10 years of using Debian

Today, it must have been exactly 10 years that I started using Debian. The story of how I came to Debian shows some of its strengths, so I’ll use this occasion to share it.

I spent the first half of 2002 as an high-school exchange student in Wenatchee, USA. I was already a user of Linux at that time: I made my first contact roughly in 1996 and did my first installation at home two years later, but all that time I was dual-booting and my main system was a well-arranged Windows 98. The machine was a regular tower PC, but nevertheless I put the computer into my trunk when I flew to the US. It took away most of the space, and I had to put some of my cloths inside the case.

So I was there, happily using my Windows and my manually set up “Linux From Scratch” until one day the inevitable happened; inevitable at least until you start doing backups: On April 30th, my hard drive crashed, and took the two systems together with 4 years of personal data with it.

Two weeks later I had a new hard drive and was pondering my options. I did plan to install Windows again; at that time Windows XP was just released. But I wanted a German version of Windows, which would be hard to get there. Also, I did not want to use Linux from Scratch any more, and wanted to make a well-founded choice of a distribution. On the other hand, I really wanted to get my machine up and running quickly, to be able to read my mail more comfortably. I had heard that Debian had good support for network installations (downloading a full 700MB CD was something to avoid at that time), so I grabbed some netinst images, burned a CD, and quickly installed Debian.

I was planning to use the system for about two weeks. I did not pay any particular attention to the setup. Heck, I even picked from my Simpsons sidekick machine naming scheme one that I would not miss being used up (“barney”). Nevertheless, I was using this installation for many years (and many upgrades), until I eventually switched to using laptops. In fact, that very installation is still on the machine somewhere and works. I did install Windows XP a few weeks later as well, but hardly used it. So May 12th of 2002 was when I turned into a full-time Linux and Debian user.

I soon became interested in Debian the project and started to contribute. But that is another story for another ten year anniversary blog post, most likely on October 21, 2013...


Have something to say? You can post a comment by sending an e-Mail to me at <mail@joachim-breitner.de>, and I will include it here.