I heard of Linux many years ago but did pay any attention to it. Only 2 years ago when I was a photographer for an event call MYGOSCON (Malaysian Government Open Source Conference) where I get to know about Open Source and Linux. From than on I was eager to try and so I bought a book by Mark G. Sobell call "Practical Guide To Ubuntu Linux" and it come with Ubuntu 8.10 CD. Install on an old computer to try it out and immediately like it and use it on my main computer and now upgrade to 10.04 Lucid Lynx and never look back. It was so easy to use from installation to actually using it and everything work out of the box. Although I had minor issue which is of my own doing. How about you guys. Care to share your experience?

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I had redhat 6.x on an old machine. It had Windows 9x but we were fed up with it, and wanted a change. I liked redhat. Even had staroffice for it.

When we got a new PC fedora core 1 went on.

But then XP SP2 came out and it was GOOD so i used windows for many years, until going to Debian Linux when Vista came out. Now i dual boot between Ubuntu/Windows 7 and XP/Redhat Enterprise 6 on my laptop/desktop respectively.

I got introduced to it through a tech magazine in June 2005, and installed my first Fedora Core 3 sometime later. It was a bit complex with my first install but when i got it dual booted with my XP, it was awesome. I loved the interface and all those software that came bundled. These days I am using a Fedora 14 and Windows7 in dual boot on my laptop.

FC3 was as easy to install as XP was....

Not for someone who didn't even knew what ext2 was..........I was actually doing anything Linux for the first time and all on my own....the major hurdle i faced was whats the file system to use as I was on my own....literally no help taken( just asked a friend the file system to be used)

I too was alone at that time. I had nothing but just a book to help me. But than since I use Linux I have registered several forum to help me along and I must say those guys in ubuntuforums.org certainly are very helpful. I couldn't thank them enough. And now I never boot into any Window OS for quite sometime now.

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I found a Mandrake Linux CD in a tech magazine. I liked messing around with the system, and I did my first C programming in Linux.

I started with LiveCDs first, because I was too obsessive to install a new 'unknown-for-me' system on my computer!
DSL (damn small linux) was my first experience, but I DO NOT suggest it for new-comers. Instead, I found SLAX to be a very welcome introduction into the world of Linux.
And finally, of course, our lovely friend Ubuntu :)

I tryed ubuntu9.10, then 10.10, then 11.04 and finally now i got backtrack5

I was introduced to linux by a guy who work in a NGO, as a system administrator, when I first joined in an IT event in my country Cambodia and those event called Barcamp Phnom Penh. the first linux that i know is openSUSE and Then OpenSolaris and the last one is UBUNTU....I found it cool...

Many years ago I was browsing for 'free' software. I ran across a download for an entire OS called Knoppix. I burned it to a live-cd and played with it for a while. Not knowing much at all about computers and even less about Linux, I never actually installed it but just booted to the disc now and then to see what I could learn. Several years later I bought a brand new laptop that came with Vista. Frustrated with it's many flaws I began looking for another Knoppix-like OS. I discovered Ubuntu 8.04, wiped my HDD clean and installed it never looking back. Now I don't even own a Windoze machine.

Aside from some dabbling with Slackware in the late 1990's, my first real experience with Linux resulted from the need to set up a VOIP system for our LAB using Asterisk on Redhat. Still, for daily stuff, I was committed to Windows. The real transition came when we were preparing to market a product that used the audio subsystem in a phase locked DAC-ADC loop. The original code was all in VB using the Wave API on W2K. However, when we approached MS for licensing, we were told that we could not ship with W2K. They would only license the most recent version, which was then XP. Because of some hanky-panky that MS was playing with the wave API's related to DRM (this was just after MS got into the media business and decided that they should take on the role of DRM police), our code would no longer work properly. This meant completely rewriting our code and probably writing our own kernel driver for the sound card hardware. MS unceremoniously told us that we had NO CHOICE. Well, we did have a choice: We simply dumped MS and Windows, moving our entire code base to Ubuntu Linux using a combination of GTK, Python and C++. At the same time, I dumped Windows from every machine I manage (about 10 or so) and migrated them all to Linux. Withdrawal symptoms lasted only about 2-3 weeks and I've never looked back. Now, my only contact with Windows is when I have no choice because a lab mate is stuck on Windows, or because an essential program only has a Windows port. Even then, I will only allow Windows to run in a VirtualBox jail, where it can't damage my main machine.

It's nice to read all the different stories. I find that the common denominator is ".. and I never looked back.".

My field is robotics (mostly mechanical engineering) and so Linux is a very common OS for all sorts of robots and related research activities. I first got introduced to Linux when I did an internship at a German university where they were using Linux for most work, including using a home-brewed simulation library (C++) and most of the programs to control a large Kuka robot (industrial manipulator). I had no experience with Linux and all of a sudden I had to run programs on three different computers (ssh'ing in the terminal) respectively running SUSE and Red-Hat. I would have like it better if I didn't have to do so much without knowing much of the commands and stuff.

