Thursday, October 20, 2005

Excerpt: Evolution of a Linux User

To be published in Computerworld on Campus, December 2005 issue. I hope.

While some people complain that they're so used to Windows and therefore find it impossible to use any other operating system, I found I was in the opposite situation some weeks ago. A friend had just offered me a web development contract and when I thought I heard that it would run on a Windows server, I panicked. "I only use Linux! I can't do Windows!"

So how, you might wonder, do I find myself in these straits?

Some four years ago, in a fit of guilt, I wiped out Windows 95 from my home computer and replaced it with Red Hat 6.2, then the most popular Linux distribution. The guilt stemmed from two reasons: first, I was supposed at the forefront of local open source initiatives for the company that I was working for; and second, because the copy of Windows running on my PC wasn't exactly legit.

I had been dual-booting between Windows and Linux for some time, but I always found myself defaulting back to Windows. Why? Because that was the operating system and the mindset that I was used to. By forcing myself to work exclusively with Linux, at least at home, I would be in a better position to extol its virtues.

In hindsight, that move paid off rather well. I wrote about my experiences with Linux and out of that came Linux Links, weekly column in Inq7.Net, the online edition of the Philippine Daily Inquirer. I made several friends because of Linux Links, and it's quite gratifying to hear some people say that they liked what I wrote, even two years after I stopped the column.