It was the summer of 2008. My Windoze® PC™ was brought to it's knees by poor programming: a messed up registry, troubles booting, and other general problems. I had always followed the strictest of security measures on my home PC (I used the most configurable and best firewall that I had ever used - Sygate Personal Firewall Pro, as well as employing an entire suite of Antiviral, AntiSpyware, and AntiAdWare programs). Of course I did, it's what I used for everything. Unfortunately, even though I had no viruses to speak of, and no malware, adware, rootkits, etc, it was still rendered useless by a failure to boot up. Booting into Windoze® Safe Mode™ and using the built-in diagnostic tools (which I had years of experience with) revealed an entire score of registry issues, and general errors which would have taken an entire week to resolve. this meant that I had to initiate the Windoze® Failsafe Procedure™ - wipe the boot partition and start fresh.
I was OK with this, as I had done it several times in the past (being a long time Windoze® User™). This time, however, was the first time that I had done so with this version of Windoze® XP™ (the local computer shop that built my Windoze® PC™ had set this up), and in doing so, I found myself staring at an activation screen when I booted up for the first time (after fully reinstalling). I had some experience with Windoze® Support™ in the past, and remember what a hassle it was just to ask simple questions. This time was no exception. The person on the phone demanded my activation key, which was on the sticker on the side of my Windoze® PC™. Unfortunately, it was snugly nestled in a spot between my desk and another piece of furniture, with my girlfriend sitting at her desk on the other side gaming on her Windoze® PC™. this made it nearly impossible to wrestle my Windoze® PC™ out from there. Unable to locate the key on any of the papers that came with my copy of Windoze® XP™, I explained to him the situation, and in response, I got treated as though I was a criminal. Even asking questions about where else it could be located resulted in contemptuous responses. Frustrated, I hung up.
At this point, I had been playing with Ubuntu - partly out of sheer curiosity, partly because I had learned of increased framerates when gaming (I had a severe WoW® addiction), and partly because I had heard that Linux provides much better tools and information for problem solving (I always had a 'mess with the computing stuff' addiction). My Ubuntu CD arrived by mail a couple of months beforehand, and I had played around in it during WoW® downtime, or just when I didn't feel like PvP and we weren't raiding. Angered and embittered, I put in my Ubuntu CD, and started fresh again.
This time, I felt less prepared, and knew there would be a hard learning curve. Already having some experience with the distro, and being the type of person that likes to problem solve my own computing issues rather than take them to a store and pay someone else to do it, I didn't find it incredibly difficult. Even with the fact that I was forced to use public computers to grab the packages I needed due to some issues that I was having with my ISP, I found it fairly simple with Synaptic Package Manager, since it output a list of files for me in a bash script, and I could just download them from the packages.ubuntu.com site. I had taken my first big step in the Linux world, and I had felt more free than ever. To me, the 'F' in FOSS, meant freedom from being treated like a criminal by the people who you are supposed to feel valued by.
These days, I use Lubuntu for it's speed, and Arch when I want to dig in and learn stuff, or just play around - although truthfully, I do far too much 'playing around' in Lubuntu as well.
Courtenay, BC, Canada
Absorbing information; Martial Arts; Computing; Linux