Linux has improved by leaps and bounds over the last decade, and more and more people have come to appreciate its power and flexibility. But a redditor recently wondered what it was like to run Linux ten years ago, and he got some very interesting responses from Linux veterans.
His fellow redditors shared their impressions about the Linux experience from ten years ago:
609: “Ubuntu was really starting to get established around 2006-2007 and it definitely drew in a new crowd of people getting excited about using and developing for Linux.
It was so user friendly compared to the distros that came before it, especially the installation process. Personally it’s what got me interested in using it at the time. I’d experimented with a few live CDs, knoppix and Debian based distros before but had never had the guts to install permanently on my machine until Warthog.”
Akkaone: “The installation process was identical to Debians curses based installation in the first Ubuntu realeses. I think the big thing was the desktop was usable out of the box after the installation. It was a updated preconfigured gnome. Everything else was very similar to Debian.”
Bigredradio: “It would depend on your usage of Linux.
Desktop: It was hipster-ish to be running Linux as your primary desktop. KDE vs. GNOME vs. “I don’t use a GUI” were religious ideologies and not just choices. It seemed that every commercial app was going to be replaced with FOSS. Lots of Version 1.0 software that didn’t make it to 2.0. Wine sounded great, but no one can get it to work properly. Getting your wireless card on your laptop to work with Linux was a badge of honor.
Server: Linux Standards Base (LSB) was still a thing and SUSE and REDHAT were pretty similar. Debian still did things their own way. If you were running 64-bit Linux, don’t forget the 32-bit compatibility libraries! That was a problem for a while. What you did with Linux hasn’t changed much (web server, db server, etc) but the internals are totally different with systemd and UDEV. The /sys filesystem in the 2.6 kernel made Linux more mature. Everybody finally moved away from LILO and was using GRUB. Also, sysadmins actually used multiple filesystems for the OS. Now it seems everything just gets put in one big-ass / filesystem.
Now get off my lawn!!”
Factorion: “Writing alsa config files and hoping that they will update their drivers soon to support that new sound blaster card you bought.
Getting pissed at radeon because fglrx never worked with the latest xorg packages for a month or three.
Beryl/compiz fusion! It was fun to have a desktop with graphical effects considering how few games ran on linux at the time
Thinking e17 would be finished sometime soon, despite being on its third reworking from the ground up
mythtv with a cable tuner card, back when both of those were popular and viable”
Deusmetallum: “The biggest difference is drivers. The only reason we’ve managed to come so far is because people have put the time and effort in to making sure that graphics cards and wireless adaptors now work without any pain.
10 years ago, if you bought a laptop, you might spend the first couple of days just getting the wireless working, and that was a huge barrier to entry for newbies.
Today, all works quite well without any in depth knowledge of compiling your own kernel module.”
Nqbw: “Back in the olden days, I remember having to write my own XF86Config in Debian using the refresh rates written on the back of my CRT monitor.
Now it all happens automagically. I don’t miss those days.”
Notahappycamper: “June 2006 was my first taste of Linux. I had no internet connection and was frequenting the local library (12 miles away) with a flash drive trying to download .debs to satisfy dependencies. Eventually got Ubuntu 6.06 working to the point where I could listen to music, play games, do homework (mostly essays), print, etc.
I didn’t have to mess around too much with hardware problems then. Wasn’t until about 2007 that I got my first laptop and had to deal with the hell of getting WiFi to work. 2008 came along and I got my first taste at dealing with ATI graphics drivers.
Once I got all that shit figured out, I was peachy.
These days, it’s all done for you and everyone has internet access. Still have to tweak the Grub config to add some kernel boot params, but it’s rare.
Linux users definitely have it easier than those of us who have been using Linux for the past decade.”
Zachsandberg: “GNOME was fully functional
Getting WiFi drivers to work was sometimes a pain, especially with anything Broadcom
The DE community was less fragmented, because the two major environments, KDE and GNOME, while having different philosophies, were both usable by anyone, as-is.
The aesthetics of this time frame were shaped a lot by Windows Vista, for better or worse. Compiz effects were all the rage as well.
Ubuntu was the driving force of Linux adoption.
Theming was all the rage.
Tablet computing wasn’t a thing (arguably still isn’t).
Touchscreen and pen input wasn’t a consideration in UX design.”
SgtBerbatov: “Well, you can more or less buy any laptop now and install Linux on it, and it’ll pretty much work. 10 years ago if you had a wireless NIC from Broadcom or someone that wasn’t Intel then you had to use ndiswrapper and get the Windows drivers for it, and after a few hours you might have got it working.
Back then Canonical were friendly and would send you 10 CD’s of Ubuntu for free! Along with some stickers! Imagine that. Free CD’s and Stickers.
Also Return to Castle Wolfenstien: Enemy Territory allowed you to play a proper game on Linux, with all the multiplayer Axis/Allies fun you could ever wish for. “Enemy in da skies!”
Ah, 2007. We didn’t know we had it so good.”
Dreakon: “Installs were a bit harder. Not super difficult, but not quite as simple and graphical as they are now. Most were similar to the Windows XP installer or command line based.
Software options were more limited and gaming was not viable at all. You either had simple Homebrew style games, emulators, or super buggy wine stuff.
Drivers were no where near what they are now. You kinda had to pick parts with Linux in mind as some stuff was just impossible to get running.
It wasn’t awful, but it’s gotten so much better.”
Canonical has announced that it will stop supporting Ubuntu Phone in June, and it will close the app store at the end of 2017.
Many Linux users are eagerly awaiting the release of the next version of Ubuntu, and it seems that they won’t have to wait too much longer. Ubuntu 17.10 will be released on October 19, 2107.
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