Once a geek, always a geek.
With a career as a technology trade reporter and editor, I've always enjoyed toying with new gadgets and computers. Call it a job perk. Anybody remember the Kaypro? How about the Apple Lisa? Yes, I've been doing this for a very long time.
Your Home Linux was born out of my interest in Linux, the open-source operating system developed by Linus Torvalds. As the Linux Training Academy tells the story:
Linus Torvalds created Linux when he was a student at the University of Helsinki studying computer science. In early 1991 he purchased an IBM-compatible personal computer that came with the MS-DOS operating system. Linus wasn’t satisfied with MS-DOS and wanted to use a UNIX operating system like he was accustomed to at the University. When he set out to obtain a copy of UNIX for his personal use, he found that the least expensive UNIX he could buy was about $5,000 USD. Driven by the desire to run a UNIX-like operating system on his personal computer, he set out to create Linux. Linus and over 100 developers worked on Linux over the next couple of years and in March of 1994, version 1.0 of the Linux kernel was released.
I first heard about Linux in the late 1990s, when I was working at Computerworld as the magazine's Chicago bureau chief. After downloading my first .iso image -- an ISO image is an archive file of an optical disc -- containing an early Linux distribution, I was hooked.
Back then, before we all had broadband connections to the internet, downloads took hours and hours. Installing the open source operating system was worse: a complicated affair that never seemed to work on the first, second or third attempt. Once installed, the graphical desktop looked, well, primitive. And the desktop tended to crash. In retrospect, this wasn't an inherent problem with Linux, but rather its limited support (back then) for hardware drivers. Computer makers didn't make it easy to run alternatives to Microsoft's dominant OS, Windows.* The early days involved a lot of reverse engineering of drivers and, sometimes, manual tweaking of the code by a user to get a driver working properly.
Things have improved dramatically. Today, Linux provides a marvelous, rock-solid desktop. It's fast, secure and highly configurable.
If you're interested about my editorial work, please check out my home site, EllisBooker.com.
Thank you for visiting Your Home Linux.
*Yes, we know, we know. Windows still is the predominant desktop OS. But only the desktop. If you're talking about servers, mainframes, or supercomputers, it's all Linux, baby. Besides, that old PC isn't doing anything, sitting in your closet gathering dust. Why not give it a new lease on life with Linux?