The Story of My Linux Journey


I decided that I should write the story of my Linux journey and how I ended up with Ubuntu MATE so here it is.

My family has never really been into technology, except for a short sprint of my dad with computers in the 1980s, there has not been someone who knew anything about computers, operating systems and such. Growing up we used Windows 98 and 95 computers, somehow skipped XP and Vista completely, jumped to a windows 7 laptop and used only XP and 7 at the private school where I attended. To my family there was only different versions of Windows and somewhere for rich people there was something called Mac, but other than that we were all clueless. Coming out of High School I was pretty well clueless about computers, I might not have known what a CPU was if you would have asked me. The Fall after I graduated I got my own first computer for college, it had Windows 8.1 installed which I soon learned to use. My first spring in college my parents computer died and I gave my laptop to them and they bought a ASUS Transformer with Android Kitkat for me, I easily got the hang of that and I used it for the next 2 years during which time I learned many things. The spring semester that I got my Transformer pad was what started me into linux, for I did a report on the Raspberry Pi which I knew nearly nothing about when I started the report. The summer after I was trying to get my Raspberry Pi to actually run Raspbian, as until that point it was just something to look at. A night in the middle of the summer of 2016 about 10 to 11 I finally got Raspbian to boot after multiple attempts and I was overjoyed. However I soon broke Raspbian, I believe by uninstalling the display manager, through the accursed Synaptic Package Manager. I reinstalled Raspbian and went on my merry way until the fall semester when I discovered berryboot, and it was if I remember correctly with berryboot that I first discovered Ubuntu MATE. However either that fall semester or the following spring semester I bought a laptop with broken hinges from a fellow student for $30, it was with that laptop that I really dove into linux. My first love in the x86_64 linux world was Fedora 25 Cinnamon, I loved it, the quad core i3 made Cinnamon fly, however when moving around partitions I broke the installation, and so I reinstalled. However that installation eventually went into recovery mode of which I had no idea of how to get out and had no idea what caused it, which turned me from Fedora. From there I went distro hopping during which time I tried Ubuntu MATE 16.04 and though I stayed with it for a while, other distros caught my eye and I moved on, eventually I grew tired of distro hopping and wanted a distro that I could keep. Thinking back over the distros I had tried and had actually liked or used heavily, I remembered Ubuntu MATE as the one that I came closest to being satisfied with and as a result Ubuntu MATE is where I found my home in Linux. By that time 17.04 was out and I enjoyed it more than I had 16.04. However my $30 laptop died in the spring or summer of 2017. One of my aunts gave me an old desktop built for Windows XP, on which I soon installed Ubuntu MATE as well as using the Ubuntu MATE from the harddrive of my dead laptop, and yes the operating system on my laptop meant for Windows 7 also booted fine with no hardware problems on my desktop built for Windows XP. I used my desktop and Raspberry Pi the fall semester as my linux machines, as well as trying a failed experiment to convert some of the college library computers over to linux, as I was working for the colleges IT department during this time. The following spring semester my transformer pad was severely glitching, became very hit and miss in regards to connecting to USB drives, the attachable keyboard would become unrecognized, the touch screen would stop working, and the only way to get it to work was to restart it, which even then it did not always work. My parents gave me back my initial laptop and I helped them to get a desktop; during the time that my parents had my first laptop, it was force upgraded to Windows 10, even though we had explicitly told it not to. With only a Celeron N2840 and running Windows 10 it was slower than molasses in subzero temperatures, so that was soon changed to Ubuntu MATE, and while I tried it out with Deepin and PopOS it remains, and most likely always shall remain with Ubuntu MATE as it is the only distro that doesn’t look like it was from the pre 90s and responds immediately on this under powered laptop that I am currently using. Now my family thinks I’m a geek because I use linux and such, but 4 years ago I was as clueless as they are. Ubuntu MATE may not be the lightest or prettiest distro every created, it has the best community of any distro out there period and very importantly for me it responds far faster than any other DE on underpowered hardware without necessarily looking like it is has the graphical interface of a TRS 80.


Interesting journey and a bit like my own at times there… from XP to W-7 and then to Crunchbang, after this Openbox Debian distro went defunct, Lubuntu then Ubuntu MATE. I run Debian MATE (Testing) on my ThinkPad, but my wife loves the install I did for her… Ubuntu MATE. So it’s still in the family. Good luck and a wonderful Linux journey ahead for us all. -Peace


Very interesting the way you went. I love to read other people’s computer story and the systems that they used.
The first time I saw a computer was at my sister’s home when I started to study in 1992. They had a Macintosh SE. I’m still surprised how easy I used that system, because where we came from, there have been no computers at all. I wrote a term paper on it, because it was so much better to use than a typewriter. 3 months later, I bought a Mac LC with 2 MB RAM and 40 MB disk space. My brother-in-law updated the RAM from 2 MB to 4 MB. What a comfort. I loved my Mac.
In 2001, I needed a new computer. I went to a party’s headquarter in town, because they had Macs with OSX in their public rooms. I tested the system and decided that the jumping dock and the way how the system worked wasn’t mine.
I bought a Compac with Windows XP. 40MB RAM and a 250 MB hard drive. Wow, I will never use so much RAM and disk space, I thought.
When I left Germany for England in 2007, I gave the PC to somebody. Here in the UK, I bought a XP laptop (still there and runs), 2 years later a Vista laptop (gone meanwhile).
In 2010, a colleague of mine told me about Linux and the project he was involved (let Linux look like Windows XP), and I installed Ubuntu 9.04 in my Vista system as dual boot. I hardly used Ubuntu and decided to give that up when 10.10 was my last Gnome 2 experiment.
In 2012, I bought a Windows 8 laptop, and I liked it in some points. I used it for 3 years, when Microsoft started to screw up Windows 7 and 8.1 systems. For that reason, I never installed 8.1 to avoid Windows 10.
When I started to get issues because of my out of date system, I discovered that many people in Germany use Linux Mint without telling that other people in newspaper comments. I tested Linux Mint, Ubuntu, Debian and approx 15 other distributions in VMware on my work machine.
In December 2017, I saw an entry in a blog about Ubuntu Mate 17.10 and a link to Chris Were’s YouTube channel. It was the first time that I heard of Ubuntu Mate, I watched the video, and got up. It was 10 pm in the meantime, I downloaded UM 17.10, installed it in VMware. That’s the one I was looking for, I said. I went through my list of things which need to work and Ubuntu Mate was the only distro that did everything and it had not a single problem.
For the next 3 months, I did everything private in UM in my VMware, didn’t touch my Win8 laptop.
In March 2018, I installed Ubuntu Mate on 2 laptops. I have never regretted the change. And to confirm what I already knew in December, there are a few 90% distros, but there is only one 100% distro and that is Ubuntu Mate. I :heart: my system, and I have no intention go back to Microsoft or Apple or another Linux distro.


My journey:
I started off at work coding for mainframes in the 1970s, moved on to Atlas, DEC DEC10, PDP-11, VAX and on through some other obscure systems.

I bought an Amstrad PCW for home, followed by a Mac SE and various other Macs. At work, increasingly using Windows or Macs as workstations to access remote servers which were usually running Unix.

At home, finally ditched the Macs about 2011, buying cheap Windows laptops and installing Ubuntu 9.10; Ubuntu 12.04 and now Ubuntu Mate 16.04. Also using iPhones and Android tablets.

I’m very happy with Mate 16.04. Everything I need runs on it or on Wine. Just a little worried about the future - snaps and automatic updating and such like. There’s nothing worse than trying to get something done with a deadline looming when the computer goes offline for an hour or so updating its operating system.