I didn’t come to the Mac overnight, though it must have seemed that way to my friends and
family. One day, I was extolling the virtues of Linux and open source; the next, I was talking
about the Macintosh platform with nearly as much vigor.
My first computer was an Atari 1040ST, a stunning piece of machinery for 1986. It was
available for less than $1,500 and came equipped with an entire megabyte of RAM. I hadn’t
been in the fledgling computer club in school during the 70s, and I really couldn’t put my

finger on why I had any interest at all in computers. In fact, I’m not sure I had even seen one
before taking a sales job at a Federated electronics store. Computers were for geeks, after all
(or, as we so mockingly called them in school, nerds). But from the first time I connected to
CompuServe, computing had its hooks in me deeply. In just a few short weeks, I had made
friends with a fellow computer enthusiast in our city of Arlington, Texas, and we managed
to battle it out in mock dogfights online with a crude flight simulator for hours on end. Our
families quickly tired of the sound of the modem when they called. According to my wife, I
had clearly developed a substance-abuse problem. I had. The substance was silicon.
My strong affinity for computing continued, but by 1996, I had begun to tire of the install/
reboot/blue screen sequence of the young Windows 95. I acquired a Toshiba Infinia, a reason-
ably stout machine for its time, and often lugged a thick, heavy Compaq laptop to and from
work. But I felt constrained, limited by the roadblocks that seemed built into Windows.
One day at work, I commiserated with a friend who happened to work in our company’s
IT department. He nodded his agreement without saying much, pulled on his ponytail, and
let me finish. Then, almost casually, he mentioned, “I’ve been playing with this new operating
system. It’s called Linux. Been out for a few years. It’s not easy to get configured, but it’s pretty
powerful and interesting.”
Challenging, powerful, and interesting—that description caught my attention. “Where
can I get it?” I asked.
“Net. It’s free.”
It took just a few all-nighters at home to research this new operating system, find and
download the install diskettes (the Infinia had no CD burner, and ISO images of the few
Linux distributions were few and far between), and fail miserably at the first several installa-
tion attempts. With each failed installation, I would give up and reinstall Windows, adding
yet more hours to the already painful process. But with each attempt, the challenge rose a
bit higher, until I resolved that no simple computer was going to defeat me. I researched,
learned, and researched some more. When I discovered a HOWTO on dual-booting Windows
and Linux, the lights started to come on. Shortly after, I got my first good installation of Red
Hat 4.0, dual-booting with Windows 95, and was off to the races. I made a commitment when
that installation was complete that I would use Windows only when absolutely necessary,
and that it wouldn’t be necessary too often. And I found my powerful, flexible, challenging
operating system of choice. In short, Linux revived my love of computing, making my wife

About AnhTuan

Giáo Viên Tiếng Anh tại Buôn Ma Thuột-Đăklăk

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