My Journey into Linux

Kathleen LeBlanc

My name is Kathleen LeBlanc, and I am almost 16 years old. My journey into Linux began when my grandfather (Papa) bought a book called "Knoppix Hacks" and it came with Knoppix 3.6 on a "LiveCD". We had been using some Open Source software for awhile like Firefox and Thunderbird and I really liked them. After booting the LiveCD, I was first impressed with the theme (a silver pocket knife opened on a black background) and the icon set. I explored the menus and soon realized that everything I used on Windows had an equivalent application and in some cases the same application (ex. Limewire). A few days of playing later and Papa walked me through installing Knoppix next to my Windows, what he called a "dual boot." Over the course of the next couple of weeks I found that I booted into Windows less and less. Eventually I found that the only thing I needed in Windows was Word and Powerpoint, as Open Office was not quite as feature rich. I found many wonderful applications like The Gimp, Gaim, Rhythmbox, Amarok, and Xmms. I continued to use Knoppix even though the rest of the family was migrating to a different Linux distro called Simply Mepis. My Papa had also found this in a book called "Point and Click Linux."


A month or so later, I happened to sit down and use my Papa's computer and his desktop looked completely different from mine. I began to cruise around in the menus and the panels and before I knew it I had found what would become my desktop environment of choice which I still use today. When Papa came home from work I told him that I wanted his desktop on my computer. He then told me that it was called Gnome and that it was entirely different in many ways from the KDE desktop I had been using. Since I am really into Tinkerbell, faeries, and trolls, something called Gnome was just too cool. We then installed Simply Mepis and added Gnome using Kpackage. Papa and I run Gnome and my Mema and younger sister prefer KDE. I find that with Gnome everything is more intuitive, or put another way, everything is where I would expect it to be. I used Mepis from version 2004.04 up to 3.4.3 where things started not working properly. At this point Papa switched the whole family to PCLinuxOS .92. He had been using it since .81 as one of several distros that he keeps on his computer.

I loved the default blue theme (at the time my favorite color) but I had to install Gnome (themed it blue) so that I felt comfortable. I have found PCLinuxOS to be as stable as a 12 legged coffee table. With the release of Open Office 2, I could finally leave Windows behind and I now use it for all of my school related activities. Although I still use Firefox, I have been experimenting with Flock. If you use Myspace, Ebay, or other such sites, Flock has some neat features. Amarok has replaced Rhythmbox because it has more features like the last fm plugin that allows me to let my friends know what music I am listening to in real time. The Gimp is still my favorite picture editor and maker but Cinepaint and Showfoto have many useful functions. Kpackage has been replaced with Synaptic for my package management needs. Although my Linux experiences have been more with the use of applications than trying different distros, I firmly believe that PCLinuxOS is the most user friendly and stable distro I have used.