Walnut Creek CDs - My First Taste of Linux

With my fear of Palladiun firmly in place. Before Microsoft could embrace and extend into owning my computer. I thought I would give Linux a try. The local Goodwill provided me a copy of a book on Slackware Linux.. For $2.00 a CD, I ordered 5 CD's from Wallnut Creek. A copy of Slackware 3, Red Hat 3 and three other Linux's I can't recall.

It is so true that the Pioneers take the arrows. It was not pretty back in 1999 to install Linux. Of the 5 CD's, three of them would not install. The two that would were Slackware and Red Hat. I tried them both. After installing. What you end up with is a blinking command prompt asking you to log in.

There were no frills. Linux did not recoginze my sound card, or video card. I had to follow instructions to get a ppp dialup to my local internet provider. From there I was able to determine what video card and sound card I had. Then I had to download drivers for those cards. Compile the source code into binary drivers. Setup my system to use these drivers.

Which still left me at an ugly command prompt. To get pretty Windows 98 style graphics I had to be running X windows. This is the point where you really missed Microsoft. When you picked the correct video card for Windows. It would usually figure out the correct ammount of RAM that the card had, plus just work with whatever monitor you had hooked up to it. You picked a resolution the monitor would support and Windows knew just what to do.

Meanwhile Linux did not. Once I identifed my video card, I had to know how much RAM it had. Then for the monitor I had to know the horizontial and vertical frequencies for it, and the scan rate in mhz. If you guessed wrong you could blow out your monitor. What would happen for sure if you guessed wrong, is that you would not get a neat graphic display. You just ended up at that ugly command prompt.

Boot back to Windows, research some more. Reboot to Linux and filldle with the xconfiguration program again. Once I had sound and graphics I was still missing the scroll wheel. After a few days of googling, I had a solution to that one as well. Soon I had my scroll wheel. I was living large at last!

There at last I was experiencing my first joy in Linux. I had choices. Instead of just the one look that Microsoft provides for Windows. Or the one choice that Apple provides for OS X. Linux lets you choose if things looks like Microsoft Windows, Mac OS or something entirely different.

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