I tired Linux a few times in the past, but didn’t really start using seriously until 2019. I love poking around old OSs and distros, and I want to spin a few up in some VMs my next free evening.

Any suggestions? Open to any distro (or let’s be honest, DE). Any versions that holds a special place in your heart or that’s exceptionally novel? Really interested to see what’s out there!

    • ace_garp@lemmy.world
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      6 days ago

      Yeah, Knoppix was kind of a ‘Tucows vibe’ distro. Pretty approachable.

      Zen Linux was another short-lived 2005 liveDistro, which had a nice feel and Art.

      Also, installing all https://trisquel.info/ versions side-by-side and doing a 17 year fast-forward would be cool.

    • FigMcLargeHuge@sh.itjust.works
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      7 days ago

      Same. I also have an old Backbox distro that I used daily for years and every once in a while fire it back up for shits and giggles.

  • Bilb!@lem.monster
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    6 days ago

    Anyone else get free Ubuntu CDs shipped to their house? I think I had 7.10 (Gusty Gibbon) shipped to my house back in 2007.

    Otherwise, Mandrake Linux was my first “good” distro. I first tried one called Lycoris which claimed to be an beginner’s distro with it’s own DE, and it was impressive how well it handled setting up a dual boot installation and at the time it was a revelation that I could use a computer without Windows. I didn’t begin preferring linux until I tried Mandrake with KDE 3, though.

  • My first distribution was Slackware 7.1 when I was in high school. It took a week to download the .iso on dialup, and I had to use a download manager (GetRight) so that I could resume the partial download any time the connection dropped (usually because someone had to use the phone).

    I’m old o_o

    I still vividly remember not being able to figure out how to install new packages, or knowing how to compile from source.

    • LeFantome@programming.dev
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      5 days ago

      I still fondly remember sitting in the Sun Lab at University downloading SLS disk by disk.

      SLS 1.0.x still had Linux kernel 0.9x on it.

      Just getting X at all on your own PC was like a magic trick.

      • The number of hours I put into figuring out what X was, the difference between XFree86 and X.ORG , fixing resolution and DPI issues, installing video card drivers (mostly nVidia)… I think all that tinkering prepared me for my career as a systems admin.

        I think Slackware came with KDE, which is probably why I leaned toward it for so long. I’ve been using XFCE for many years, now.

    • UpperBroccoli@lemmy.blahaj.zone
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      6 days ago

      Slackware 2.x, on two floppies. A boot and a root disk, downloaded from a BBS using a dial-up connection (I think it was a 57.6 modem). No X, but I still loved it, so much better than DOS.

      • Oh I remember those disks :D I think I had to either pull them off the ISO, or download them separately so that I could boot the system to the point where A: the install could occur at all and B: it had enough drivers to use the CD-ROM drive XD

  • MessyEh@lemmy.ca
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    6 days ago

    Mandrake 6.0 was my first distro in '98-'99. Mandrake hasn’t existed for a long time now; I have no idea if you can still find an old iso of it. It used KDE 1.1.1 as it’s DE, and to this day, KDE has remained my preferred DE.

  • lnxtx@feddit.nl
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    7 days ago

    Early versions of Ubuntu,
    Red Hat before RHEL,
    Mandrake/Mandriva.

  • dallen@programming.dev
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    6 days ago

    Crunchbang (#!) linux breathed live into some very wimpy hardware I’ve had in the past.

    Loved the minimalism.

  • Handles@leminal.space
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    6 days ago

    I’m still nostalgic for CrunchBang, and I continue to use OpenBox with any distro I try… Keep your DEs, I’m good 😄

    • spicy pancake@lemmy.zip
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      5 days ago

      CrunchBang was my jam in late high school. I couldn’t believe how much more lightweight it was compared to Lubuntu, which had been my main for years due to having a potato laptop

      • Handles@leminal.space
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        5 days ago

        Right? Those terrible low-spec, off-the-shelf laptops can really cook with Openbox on a Linux distro.

