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My introduction to Linux was with Lindows 4.5. which came with a cheap $179 Chinese-made computer I got at Frys. Lindows was a Debian based distro running KDE, except that apt was missing, so you couldn't install new software yourself, and gcc was missing so you couldn't even compile apt from a source tarball and bypass it. Instead. what you were expected to do was pay an annual $50 fee for a service called "Click 'N' Run" which let you access the same software which comes free in the Debian repository. As an added incentive to get you to sign up, Lindows came with fewer installed packages than a mini-Distro like Slax even. You could surf the web, you could create a web page (but not upload it), you could edit a file in Kate, you could view PDF's (but not create them in Open Office)...just enough to get you hooked in the showroom, but not enough to do any real work.

Microsoft, of course, hated the name Lindows and sued them, and lost. Microsoft did what they always do when they lose a lawsuit, they threw millions of dollars at Lindows and got what they wanted anyway. Lindows became "LinSpire". They spent some of the money on the Wine project, hoping to get it out of beta status, but that didn't pan out. Eventually the whole thing was bought up by Xandros and killed. Good riddance to a distro that was crippled at birth. But it was my first one, and the very fact that it was crippled, and my efforts to get around that fact, was a sort of baptism in blood. Perhaps my approach to Linux would be far less passionate if I had jumped ship in these Ubuntu days and everything was just handed to me on a silver platter.

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