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I first got into Linux when one of my friends, dot-slash, had a dual-booting PC which had openSUSE on it. At the time I was studying for my Physics Degree and the use of Linux looked convenient for my programming module. I played around with a Slax Live CD for about half an hour and then decided "puft - just do it" so I downloaded openSUSE 10 and made my laptop dual-booting. It was then that I saw what a useful and efficient system Linux is in general - way more useful than just a programming system. I used a dual-booting machine all the time as I did a lot of PHP coding (with an Apache Server) for my own website and Fortran coding for my course. After graduating from University I continue to use openSUSE as my main Operating System. I use:
- Amarok for listening to music;
- Firefox for browsing the internet;
- Kontact for email, calendar and RSS feed management;
- Kate (see also KWrite) for coding;
- K3b for ripping CDs to FLAC;
- K9Copy for ripping DVDs to MPEG;
- The GIMP for graphics creation; and
- Kaffeine for watching DVDs.
I still use a dual-boot machine because I am not ready to make the full switch to Linux just yet. There are two reasons for this:
- Games: Most computer games, such as Half-Life 2, use DirectX and hence it is difficult to get them to run on Linux with the same performance as they have under Windows.
- Digital Photography: I am an avid amateur digital photographer and I take all my photos in RAW. Linux has good support for RAW files, via tools like dcraw, but I think that Adobe Bridge with Adobe Camera Raw is the best workflow combination I have found and so I still use it with Windows XP.
If these two issues ever get solved (i.e., games get coded in OpenGL and Adobe releases Creative Suite for Linux) then I will switch 100% to Linux and never look back. I don't mind paying for good software; I would definitely pay for Creative Suite to run on openSUSE - did you hear that Adobe?
I have written a openSUSE 11.1 Tutorial of my experiences with installing and configuring openSUSE a few times. You can also download it as a pdf. It shows how I have configured it to suit my preferences, you can read it if you want - it is aimed at beginners.
I can also be found on Wikipedia too.
Have a lot of fun...