Journey into Linux, Part One

When I started thinking about switching to Linux, I really didn’t know what I would be letting myself in for. I didn’t really know if I’d be able to use it, if I’d like it, or if I would decide after checking into it to just forget the whole venture as a bad idea. Then I did it anyway. Kind of like when I bought the clipper set with all the comb attachments with the idea that I could start cutting my own hair — just shear it all off at one inch in length and see what would happen. Would it all stand straight out from my head, or would it still curl? Would I be able to wear it in spikes? Would I have to wear a bag over my head for six months until it all grew back? (None of the above, as it turned out, but I liked the results enough that I have continued cutting my own hair almost ever since.)

What I found out when I started researching Linux, was that there was a thriving community of programmers devoted to the cause of open source software who were making Linux user friendly to everyone — kind of like a Labrador Retriever puppy. And who could not like a Lab puppy, I ask you? On the other hand, proprietary software can be more like a cranky old skunk — do something it doesn’t like and it will leave a stench on you that you may never get washed off.

But, back to the beginning. I’m not exactly your typical computer geek/nerd/whatever. I’m from a much earlier generation. There were no home computers when I was growing up. No cell phones — not even any cordless phones. No play-stations — or color televisions. Just to put things in perspective.

My first computer actually belonged to my first ex-husband. It was a Commodore 64 that he bought (in 1983) so he could take a junior college course in computer programming, thinking he would “go into” that line of work. But he didn’t like it. I learned how to use a little word-processing program on it, and I never looked back.


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