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Trip Down Memory Lane – The Rise of Linux

In this edition of a trip down memory lane series, we feature the rise of Linux over the last decade. Starting with an unusual introduction to Linux to the distributions I have discovered, used and installed on many computers over the decade. Long live Linux!

Read Other Parts in the series

Linux - Cinnamon - Gnome

Intro Into Linux – Pre 2008

My first introduction to Linux was through a CD which came with a popular print magazine called PC Plus. Although it was a PC magazine it had a Linux Distribution on the CD. As I am curious in nature I followed the instructions and installed Ubuntu on my desktop which back then had a maximum of 2GB Ram and ran Windows XP.

Although I liked the user interface I faced a lot of driver issues as it didn’t support my Belkin wireless adapter and didn’t have support for my printer. Wireless technology hadn’t really reached the standard as it is today. With limited use, I continued to try other distributions which arrived on the CD every month including Sam Linux and PC Linux.

In 2006 I bought a laptop, with built-in wireless and after my free upgrade to Windows Vista, I decided to try Linux once again. Again I experimented with different distributions. Ubuntu, Open Suse, Fedora and finally settled on Mandriva as I liked the desktop environment KDE.  I switched to Mandriva Linux in 2007, dual booting it with Vista and continued to work with it when starting this blog in 2008.

Linux 2008 – 2018

The release of KDE 4 was getting a lot of negative attention I decided to switch to Linux Mint Gloria in 2009 as it was vastly becoming popular and catching up with Ubuntu.

Linux Mint Gloria
Linux Mint Gloria

I became a lover of the Gnome desktop straight away and binned Vista for good running Mint and updating every 6 months. In 2010, after buying a new laptop I dual booted Windows 7 and Linux Mint. I only really ever used Windows to test websites on Internet Explorer and run the occasional game.

I used Linux Mint all the way through until my partner bought me a MacBook Pro, which I still use to this day. However, my love for Linux will never die.

Linux Mint Tessa
Linux Mint Tessa

Introducing Others

Having introduced several people to Linux over the years, most have never heard of it or even know what operating system they use.  Sometimes it’s like banging your head against a brick wall!  A relative bought an Acer Aspire One netbook which came with, what she thought was Windows XP. It was Linpus Linux Lite and a load of commercial outdated sh!te. After quickly switching to peppermint and she quickly familiarised herself with it. I have also installed Linux Mint on several older computers running Vista.

Manjaro 18.0

I recently installed Manjaro, an Arch Linux variant on an old computer of my friends and was in awe of how quick it was in comparison to Vista that was running on it before.

At work, a school for children with learning difficulties, I installed Linux Mint Cinnamon Edition on an old Windows 7 Laptop which runs a testing server so I can teach pupils IT, programming concepts, WordPress and give them an opportunity to work with open source software.

Comparison – Then & Now

Drivers & Software

The problems at the beginning were due to driver errors, especially for printers and wireless adaptors.  At the time some manufacturers only catered for Microsoft Windows Operating Systems primarily with Mac and alternative Operating Systems, like Linux, left in the dark.  As Linux grew, drivers became inclusive for all.  The software was pretty much the same although now due to software package containers like FlatPak and Snap, often built-in to the package management system, via software updates, makes installing software simple. Creating JavaScript Desktop Applications using Frameworks such as Electron has further enabled developers to build popular cross-platform software.


Look & Feel

Years ago some distributions wanted to look and feel like Windows and Mac to help familiarise people, making the switch easier.  Although this is still quite prevalent Linux can look and feel how you want it to. With alternative desktop environments like KDE, Gnome, Xfce Cinnamon, Mate you can always find something that appeals to you which gives you control over every aspect of your user interface.

If you are running Windows 7 or have an older computer Linux can breath new life into your hardware.  Linux uses fewer resources when it comes to RAM and CPU.  As for security Windows XP and Vista are no longer being updated and Windows 7 updates will stop in 2020. Hackers may likely target older versions of Windows.


Although I primarily use Mac at home since 2012 and Windows at work (Not through choice I admit).  Linux is at the forefront of my heart and at every given opportunity I will continue to use, install and follow its development.

Have you tried Linux in the past and had a bad experience? Have you tried it since and changed your mind? Please feel free to share your experiences.


BT Tech Gadgets

Images Courtesy of
Kijo and Distrowatch

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