Afterwards, I had a few encounters with Linux and QNX, but I was mainly using Windows still (mostly doing engineering work with CAD tools). But then, I did my Master's degree at the Mecca of Linux, i.e. in Helsinki University of Technology (in the computer science department where Linus Torvalds developed Linux). Over there, the only place where you can find a Windows sticker is inside the toilet bowls (I mean, literally, true story, many toilets in the department had Windows stickers inside the bowl or under the seat flap, i.e., where Windows really belongs! Over there, people literally piss on Windows). So, I immediately switched to Linux, installed Kubuntu on my laptop (on the external drive actually), and worked with Ubuntu at the office. And I loved it.

Now, I'm (almost) a complete convert. I have Kubuntu 11.04 on both of my computers (home and office), and I can't recall the last time I booted into Windows. I still keep the dual boot with Windows (Vista on laptop and 7 at home), mostly for three reasons: to have CAD tools that I occasionally need (which are only available for Windows); to be able to verify that my programs also compile with Visual Studio; and for the rare occasions that I still play computer games. I hope that someday I won't have any reason to carry this crummy OS on any computer.

I am new to linux but I've heard many great thing about it and wants to try it out. After couple of hours on google, I was very confused and frustrated because there are so many different versions of linux.
What is the best linux os for a beginner like myself?

I was introduced to Linux in school.
We had to use it, and perform some basic tasks (trough the terminal). I was not very attracted by all that terminal-coding at all! But, then I discovered all the free(!) open-source(!) software that was available. Also, I discovered that there was a GUI available :)
I tried using Ubuntu, on my desktop, and pretty much liked it! But then I switched to a notebook (Dell XPS 15), and I just couldn't get the dual-screen setup right..
Now, I want to give it another shot. I installed Ubuntu (dual-boot with Windows 7), but still, my secondary monitor isnt working at all.. HDMI-out seems to be inactive or something, I'm still fixing it. That's the negative site of Linux. You sometimes have to figure it out yourself.
But, the silver lining: It's free!! :)

What is the most common language people use to program a Linex application? In order to have multi-boot, do you install windows first or ubuntu first?

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My friend recommended to use #linux and as a student I started for fun. I Installed #ubuntu 9.10 in 2009, from then I tried every version of Ubuntu and its flavors and Loved using it . Now having fun with #openSUSE. But still dual booting with windows since i am a #AOM fan too.

"What is the most common language people use to program a Linex (sic) application?"

This is a question that can't be easily answered. I prefer the QT widget set and development environment, using C or C++ for "glue" code. One advantage of this approach is that it has been well optimized for cross platform coding. I have several programs that use the identical code base on Linux and Windows. I simply compile on the target platform and bingo, the program runs.

I have also used GTK widgets for the GUI part in combination with Python for coding (and usually a little C/C++). If you are a beginner, I suspect that Python will have the easiest learning curve.

That said, I have to add that there are many more alternatives. First get Linux installed and then have a look around the repositories for development tools. You are about to start out on a fascinating, and sometimes frustrating, adventure. Nevertheless, the results are well worth the effort!

"In order to have multi-boot, do you install windows first or ubuntu first?"

It definitely has to be Windows first. Window's boot loader will trash any other boot loader on the planet. There are work-arounds, but they are somewhat complex and not for beginners. On the other hand, the Linux boot loader is, on the other hand, very adaptable and will not trash the Windows boot process. It will simply copy the Windows boot loader so it can chain to it later, and then list Windows as one of your boot options. However, I would be wary of letting Windows have direct access to your machine hardware. If you do, make sure that you load and keep current all of the usual protection mechanisms (antivirus, firewall, etc). The alternative, if you have a fairly powerful host machine, is to install only Linux and then install Windows in a VirtualBox "Jail", where it cannot get unsupervised access to your host machine's hardware. It's much safer, really, and works very well indeed.

Thank you guys for your input. I guess I still start with installing Linux on one of my machine. I just visited ubuntu website and i didnt see anything on recommended hardware. Would Pentium 4 with 2gb good enough to run ubuntu?

Thank you guys for your input. I guess I still start with installing Linux on one of my machine. I just visited ubuntu website and i didnt see anything on recommended hardware. Would Pentium 4 with 2gb good enough to run ubuntu?

That will be good enough indeed :)
If you're not completely sure if the specs will be good enough, you can always try Xubuntu, a special Ubuntu-version for low-specced machines! Visit at


Would Pentium 4 with 2gb good enough to run ubuntu?

