Monday, December 28, 2009

How I got started with Linux

Well as far as I am concerned, I was introduced to Linux in 2006 when my "OS Concepts" lecturer (Mr. Adeel) introduced our whole class to this amazing thing called linux. Before that the picture of linux in my mind was that it is some thing scary, difficult, ugly and without any GUI, one probably has to learn thousands of commands to operate it etc.

Adeel explained to us the phenomenon of Open Source and Free Software which sounded amazing and unbelievable (provided I was a windows addict at that time). Then he showed us some Ubuntu CDs that were delivered to him free of charge! I was stunned, "Operating System that is free! .... they even send you the CDs and pay the shipping costs for you!! WTF is this???"

Well Mr. Adeel encouraged the whole class to use linux and explained very good reasons for that. Well I got interested and went asking for some more details after the lecture, I remember he was very supportive and asked me to buy Red Hat 9 from the market and if I need any help installing it I can call him.

I got motivated and after the university I went straight to a famous market of Rawalpindi (Sadar) and purchased the CDs. I came home (A flat where I was living with two of my class fellows), hooked in the first CD and called Adeel, he guided me through the installation process and explained all the swap and mount point theory but at that time it all went over my head and just did what he told me to and finally i got redhat installed.

It was little odd with big icons, no "My Computer", no "Refresh" button. well all my motivation began to melt as I found out that I have installed Redhat on my C: partition and my WinXP is gone and none of my other partitions were visible! I called him again he told me some mounting commands and i mounted my fat32 drives.

Then what, I cannot play mp3 songs or wmv/wma files or watch the VCD movies! What can I do except for ls, mkdir and mount?? I got really bored along with two of my other room mates (who by the way had no interest in linux what so ever). Any how I called my saviour and queried about how to play mp3 files. He told me to install xine with rpm from the internet. At that time my nearest internet source was the Internet-Cafe down the street! Well i went there, read about how to install xine on Redhat 9 and brought many downloaded html pages and and the file called xine-something.rpm. When I tried to install it it said it has 13 dependencies to be installed first. I got really disappointed and went again to the Internet-Cafe and downloaded all the mentioned dependencies (freshrpms.com/.net was my ultimate source) and came back to install them one by one some of the dependencies weren't relevant and some dependencies required more dependencies, so I have to go back an froth and finally by 12am I was able to play my first song Hoolaalaa. What a day of achievements!!!

In next meetings, Mr Adeel introduced me to the bash scripting and other cool stuff related to linux. And I was totally into linux, admiring it and enjoying it.

Mr. Adeel If you are reading this, thanks for the support, without you I wouldn't have got into linux.

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