I was rummaging through my closet this evening and I found an old boxed (yes, as in cardboard) copy of “Linux-Mandrake 6.5” that I purchased over a decade ago at a local Wal-Mart. I think I shelled out $39 for this bad boy. Note the highlights:
- Linux Kernel 2.2.13
- KDE 1.1.2
- XFree 3.3.5
- Special versions of PartitionMagic and BootMagic
- 3500+ pages of electronic Linux references from Que and Sams (yes, documentation was a selling point)
- FREE installation technical support
Somewhere around 2001 Mandrake became Mandriva, a company that still produces its own Linux distribution.
I remember formatting my hard drive and trying to work through the text-based installation program that came with Mandrake. The most advanced thing I had done with computers up to that point was install Windows 98 and fudge around with autoexec.bat and config.sys when I needed to get my DOS games to work. I was used to drive letters, and these things called “mount points” sounded pretty scary. Needless to say, I got really, really good at installing Linux that year… mostly because I managed to screw everything up within a day of the install and had to start over. Good times.
I kept this box to remind me that the relationship between curiosity and swearing is linear. OK, I really kept it because I like to be nostalgic about my roots, and my early exposure to the world of Open Source Software set the tenor and pitch for my entire career as a software developer. Now go watch Revolution OS.