My first cup of Linux

My first PC was a P II @266MHz system, with 8 GB HDD and a whooping 32 MB SDRAM. It was by and large a nice configuration then I could easily accommodate Windows 98 in 1 GB and the remaining space was for me to load songs, NFS, games and all goodies.

I used to read a lot of computer magazines, Digit topping the list. In my 11 th standard, along with Developer IQ magazine they shippped a CD containing Mandrake Linux 8.1 (in association with Deep Root Linux in India). Rather adventurous, I wanted to try this new operating system. I had not seen any other OS than the dominant Win 98 and Win 95 in my school PCs. So trying out a new OS was something thrilling.

If I remember correct, it was my summer holidays. So I had all the day to myself. I put the Mandrake CD into the CD-ROM and waited for it to start installation. I was not familiar with the installation procedures, and I was too lazy to read through the installation instructions in the book. I chose the automatic partitioning, defaulted to all the setup options and in the screen wherein Linux configures hardware, I was stuck up with the monitor not getting detected. I started my first line of defence, the ubiquitous (Ctrl + Alt + Del) combination. It dropped me to the command line and told me that system was going for a restart.

Then on restart, it brought the LILO boot screen and halted. I booted into DOS prompt using a boot CD and
tried to see what had happened to my windows data using FDISK. DOS recognized the partition as NON-DOS partition. I cursed myself for ruining a nicely running machine. So I took the second line of defense, reinstalling Linux (this I tried so that I could recover my windows partitions, since the partition manager in the installer of linux was graphical, it was easier.) I installed Linux again. This time I read through each and every screen, that is when I noticed that we had option to dual boot into Windows, choose the boot loader etc. The install was fine till the monitor setup. I chose the Generic Monitor setup this time and it seemed to work. The system was re-booted, and at last I saw dawn. I had booted into a new OS. Mandrake Linux.

KDE was the desktop environment provided. I came to know about the different options available only much later. I was new and everything needed me to go into Root mode and install or update (RPM was available then. I tried installing Java into the system, that is when I found out, it was easier to use shell in Linux than use the graphical tool. I missed my Windows very much. So I popped in my Win 98 CD and started installing it. After install only did I realize that the boot loader was re-written by Windows and I had lost the option of booting into Linux. I didn’t feel for the loss of Linux, as I had my safer, usable and friendly Windows on hand.

PS: Now I can use Linux more effectively. I learnt it the harder way.

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