I started down the PC road with PC-DOS 1.0 — the first version of DOS, distributed by IBM. My mom owned a real IBM PC/XT, and I bought one of the first IBM PC/AT’s (serial number 356).
Over the years, Microsoft has come out with: MS-DOS, Windows 3.1 (I skipped this one), Wndows 3.11, Windows 95, Windows 98 (skipped), Millenium Edition (skipped), Windows 2000, Windows XP, and Windows Vista (skipped). Windows 7 will be out soon, it’s already in wide-spread beta. Of course, the required hardware continues to grow exponentially.
I’ve “repurposed” cast-off Windows PC hardware to run Linux, starting with RedHat 5. Most were HP Vectras dumped by CheckFree Corporation on their annual equipment refresh. The employees and I (I was a consultant) would drag them out of the dumpster and divide the spoils. I now have a CentOS 5.3 system with 3 TB of storage running on a Dell XPS400.
About a month ago, my primary Windows XP system was freezing every few minutes. I knew it was time to reinstall Windows and all my applications again.
Since I had to install something, I decided to Install CentOS instead. I have a tiny Windows XP partition running under vmware because some software isn’t available for Linux, such as Sage Software’s ACT! and its sync software for my Palm phone. I also have an application to track my time as a pilot for the Civil Air Patrol.
It hasn’t been easy — I still can’t scan on my HP printer from Linux. And I haven’t found a Linux application that can do a good job editing PDF’s. But, in all, it’s been a reasonable conversion.
The future? No more re-installs for me. Maybe I can eliminate that Windows partition someday…