First time I met him it was a simple and pure disaster.
Half of things did not work, hardware support was a nightmare, buying a card was hellish.
Each time you connected a peripheral to the PC it was a gamble, maybe it would work on your PC, but it will fail on the same PC of your neighbour.
A graphic or sound card required you almost to write yourself your own drivers and you could forget about three quarter of the software outside there, but Hey! We got Tux racer, so it was allright wasn't it?
Nonetheless that little, battered OS had talent, it had potential, it had style and it was hungry.
It was hungry and was fueled by our anger of having to defrag disks almost daily, Word that crashed with misterious error messages, Blue screens of death by tons and virus and spywares that reinvented Darwinism inside your HD.
We started with Red hat, Debian, real men installed Slackware, masochists (later) Gentoo. Then came the average Joe distros, Mandrake, PC Linux and the ambiguous Lindows.
Finally Ubuntu, the Linux distro that freed the penguin and that actually powers my mom's PC (and believe me, it rocks)
I installed, used and crashed more distros I could name. I inspected each part, always learning a little more each time. Linux taught me that there is nothing such as an unsolvable problem, just solutions that need to be found.
And even if now everyone uses it and nobody even bothers, deep inside me, I know that Linux is the way it is because we had the curiosity and the will to make it that way. Because we looked for each others and together we tackled the problems and because I did not gave up at the first error message and pigheadedly I kept on trying.
Happy birthday Linux