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Little Linux Flashback (90s)

I started using Linux over 15 years ago. The Linux system (Most often use the terms Linux distributions, because technically Linux is only the kernel) experience has changed a lot over the years.

To give you some perspective, we used these type of computers:

This was in a time, when Linux did not have any USB support, no wireless network support. You'd plugin the CD (if you had one), and end up in a terminal like this (Slackware Linux):

Configuration drama

Then after installing, you'd find out you are still in a terminal. You had to configure this thing called X. You'd run the command xf86config, with which you could configure your graphical settings (screen resolution et al).

But, after doing this, it still would not work. Then you'd run this command many times over trying to get the right settings. After that finally worked (day later), you'd feel happy.

More trouble ahead

Then you'd end up with an antique Gnome desktop. But now, the sound card doesn't work. Again, you spend many hours trying to figure out how that works. Now you have to compile the kernel to include the sound card driver, oh dear.

What's that, you want wireless support? Get ready to compile the kernel yet again! If you are lucky, it won't show the message Kernel Panic.

Modern day Linux

The modern day Linux distribution is much smoother! For most modern Linux distributions, everything works out of the box, including the desktop environment, all the drivers and everything else.

The only trouble I've run into is this "Secure Boot / UEFI" stuff. But that can easily be solved.

You can easily end up with a desktop like this (or any of the others like Gnome, KDE)

elementary os linux

What's your Linux experience been Like? Is this the year of the Linux desktop? :P

Some more Linux links stuff:

Top comments (5)

ferricoxide profile image
Thomas H Jones II

15 years ago and you were still having to wholly recompile the kernel to get a given driver? Linux broke away from that model a lot longer ago than the mid-aughts. I still remember the joy of no longer facing a multi-day compile just to add or update a driver.

...And you haven't lived until you've burnt a phosphor-track into your monitor because your X-config was just ever so slightly "off" in one of its timing values (because the monitor maker wasn't adequately-precise in their published timing-numbers).

codesharedot profile image

It seems it was longer ago, time passes by so quickly

ferricoxide profile image
Thomas H Jones II

Heh... Yeah. When you've lived through the "three days to compile a new kernel and it won't let me login because I referenced the wrong keyboard driver" era, you don't forget when it ends. =)

Long live "Mr. Proper". :p

opensussex profile image

slackware! was my first experience of linux. purely on command line at the time. But this was back in 1995 or so.

Regex for lazy developers

regex for lazy devs

You know who you are. Sorry for the callout 😆