      • spicy pancake@lemmy.zip
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        5 days ago

        I respect Bunsenlabs for lacking the chaotic instability that I loved to hate about Crunchbang in high school, and which I hate to wish I could love as a busy adult requiring a stable system…

  • lemmyvore@feddit.nl
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    7 days ago

    Red Hat used to be a really solid choice for desktop back in the 90s and early 2000s. Some milestone releases:

    • 6.2 was the first version to put up ISO images for install. This is the one to get if you really want a blast from the past (early version of anaconda installer, ext2, LILO bootloader, Linux 2.2, Gnome 1 etc.)
    • 7.3 was the last version to come with the Netscape browser.
    • 9.0 was the last version before they split into Fedora and RHEL. It’s the last and most mature desktop release of that era, included the “Bluecurve” unified look and feel introduced in 8.0 but had bugfixed versions of KDE and Gnome.
    • LeFantome@programming.dev
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      5 days ago

      What do you mean 6.2 was the first version to put up ISO images for install? I installed 5.2 from ISO not long ago. I have installed 4.2 in the past.

      I think it was 4.2 that came with the “awesome” window manager.

      • lemmyvore@feddit.nl
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        5 days ago

        Before 6.2 you had to get them on actual CDs which wasn’t an option in many places. Starting with 6.2 they put them online on FTP.

        • LeFantome@programming.dev
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          3 days ago

          I may be remembering wrong but I am sure I got CD images off FTP for earlier versions as well.

          I have been downloading Linux since grabbing floppy images of SLS, used Red Hat for years, and do not remember having more than one version on actual CD that I did not burn myself ( for sure never DVD ).

    • afSegelhud@lemmy.world
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      6 days ago

      Yes. I think around Red Hat 6 was the first time I compiled the kernel to make sure some hardware worked. Good times

  • SeikoAlpinist@slrpnk.net
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    3 days ago
    • ZenWalk was unique and great about 15 years ago as an easy Slackware with minimalist install.
    • Chakra Linux was an Arch+KDEmod distro that kind of went away.
    • Bodhi Linux has its own desktop called Moksha.
    • There is a GNUstep Live CD that comes out every few years, based on Debian. It is a unique setup from a time when the future of computing was promising. I think it is distributed on LinuxQuestions or some other forum.
    • There was a distro called gOS about 15 years ago that used a lot of desktop widgets and Google apps. Their business model was basically, “We are going to re-skin Ubuntu and call it gOS and hope Google buys us.” It did not work out.
    • Darwin was upstream for macOS and for many years, there was a community of users who would port the traditional *NIX stack to it. Xorg, traditional window managers, a ports system, etc.
    • Frugalware Linux was well polished and kind of a spiritual successor to Zenwalk.
    • openSUSE 10.3 had the most beautiful Gnome setup. It was unique in that it had a single panel, a modified Clearlooks theme, and a Vista-style start menu.
    • OpenSolaris likewise had a very unique and beautiful look, with its macOS-inspired Nimbus theme. I think this was the best looking theme of that era.
    • SimplyMEPIS was my first Linux on a T61. I had used FreeBSD for the decade prior. I don’t know what was better about SimplyMEPIS than Debian, nor do I know what SimplyMEPIS meant versus regular MEPIS. It’s kind of like Claws Mail and Sylpheed Claws. Some times we just throw words together and give it an icon and there it is.

    I used all of these at some point.

  • Flaky@lemmy.zip
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    7 days ago

    Ubuntu in the early 2010s, with GNOME 2 and Compiz. The Compiz era of desktops was real fun and I’d love for that to come back with a vengeance. MATE is working on Wayland support with Wayfire (essentially like Compiz but for Wayland) as the compositor AFAIK, so it might very well come back and be improved (apparently the Compiz codebase is… not great?)