Sunday, February 1, 2009

My Introduction to Open Source

The first time I bumped into open source was when I used Mozilla's Firefox web-browser that was installed on one of the computers at a client's office (I might have installed a couple of open source utility programs on Windows, but they never made the concept so clear). That was way back in 2005. It was only then that I came to know that there was an alternative to Internet Explorer. Later that year, I came across a RedHat Linux Desktop at another client's office, and it was then that I came to know that there was an alternative to MS Windows. I found Firefox interesting, and I installed it on my computer. Thus I had my first rendezvous with open source. Firefox became my window to open source programs. A little googling on Mozilla, and I had a snapshot of open source philosophy. The ease of use, and flexibility of Firefox made it an instant hit for me. I wonder if I would have even known about tabs and add-ons and other cool stuff like that had I not come across this amazing piece of software then.

Until a little more than a year ago, just as the majority of us, even I believed that Linux is used only on servers, or for computer geeks who are good at using commands. Then I read this article about Linux in a newspaper. That spiked my interest in Linux. Again, I asked my good friend Google, and it directed me to this website which gave the basic background and a little encouragement that I needed to probe further. I also found another website which hosted screenshots of most of the Linux distributions. Kubuntu looked very much like what I was used to to see in Windows. That plus a few bling-bling videos on encouraged me a little more. Furthermore, it also gave me an option to request for CD to be shipped to my doorstep free of cost! I requested one as the my internet connections was very slow. Though the site mentioned a shipping time of 4 to 6 weeks, it reached me before 3 weeks. I put the CD into my computer, and the romance started!