Free Software / Open Source Software

Linux (the kernel)

When I first tried to install Linux around 1995, it was an adventure. You had to closely follow the complicated installation instructions which told you how to select the right modules (drivers), partition the harddisk, booting from HD or floppy, deal with SCSI drives, set up swap partitions, and so on. Particularly tricky was the setup of X Window (horizontal and vertical sync frequencies, etc.), so that at the beginning I was glad to have a Linux running at all and didn't bother with the luxury of an X system.

After all, that was Unix, the system of the big machines. At the university, I did all my programming exercises on Unix systems, I wrote my diploma thesis on a Unix system with TeX, at Ericsson Raynet I worked on a SUN SPARC station, so for me, machines for real work had to run Unix. Windows was for gamers.

And for MS Office users. In fact, no Linux distribution offered good alternatives to MS Word, MS Excel, MS Access etc. at that time. So Linux was good to refresh my Unix knowledge, but not yet for practical things like writing letters (if you bought a printer, for example, you had to be very careful to find one that was supported by Linux).