Okay, this was originally going to be posted in somebody else's thread, but then I realized somewhere in the typing that it really should become its own thread. Because this is about me. Because I am a tinkerer and a hacker in the old-school sense: I break things, sometimes intentionally, and I like to customize things, particularly my computers. I operate from laptops nowadays, so there is a lot less custom-building of the machine itself lately (not zero, though), so I mess around in my OS a lot. Anyway, here's my story: One of the great things about Win 95 when it came out, in my opinion back then, was the customization. Themes. I saw an early build and the guy had a red galloping horse for a 'busy' cursor icon. I themed my Windows installs like crazy. Even to the point of hacking custom names into the Start button. Back then, the CLI was just another tool, to be used occasionally to install or set up drivers, etc. That was a thing you had to do when building or upgrading your machine. As far as 98 was concerned, to me, it was merely Service Package 4 for 95; no big deal. Broke a couple things, so I stuck with 95. NT and 2K were things I had to deal with at work, but not something I'd choose for my home computer. Even back then, the cost of a new OS was outrageous. Then Win XP came out. My, but it was pretty! Theming wasn't as flexible as 95/98 was, but I adapted my customizations to it as much as I could, and I learned how to make standalone installation CDs (frankly, I still have half a dozen of them scattered throughout the Dngrlab). It ran better than 95, but the registry felt like a kludge and I was rummaging around in there on a monthly basis, it seemed. But you could still do stuff. Setting up the home network on a new machine took about five clicks of the button (and entering the correct data, of course). I was a Power User. When Vista came out, I instantly didn't like it. The CLI was tucked away in a corner where MS hoped nobody would notice it, and lobotomized, at that. What would take me only five clicks to do on my XP machines would require seven or more in Vista. Constant verifications of my password for the stupidest stuff. I didn't even bother with theming. As far as Microsoft was concerned (and this was public knowledge), 'Power User" was a dirty word. 'Administrators' were a unfortunate necessity, but they weren't catered to, and when they were, it was only the corporate ones, not the 'Home' people; they didn't need to be Administrators. I began switching to Linux. Sure, I'd tried a little Linux in the early days, KDE seemed a bit on the... difficult side; I didn't like it, it was ugly and I had trouble figuring out how to do things. I'd wanted so bad to get in on the Red Hat IPO, but you had to already have had a portfolio to do so and I didn't own a single stock. Some time in the early 2Ks I installed Slackware on a machine so I could 'learn' Linux, and boy is that the way to go if you want to learn how to use a command line! I had a DSL mini-cd that I carried in my briefcase to play with on occasion, and I had a Linux-based Firewall appliance I built. But I was still primarily a Windows user. I was constantly updating and building custom standalone installation CDs with all my favorite software on it, plus the necessary keys. A different CD for each computer in the house. Then Vista came out. It showed me where Microsoft was headed, and I didn't like that direction. I ignored it for as long as I could, but then I had no choice when I bought a machine that had it and couldn't run XP, so I went and found Ubuntu. I think 8.04 was my first dip into Ubuntu (might have been earlier); I'd picked up a magazine that had a CD with something like six or eight flavors of *buntu on it and I took each one for a spin, ultimately deciding to stay with the original. Customization was back! I could move the task bar! Change the order of the buttons on the window and put them on the left side instead of the right! OMG, multiple virtual desktops! Fancy window graphics, the CLI was right there, and there were times when I got to use it. When I broke things, which was quite often, there were ways to fix it. Or, if not, I could reinstall without having to restore all my data. Gnome 2 was my new best friend, and I have been primarily a Linux user since 2009. Yes, yes; I still have Windows installed on my machine(s). I have to use it at work (actually, we have three machines at work with Win 3.1/DOS 6 on them, a bunch with XP, one or two 2K machines and our primary boxen are running Win 7). There are times when I have to run a program that only works in Win, but for day-in, day-out use, I am in Linux. I stopped making custom CDs because now I can install a new OS alongside the old and move things over as I see fit (and thumb drives...). I quit Ubuntu several years ago when Canonical started pushing content to the desktop and Unity killed a lot of the customization; so I switched to Mint and played with Cinnamon for a while. It was nice, but having growing pangs, and I really missed my customization from Gnome 2 (different wallpapers on each desktop was awesome, though a hack and a half), and so a friend convinced me to give KDE another try. Wow. I mean... wow. KDE apps were (are) ugly as ever, but I had sooo much to play with! My separate wallpapers, without any hacking! Activities, which do almost the same as the virtual desktops, except different; all the bells and whistles as Gnome 2 but better implemented for the most part. I still use the CLI on a regular basis, because I am too lazy nowadays to write scripts to do some of the things I need to do (like updating Calibre... I really should automate that into a shortcut) and there are still issues: bluetooth sucks rocks in Plasma 4, but Plasma 5 got rid of my wallpaper flexibility so I'll hang out here in Mint 17.3 KDE until that gets fixed; but I am a much happier tinkerer with Linux than I ever could be in Windows anymore. So, that's my story. I'm a hardware guy, but I don't play around much with hardware any more-- I do electronics at work, so I'm like the mechanic who has a piece-of-junk car, and my garage isn't air-conditioned, so the Dngrlab is kind of disused. I don't go messing around on the intarwebs trying to mess with other peoples computers. I am not a command-line junky-- I like my GUIs-- but when the need arises, I can be a command-line jockey. Linux allows me to tinker and break things without making so much of a mess, and I can sandbox an entire OS into a separate partition or two and still be able to get things done.