Time to join the fray!
My first Linux experience was LinuxFT that I installed on my ex's father's brand new Pentium 75 around 1994. It was on CD rather than floppy although rawrite was still needed to make the two boot floppies! Back then Personal Computer World (PCW) Magazine was incredibly proactive in including FT and Slackware on it's new for the time cover CDs.
Utter n00b that I was at the time I had no idea what partitioning was and blew away the DOS partition on the gargantuan 500MB hard disk.
After faintly realising the ramifications of what I had just done it was not long after that to my horror I discovered that you couldn't boot from a Colorado Backup tape. And least of all pretend that nothing at all had happened and it wasn't my fault.
I also remember that it was the first (but certainly not the last) time that I saw LI instead of LILO.. and I also learned the value of keeping MS-DOS disk 1 of 3 handy at all times for a boot and a good old fdisk /mbr
Around the same time a friend (who now works for Canonical) had a 386 SX-16 and 2Mb of RAM. He decided to recompile his kernel and it took (no exaggeration) 6 days.
For the want of a math co-processor!
After my LinuxFT foray it was various Slackware distros. A brief dabble in RedHat 4.1, 5 and 6 before settling on SuSE 6.1 around 1998 or 1999. SuSE was fantastic in those dial-up days because the box set had 6 CDs with all you could need and a brilliant printed manual.
Skip forward 10 years from SuSE 6.1 and I'm now running Ubuntu on servers, Mint on my work laptop (With Windows 7) and Linux on the desktop is nowhere near a reality as it was back then with the travesty's that are Unity, KDE 4.x and Gnome 3. If anything it's worse.
Of course the various Window managers and "desktop environments" have bugger all to do with the kernel itself but even after 16 years I can only think of Linux as a server operating system. This wasn't the case 5 years ago when Ubuntu came on the scene but there seems to have been plenty of retro steps and a "screw you because that's why" philosophy that is pervading in the desktop arena.
I know there are plenty of choices when it comes to desktops other than the "Big 3" but I'm tired and weary of it now by this stage.. Which I suppose is sad in a way.
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