I am constantly trying new releases and distributions. Sometimes you just have to go back to where you started and stick with the familiar however.

My first taste of Linux was back in 2001 when my old Macintosh WGS-7250 was having issues. I went looking for a better OS and found that unless I upgraded my hardware to include a DOS card, I was pretty much limited to Mac OS.

Mac OS 9 came out in those spiffy 'new' all in wonders called the iMac, but I wasn't about to fork over that kind of dough.

I went searching online and found Mandrake 8.0. I downloaded it, tried to install it, and failed. I lost my working OS, and I had nothing more than a HUGE paperweight.

Discouraged, I paid the only Mac specialist in El-Paso, Texas more moey than I wanted to in order to get him to re-install OS 8 and upgrade to 8.6. I left Linux alone for a while.

I bought a PC and thought that it would be easy to transfer my files from the Mac, but the Mac didn't have a CD burner, USB, or Firewire (IEEE-1394, or as my Sony VAIO PC called it, i-Link).

Again, I was looking at Linux, but I was afraid to try installing it again because I didn't have the Mac discs.

I decided to install Manrake 9 on my PC, dual-booting so that I didn't lose my precious XP. My reasoning was simple; I would install Linux on the PC and then take the linux box to a friend's house and transfer the files over dial-up.

I had read that Mac and PC don't speak the same language, but although Linux was different than both, it could help with the transfer.

I tried and tried, but I couldn't ever figure it out. I started experimenting with Red Hat, then I found out about Debian. Back then, the ony things I knew about Linux were the names of those distributions, and that they were all free to download.

Over the course of the last five years, I've managed to test free software for Mac, Windows, and Linux. I stay with free because I am cheap.

I saw Mandriva 2005 on the cover of a magazine and I bought it. I installed it, and my laptop at the time couldn't handle it. It took me a couple of weeks to figure out the framebuffer and once I had video, I had no sound. Forget internet! That old laptop was a Compaq Presario from the stone age!

My boss saw me stuggling and he had a slightly better laptop that he wanted to offload. He bought a new one and gave his old one. I had the same issues with the sound card drivers.

I had a reputation back then, of being the guy to fix computers. Many of the guys I worked with also had old laptops that didn't run anymore. I fixed them with either Windows or by installing Linux. The guys only wanted to search the internet for pictures of naked ladies, so it didn't matter to them whether it was Windows or Linux.

I found that by testing several distributions like Knoppix and Fedora, that I could get the laptop to do sound and video some of the time.

I decided that it was time to buy a 'new' laptop. This time last year, I bought my Averatec AV-3715-KD1. This is the same thing as the ED-1, but it has a Korean keyboard. My wife made me agree not to break this one.

I was happy when I put Mandriva 2006 on this computer. It was familiar. It was like putting on an old pair of shoes. Everything worked properly, except that I couldn't figure out the wireless. I tried every distribution on the cover of every major linux magazine for the last year, and only twice did my wireless work. You would think that if a live distribution worked with my wireless adapter that once I installed it to the hard drive it would work again, but it didn't. Another curiosity is that the hard drive install that did work in the hotel in the US didn't work in my apartment in Korea. I checked the settings, they were the same.

I finally got Mepis to work wireless, in my house, but only because I accidentally found "mutilities". I tried using Konsole to configure my wlan0 but the changes wouldn't stick. Even after I brought the interface down and got the stupid thing to register my essid, the internet still wouldn't work.

I was so displeased with the ease of use (or lack thereof) that I reinstalled with Mandriva2007.

Now I can connect wireless, easily.

The only issue I have is that the graphics card won't support 3d rendering and that unless I buy Mandriva, I don't get LinDVD.