I agree completely with Pjieter, with one caveat: Running virtual machines may be a bit slow on a P4, but still functional. If, as implied above, you plan on doing program development for multiple platforms, then I would either use a more powerful host (2 or 4 cores, for example) or develop on Linux using cross platform tools (QT4 for example) and then compile the same code on a separate Windows machine with the same cross platform tools(or dual boot, which is less convenient). Make sure that you use something like SVN to share your code across platforms. It's another thing to learn about, but in the end you will thank yourself for taking the time needed to learn it.

Finally, regarding distributions, I would really recommend sticking with Version 10 (Lucid) of Ubuntu if you are setting up a programming platform. I won't go into all the reasons, but I will say that the newer Ubuntu is more buggy and designed primarily for tablets which makes it extremely irritating for a general purpose programming environment. If you need a newer version and you wind up agreeing with me that Ubuntu with Unity is unsuitable, then try Linux Mint - And above all, have fun!

P.S. One last comment. If you use QT4 (and probably most other cross platform toolsets) you should probably avoid using Microsoft's compilers. Use the windows port of GCC instead. MS compilers use a different symbol table strategy and also violate ANSI standards in other ways. It will work OK, but it does make maintaining cross platform compatibility in your code more painful.

>>Would Pentium 4 with 2gb good enough to run ubuntu?

I just installed Ubuntu 11.10 on a laptop with 2Gb and a core2 processor (which is pretty much the same generation as P4, it is a 4.5 year old laptop). It runs fine, a bit more slugish than Kubuntu 11.04 that I had installed on it before. I also had Vista installed on that laptop before and it was pretty slow (and idling at 65% of RAM). So, if you want a pretty flawless experience with Ubuntu on your system, you could go with an older version of Ubuntu or Kubuntu (I find that KDE (used for Kubuntu's GUI) is faster than Gnome (used for Ubuntu's GUI)), version 10.04 or 10.10 would be good candidates. One of the nice things with Linux distros is that generally, using an old version of the distros don't keep you from getting the latest software (the distro version mostly affects the look / features of the desktop environment (KDE or Gnome or else) and the hardware drivers (but if the hardware is old, it doesn't matter much)).

As for dual-booting, definitely, Windows has to be installed first. Then, you have to repartition under Windows (easier IMO) so that you get at least 20Gb of free-space (non-partitioned, unformated space) on the hard-drive, and you will never need more than 100Gb to have more than enough space for Ubuntu. The default install process of Ubuntu will install it on the free-space (if there is any, otherwise it will ask you for where to put it) and it will take care of partitioning and formatting. Also, by default, it will overwrite the MBR (Master Boot Record, where the program that launches the OS is) with the Grub boot-loader which will allow you to boot Windows too (by forwarding to the Windows boot-loader). However, I usually prefer using the windows boot-loader first (and forwarding to Grub for booting linux). The way to do that is to go into "manual settings" during the Ubuntu installation (where it asks for the partition / free-space on which to install Ubuntu) and specify to install Grub2 (boot-loader) on the same partition as the root of Ubuntu (the "/" mount-point). Then, under Windows (after you are done installing Ubuntu), you download, install and run the EasyBCD program which allows you to modify the Windows boot-loader to add an entry that will run Grub from the Ubuntu partition as one of the boot options (which you can set as default), you can follow an online tutorial on how to do that (it's easy). The reason for doing this is mainly that there can be problems sometimes with using the Grub boot-loader as the first one (on some computers, it can interfere with some Windows functionalities). So, you can do the default (use Grub as main boot-loader) and risk having to fix it later (which could be quite complicated for a noob), or you can do as I described (using EasyBCD to add the Linux entry to the windows boot-loader) which is a bit more complicated to do than the default option, but you don't risk having to fix it after (at least, not that I know of, I have never had any problems with this setup).

And, of course, Ubuntu is probably the best distro to start with if you have never used Linux before. Alternatively, but still in the Ubuntu family, there is Linux Mint and Kubuntu which are also great and will feel a bit more familiar to a Windows user (and Kubuntu is great for a developer / programmer, and is also very lean for an older computer).

As for programming languages, well that's hard to tell exactly. Certainly, C / C++ are very prevalent in the Linux world. Python is also very wide-spread as a powerful scripting language.

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My first introduction to Linux was while I was working at an ISP as a business support specialist. One of the Sysadmins was showing me the brand new shiny RedHat 4.2! He was comparing it to he Solaris system the whole ISP was running on. I told him I was interested in trying and he let me borrow his install floppies. I think there were 4 of them. I felt pretty nerdy back then!

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I was thrown into the fire so to speak. I took a position with a company as the network engineer but was quickly asked to 'look at' an apache error. I gave it a shot and it took off from there.

I was introduced to Linux about 7 years ago when my friend presented me a CD with Ubuntu 5.04. I didn't like it)) Then I tried Mandriva, OpenSuse, Fedora and a lot of other distros. Now I run dual boot Gentoo/Windows 7. And at the moment I can say that I like Linux though it has some rough edges in comparison with Windows.

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