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Please share what brought you to Linux based systems and what keep you using them for you personal and/or professional uses.
Easy, more control and just plain fun. It lets you be creative.
Well, it all started for me with a catastrophic system failure after a "patch Tuesday" back in '06. It was the 4th time in three years that I had to wipe/reinstall XP because of patch related system corruptions. Hey... MS happens. What can I say?
That aggravation drove me from tinkering with Linux to actually learning to use it as a primary operating system. I started out with Ubuntu 6.06 and quickly moved to other more "manly" distros. Ubuntu was just a bit too prettified for me. I wanted something you had to bleed a bit to learn.
After much trial and experimentation, I ended up with Slackware as my primary operating system and Debian as my back-up operating system. Along the way, I've developed a handful of favorites like Arch, Ark, CentOS, Zenwalk, Vector, Foresight, etc.
Slackware is still home for me, though.
I wanted an UNIX operating system for myself, I've always loved mainframes but I didn't had access to any of them back in the '90s and there were no such choice for a low specs x86 machine like mine.
I didn't had access to big irons and my cheap 386sx machine didn't had a coprocessor and a MMU so BSD wasn't available for me in these days (sigh). I've started with Linux because it was "free" and I've decided to test it carefully. now in 2011 I'm still here writing in a linux site, guess what happened in between :-) ?
Simple, It was for the stability and the fact it was free. And the freedom and choices were just a bonus. I had experienced a total crash with xp and after switching to Windows 7 because it was supposedly more stable but that was a total lie. I had 2 pretty bad crashes and just about everything I used would crash a couple times a month. So that sealed the deal.
Also I'm glad there's an off-topic section now.
4. I was (and am) a Windows user, and found early on that having alternative computing solutions is a great advantage.
3. It was (and is) Free and for a destitute tinkerer, that makes an enormous difference.
2. I needed (okay, wanted) a way to turn scrap PCs into functional contributors to the house-hold (at the time, that meant routers and MP3 servers).
1. I wanted to learn more about computers in general and redirect my professional career that way (this was in the late 90s) and my house-mate (who was currently running his own start-up ISP) said 'Learn Linux. Here's 12 floppies'. Best advice I ever got.
I like programming, sharing source code and learning from others in a independent fashion. The GNU project means knowledge and GNU/Linux is easy to use.
I used GNU/Linux first in 2001. The difficult thing to get it to work was the point to start with it, how to retrieve it, what are the current versions and almost nobody knew about it.
A friend helped me with the first time installation of SuSE 7.1 but I switched to Debian GNU/Linux, two months later. And instead of Java programming I begun to write a audio sequencer in C and I'm still doing so.
It's just fantastic and powerful.
I started around '98 because many people around the irc systems talked very well about it. I was curious and I tried it. The result? Well, ya know, I've been MS(or even better, Apple) free since then :)
A nerdy friend of mine named Mfillpot got me interested when I was younger and trying to get my hands on everything computer related. I stick around because I love the customizablity and having control over my own computer.