Letters from the Linux community


Article from Issue 62/2006

Jon Masters begins a worthy chronicle of the global Linux community.

Linux has changed considerably since I first became involved with the Linux community a decade ago. Back then, I had just become the youngest University student in the UK and had gotten access to my first real UNIX box. Shortly thereafter, I discovered I could have my very own UNIX at home for a fraction of the cost of buying my own Sun server kit (which cost around US$ 10,000 new.) A copy of a single floppy disk Linux installation served as enough inspiration for me to spend the next two weeks downloading Slackware over the painfully slow JaNET UK national academic network. 200 floppy disks (and a few duds) later, I had a working installation of Slackware and absolutely no idea how to use or maintain it. It often seemed necessary to re-install the system, as various weird and wonderful error messages would appear every ten minutes or so. And it quickly became difficult to convince friends and family that this was a superior system of the future when the terse output of fsck on a power outage proved enough for another round of re-installation.

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