microsoft. In fact Bill Gates is a pretty good guy these days and sataya nadella has definitely transformed the company. It will be a while before I trust them, but they're nearing that point where when I come to purchase my next computer/phone/tablet in a few years (it will take that long because that's all I can afford to spend on this junk, seriously Dell you suck, I won't buy from you again, even if you do claim to sell Ubuntu in some countries, you don't in mine and your hardware is substandard).
But yeah, as you can see I'm an average joe who uses desktop linux, the desktop is disappearing from everyday home use. Linux is on heaps of tablets and phones in the form of android, even if its bastardised and google is no longer not evil.
2016 will be the year of Linux on the Desktop. But I'll probably begin to hate Ubuntu once I spend money on it and have to think "You're telling me 10% of my yearly income is worth this hunk of junk."
I am the Elijah to the messiah of the cult the Year of Desktop Linux. Do not crucify the saviour for the singularity will be thy judgement. The eye of Google watches and knows all. lol.
My next post will be on how excited I am about lol looking like a tie fighter and jar jar binks being a sith lord.