I Was a Linux-er Before Linux Existed

by David (aka RaveDave)

PCLinuxOS 0.93a Junior

Texstar announced the release of PCLinuxOS 0.93a Junior on August 9, 2006.

PCLinuxOS 0.93a Junior was the next step up from MiniMe. Junior comes with just the basic desktop allowing full user customization.

PCLinuxOS 0.93a Junior is a self booting Live CD with advanced hardware detection. In addition to running Junior in Live CD mode, you can also install it to your computer. Easy to follow instructions are included on the Live CD as well as a chat channel for instant help.

Junior comes with a set of pre-selected programs for Web Browsing, Email, Instant Messaging, Blogging, IRC chat, Music, Graphics, Video (additional software required for encrypted DVD playback and proprietary formats), Digital Camera, Games, Ftp, Bit torrent transfer, CD/DVD burning and more.

If you are a first time Linux user or someone migrating from Windows then PCLinuxOS 0.93a Junior is a great way to get started using Linux. After installing PCLinuxOS to your computer, you can access an additional 5000 programs and libraries from our free software repository.

The current list of programs on Junior can be found at http://www.pclinuxos.com/page.php?12l.

Travel Agents are indeed helpful people, they can sell you a ticket for a trip to almost anywhere, but they can't sell you one for your Journey into Linux.

That is a ticket which can only be self-issued. As with any journey, you need a reason to make it, somewhere to travel from, and a destination at which to arrive. Some people like things quite well enough where they are, and see no reason to move on. Others are the more restless types, bored by limited sameness, frustrated by restrictions, so that they are drawn to seek wider experiences, more challenges, more choices, more everything, even before they know that is really a "more", at all. I was a Linux-er before Linux existed.

At least I was in the Era of Windows-2.0, 1987, which promised so much, and yet did so very little. Somehow I knew that I wanted more - more functions, more choices, more everything. I was like poor Oliver Twist, "Please, Sir, may I have some more...?" But I received the same answer as Oliver. In 1987, Linus Torvalds had not yet made his own "little program" to use at home, because he could not afford to buy a copy of Minix. But my journey began , out of DOS, into Windows, and what I wanted, the "More Everything", whether it then existed or not, was a user-usable, PC-friendly, Linux.

Some journeys go neither as planned, nor even as wished for. Oh, were interesting, even promising, way points: Windows 3.0, released too early - and where have you heard that before? It's successor, Windows 3.1, was sort-of, nearly-almost, what Bill Gates had promised in the late 1980s: "A new Windows, with pretty pictures, moving pictures, a new user experience, as good as a Mac - but under half the price!" That, after the hiccup of Windows 3.0, and the hurried release of 3.1, might have amused the Mac fans, but it wasn't actually "As good as a Mac".

Windows was very far from that, and it still is. Windows 95, with its Windows 98 and 98SE upgrades, didn't do it, either. But I kept on with Windows, eagerly awaiting every 'fanfared' "new innovation", to see if that would at last have the "More Everything". Along the journey, due to a shoulder injury that meant I could no longer do heavy lifting, and so could not continue as a semi-trailer operator, I needed a change of career. I had no business or trades skills, so, what to do next? To turn a hobby into a job seemed to be a possibility, so I retrained as, at first, a Computer Assembler, then as a Tech Assistant.

Next, I worked in an assembly shop, then as a workshop and front-counter assistant in suburban PC dealerships. I was introduced to the idea that PC Owners are the "Sheep". What happens to Sheep, needs no reminder. After quite some time, I was able to obtain "proper" Technician Certification, CompTIA's A+, only to have employers state, when I displayed it, "Oh, that's American, it doesn't apply here!" when I thought it would get me a little more pay. Actually, it is recognised in the Australian IT Industry - just that it "selectively" is not, by suburban dealership owners who don't want to pay "Trades" level wages.

But it was, at least, an "Oh, you've done that one, have you?" help in getting work. So I did get quite an interesting insight into the PC side of the Industry, and into the industry's all-too-common treatment of the users, bringing their ailing Windows PC's in for troubleshooting and repairs. Or the attitudes taken with those wanting a PC built, to a price, or for a purpose, or even, the "Latest and Best of Everything, mate!" from the ones with deeper wallets. Sadly, and often, we were not entirely truthful with "best", or even "Fully adequate for your needs, Ms/Sir". Because those PC's, whatever the prices, were never the "best of everything". They were Windows PC's, 95s, 98s, 98SEs, even the 'interim' ME-gap-fillers.

Then, of course, came Our Bill's "one-platform" dream, as 9x finished, and NT escaped the confines of the commercial networks, and onto the XP-PC's of an unsuspecting world. More? Of everything? Not even halfway-nearly. Change the desktop graphics, enlarge the file sizes that are manageable, give it a lot more processor and RAM, and an XP-PC is Win98SE on steroids. Not very good steroids at that, from the user side, at least. For me, "Windows" began in the 1980s, and ended in March, 2000, with Windows 98SE2, the last of "real 9x". The last PC-designed O/S from Microsoft.

NT was never "Windows" to me, and until the advertising for the "newly innovated" NT-4, it wasn't to Microsoft either. In fact, the Microsoft Press Tech Manuals (plural for years), insisted that NT wasn't to be deployed into the domestic environment... Oh, they did the best they could, with what they had, sort of. And long ago, Bill's promise did indeed put Windows-3.x PC's into millions of homes. That established the user-base of what is now well over 90% of the Western World's PC's. A remarkable achievement, to have over half a billion users quite convinced that their PC has the "Everything", and does "Everything", that a Home Computer could possibly do. When it does not, that is.

So over half-a-billion users can be wrong, without of course, almost all having the first clue that they just might be. Many are as yet unaware that my wild-mad-dream of the 1980s has finally come true. "More Functions - More Choices - More Everything", has really arrived. Ushered in by an elegantly tuxed penguin, even the "more-choices", has "more choices". There is certainly no shortage of Linux distros that can be run on a home computer. The user dilemma now is which "More Functions", and which "More Everything", do they want with their "More Choices", of distros.