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My Experience with GNU/Linux

The Beginning

My Dell Inspiron N4010 came preinstalled with Windows 7 Home Basic. After one year or so, I decided to try out GNU/Linux. Why you say? Well, my interest grew when I came to who about the concept of Open Source Software. I started exploring Wikipedia to know more about Open Source Software. Read lots of articles there, and came across the licensing term GPL numerous number of times. While investigating what GPL was, I came to know about the GNU Project, the Free Software Foundation and the GNU/Linux OS. Then, I thought about giving GNU/Linux I try. Now, everybody has a vision about GNU/Linux.. It is THE operating system which a techie would use. And it is free. So let's download and install it!! But........ What to download?

The Installation

The first thing I realized, there were lots of different downloadable distribution of GNU/Linux. Now the question was, which one to choose? So as I figured, with some help from Google of course, Ubuntu was (and still is) the most popular one.So I downloaded the Ubuntu 11.10 64 bit CD image. Next was the most challenging part, the installation. How do install Ubuntu but don't erase my disk?!?!? I burned the CD image and inserted the DVD in the tray. Thought I will figure out the way (We are geeks, right??? Who needs a manual!! :D) And...... I messed up the Windows Boot Loader :D So had to fix that before I could try installing Ubuntu again. After that, I chose to install Ubuntu in an easier way, inside Windows, like any other program.

The Experience

Screenshot of Ubuntu 13.10's desktop
Ubuntu 13.10
This time, the installation went smoothly. Started Ubuntu for the first, and I was beautiful!! I took me a while to get used to the idea of "everything is a file, what is not a file is a process". There was so much to learn. The most amazing part of using a GNU/Linux OS is that one gets to know how the whole system really works, and if you don't like how it works (or looks), you can tweak it just the way you want. I got to learn so much about the computers, about how they work, which I don't think would have been possible if I were on Windows, as Windows hides the details of a system. The next big thing I discovered was GNU Emacs, more than just a text editor. If I hadn't discovered GNU Emacs, I don't think I would ever have been able to know just how much processing power a text editor can have. GNU Emacs is the way of life.

So if you are a geek (may be self-proclaimed? same here :D),  give GNU/Linux a try (and GNU Emacs) You wouldn't want to go back. I would recommend Ubuntu for first time users. It's simple, beautiful and user-friendly. And if you are stuck, there's always help available at Ask Ubuntu.

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