The first of anything is usually the best. Not always, but usually.
The way we figure it, that includes the first time a person installs and uses GNU/Linux. Wasn’t that a special experience? We know it was for us.
For many of us, there are a lot of “firsts” tied up with that virgin install of a Linux distribution. For some it might be a first experience partitioning a hard drive. Back when most of us here were doing our first Linux installation, part of the FUD out of Redmond was that partitioning a disk was no territory for non technical types like us. We even remember hearing warnings on local “computer talk” radio shows, warning us to not even think about trying to partition a drive ourselves. Somehow, though, we all managed to survive with our existing file systems intact, even though a few of us will admit to having been white knuckled nervous Nellies at the time.
Another big first, and we do mean a big first, is that the first Linux installation might be for some the first up close and personal experience with a computer running anything other than a Redmond or Cupertino product. That, of course, wouldn’t be true for everybody, since many of us come from the time before the “IBM compatible PC,” when practically every brand of consumer computer came with it’s own OS. But for those who both never worked in IT and who came of age post Windows 95, Windows and/or some version of the Mac OS might represent the sum of all computer operating system experience.
Then there’s that other great first, that first look at some of the great free and open source software that ships with Linux distributions, opening a world that had up until then been nonexistent. Remember the rush, when your first installation was complete and you watched your computer boot into the strange new world of whatever desktop environment was the default on your new chosen distro? How exciting it was, searching through the menu, clicking on this, clicking on that, having a first look at GIMP, AbiWord, Evolution, KMail, Konqueror, Galeon and more. Wow! How weird it was to discover browsers not branded as Internet Explorer or Netscape, full featured photo editing without the Adobe imprint, and office suites that had nothing to do with Microsoft or WordPerfect.
What distro was your first Linux date?
For our poll, there’s absolutely no way we can list every single GNU/Linux distro that might qualify–we’re not even going to try. What we’ve done is take a cue from last week’s FOSS Force Poll and offer the top ten distros from the “Page Hit Ranking” on DistroWatch. Those of you who’s first distro wasn’t one of these ten, which we assume will be most of you, just need to select “Other” and type in the name of the distro you consider your first. Don’t type in more than one name or we won’t count your vote–we just want the very first distro with which you “went steady.”
We’re also especially interested in your thoughts and comments on your first experiences with the penguin. You can feel free to share those with us by using the comment section below this article.