Today I talked with Dodji Seketeli about misc things and noticed that I started 10 year of using Debian GNU/Linux.
First attempts were on my Amiga 1200 equipped with Apollo 1240/40 expansion board (I had 32/48/64MB of RAM on it) and Fast-ATA controller. After installation of “slink” I was playing with system and then moved to “potato”. In Polish Amiga magazine “eXec” I put my article about installing Debian on Amiga systems and also updated “potato” official installation guide. Those were crazy times. All I had was VGA mono text console because running X11 on AGA graphics chipset resulted in very slow display so it was unusable for any serious use. But I learnt lot of things which I was not able to learn on my user accounts on misc x86 Linux boxes. For example with my friend we connected his Commodore 128D via serial line and used to do email/www/irc from it (via serial->ssh connection).
It was also first time when I used cross-compiler — I used PentiumII based Linux machine to build Amiga (m68k) kernels. It gave nice speedup (also due to much faster harddisk interface).
In 2001 I sold my Amiga system and moved to x86 land. Here amount of available Linux distributions was much wider (for Amiga/m68k only Debian was available) but as I knew Debian I decided to stick with it. After years I have to admit that it was one of my best decisions when it comes to computers.
I even used Debian on 386sx based PC with 5MB of memory — it was nice terminal to my main box :)
Why Debian and not RedHat/Mandriva/LFS/Gentoo? I think that this is due to DFSG and that license stuff is very good solved. As a result I do not have to check license of application if I want to hack it. I only need to check does it is in “main” part of repository.
OK, some people can say that Debian has very long release cycle… But I use “sid” (aka “unstable”) not releases (aka “stable”) so the only thing which touch my systems is sometimes lack of newest software (but usually it lands in “experimental” branch).